Thursday, April 29, 2010

Project Stone Removal: Session 2

Second session, and likely last session. At least for the near future anyway.

I knew the first session had worked; within days I began to see lots of "pieces" and realized that perhaps there really was something to this "blasting" business. So when they got me under the x-ray this time, they spent quite a bit of time just looking for anything that was left. They found a relatively small stone (which always makes me laugh because its only considered small by those who have never passed a kidney stone)high up in the left kidney and so concentrated on that one. I have to admit I was looking forward to the nap - I've been unusually tired lately - but before I knew it I was out of the OR and into the recovery room. Even there they plied me with cookies and juice, threw my clothes at me and whisked me out the door so quick I barely had time to register the dull ache I had in my left kidney. I must have had a different cocktail of pain killers this time because I could barely keep my eyes open on the way to Sackville to pick up the kids, or on the way home to the Valley. Once home though I settled in with a hot water bottle and a good book and began to feel a little better. I slept in the next morning (a real treat), realized pretty quickly the procedure had once again worked, with the appearance of several more "fragments" (and the reason for the pain of the previous night), and so hit the ground running with another great session at the gym!

So from here I have to have a long list of blood tests and another KUB (kidney/urinary tract/bladder x-ray) within the next week, see my urologist in two weeks and wait to see what they are going to do with me from here. I am feeling generally well, except for being constantly tired, so I'm not sure there is much else to be done until I see the endocrinologist and he determines whether or not my parathyroid is acting up again. For the record, I believe it is.

While we're on updates, I must say our house still isn't sold and its beginning to stress me out! I do realize its still rather early in the season and real estate moves at its own pace, but I was really hoping to be house shopping ourselves by the time May rolled around. We've had many very positive viewings, so that is good news, we just haven't had the right buyer yet. Fingers crossed on that one.

Also, four days into my new "healthy routine", things are going great. Other than Tuesday, when I was not allowed to eat or drink anything for almost 16 hours, I have been being very careful to eat properly, at proper intervals, and have stuck faithfully to my gym schedule. I am very proud of myself; in the past I would have never continued in this fashion on a day I didn't feel well. I would have headed back to bed and gotten up only when I was needed or it was time for work. Now I see excersice as a way to help my body heal and to get stronger - and it seems that just when I lay down its time to get up and eat again!

So for now all is well in my world. Time to concentrate on the never-ending job of cleanging out cupboards and drawers, painting, painting and more painting and the biggest goal of all: selling our house.

Monday, April 26, 2010

And so it begins...

I don’t plan to bore you all with every gory detail of this new venture of mine, but seeing as how this was my first day I thought it worth an update. Simply put: it kicked my ass.

I should maybe first explain exactly what it is this “program” consists of. It is essentially a routine that is designed to kick start my metabolism and keep it in full gear all day. I don’t have many pounds to lose, so that is not the primary goal here. While I am confident that following this regimen will allow my body to adjust and settle where it should be weight-wise, the main focus is on eating properly (and by that I mean timing, not content) and balancing my metabolism. I’ve thought about this a lot, done some research and spoken at length to Steven (who is quite knowledgeable in this area) and all avenues point to a metabolism problem, more than likely due my age. Thirty three is still very young but for me, it’s a world away from my lifestyle a decade ago. I had my babies quite young, did the no sleep thing, the running around from sun up until sun down, generally with one - or sometimes two - babies on my hip. I never stopped and never had a spare moment. At this point all my kids are now in school, my job consists of me sitting on my backside in front of a computer for 4-8 hours at a time , depending on the shift, and eating whenever I remember that I hadn’t yet that day. With all three kids gone all day I am no longer spending my mornings chasing kids at the park or the zoo, eating at regular intervals because they are, or generally being on the go for 12-16 hours straight. These days my daily activities are folding mounds of laundry, preparing supper early to have it ready before I go off to work, grocery shopping and of course playing chauffeur to three very busy kids. Not to say I’m not busy, but its not the same kind of physically taxing activities I endured while the kids were smaller and home more.

So now its all up to me. These workouts are a combination of cardio and muscle toning, strength training and stretching. Today was the not only the first day, but my introduction to the source of long-standing female intimidation: the weight room. That’s right folks, I hit the weights today. Haha, it sounds so funny to say it like that but I must admit despite my trepidations, I ended up enjoying it immensely. I had been dreading this particular aspect of my workout, especially since it was to take place at the Base gym, at noon hour when all the military personnel do most of their PT. So, a weight room full of army and airforce men who clearly know what they are doing and then little ol’ me. But you know, it was great. I knew most of them anyway, everyone was very kind and helpful and of course having Steven there (who in case you don’t already know, practically lives at that gym) didn’t hurt! One guy, who we didn’t know, asked me at one point, “Is this your trainer?” to which I replied, “Worse, he’s my husband.”

The very worse part of the day was the eating. I got to do my cardio this morning on an empty stomach – something about a calorie deficit to kick my metabolism into overdrive – but once I got home from that I was nearly on my hands and knees crawling to the fridge. That’s the point of course and was great for someone like me who never eats before noon. But after that it was, “drink this protein shake”, now (after our weight room adventures) “you have to eat a lunch with at least 20g of protein, then a snack and have a full supper. Then take a snack with you to work.” What? I was with him right up until half way through my lunch when the hunger went away and I was having trouble getting anything else down. I’ve eaten more already today than I normally would in three days. This is going to be interesting.

Tomorrow I get to have a small break, in the form of IV pain killers and another round of lithotripsy. But I will be back at it on Wednesday, this time I am determined and at this point I’m not sure that my “trainer” would let me back out anyway!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear." - William Jennings Bryan

This week I'm going to try a new approach to my weight loss plans: I am going to begin a 12 week program designed to help me learn ways of working exercise into my busy life.

The term "program" is perhaps slightly misleading. Its nothing official, not a group I joined or a class I signed up for. Its a routine of sorts created by my husband (aka my personal trainer) from a combination of my goals, my schedule and quite frankly, my interest level. Its cardio and a little weight training, running and what ever other cruel and unusual activities the local gym provides. Can you tell I'm really excited about it? Not so much. But I know its necessary. I have decided its time I take responsibility for my own goals and for what I want to accomplish. I am by no means "fat" but the fact remains that I do not fit into a single pair of last summer's capris and I flat out refuse to buy the next size up. I am taking control now and its time to make a change.

So why am I tell you all this? To make sure I follow through of course. I have absolutely no self discipline when it comes to this subject so I am making myself accountable to all of you. I know that if my intentions are to report regularly on my progress throughout these next 12 weeks, then I'll make sure I have something positive to write about. Its a little convoluted but it is what it is and I am hoping it works.

Its also my way of forcing myself to continue with this highly therapeutic blog. I started this journey a month ago hoping to find a place where I could go beyond the quick and impersonal facebook status' and wall posts. I wanted to begin to build some confidence in sharing my thoughts and ideas and here I have found a great outlet for all the opinions, concerns, fears, etc that I have floating around in my head at any given time. I was terrified to put myself out there, to expose myself like this and invite everyone to judge me. I have not opened it up to the big wide world yet because I felt it easier to first invite only those I felt would accept me and my writing with rose colored glasses. I'm not sure why I thought I wouldn't have to deal with criticism or why it even matters to me, but it does and it hurts. I am an attention seeking people pleaser (right Jenn?) and I accept that. I don't feel I have much choice really.

Tonight I almost deleted this entire blog and all the fears that go along with it. I was ready to pull the plug on the whole damned thing and keep my inner most world to myself once more. I walked away first though, and started thinking about what this really means to me. And thats when I decided instead to throw caution to the wind, divulge the ugly truths and show the world just what I am made of. Ok, maybe not the whole world yet, but some of my favorite people in it.

Thanks for the support, dear readers, for the encouragement I've received and for following me on this journey. I promise not to give up so easily and to do my best to reach the goals I have made for myself. This is not going to be pretty, but if its worth doing, its worth writing about. You can count on that.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Murphy's Law

Who is this Murphy and why do we let him make up the rules? I was doing just fine with all the changes in my world, the lack of control I had over the course we'd been set on and was even welcoming the idea of leaving all that is familiar and starting from scratch in a new town. Then I go and admit how stress-free I am finding the process and BAM! - it all falls apart.

I am ashamed to admit that this particular meltdown did not occur today, but rather yesterday, when I was far too upset and down right cranky to even begin to make any sense. The day started innocently enough, we had a viewing on the house at 9am so I thought, simple - I'll shuffle the kids onto the bus, do a quick tidy up and head out for some groceries. Only the morning didn't go so smoothly. I was still screaming (and by that I mean screaming) at two of the kids to "get dressed NOW!!" a mere 10 minutes before the bus was due, while frantically running in circles trying to dig up three juice boxes and three appropriate snacks to go with their lunches. I so needed those groceries. I had long since decided not to walk them to the bus stop, as I needed to vacuum and scrub out the bathroom. However my son changed those plans for me when he tripped on the road and I had to run out to inspect his scraped knees. I lost a good 20 mins of cleaning time after that and flew out the door by the skin of my teeth feeling like the house was not ready to show. STRESS.

I made it to Sobeys, was finished my shopping in 20 mins - with 40 mins to kill elsewhere - when my contact decided to tear in half and render me virtually blind with tears streaming down my cheek. So now I have to leave my very full cart and run (literally) to the bathroom to try to remedy this situation while half the front end staff think I've had an emotional breakdown in Sobeys. But no, that was to come later.

Fast forward to me making it home finally, only slightly humiliated, and thinking it a good time to work on soccer registration stuff. Namely, the dreaded deposit. It should be said that I am not - nor have I ever been - good at numbers. There is a reason why I am not the club's treasurer and don't deal with the deposits. My job is to collect the money and hand it on, but this year our treasurer is out sick and the responsibility has rested on my shoulders. Because I am a procrastinator I have waited until this point to try to balance the money and the receipts and of course in keeping with my day - I couldn't get them to match. By the time my poor unsuspecting husband came home for lunch I was pulling my hair out and cursing like a sailor. The rest of my afternoon was filled with small incidents that at the time all seemed so significant to me (stepping in the cat's water bowl, cracking my head on the bottom bunk while trying to make it, slamming my finger in the dryer door, running out of propane mid-bbq) so when it was time to go to work I was well past stressed and on to ANGRY. I was mad because I hadn't heard from the agent, I was mad that my favorite work shirt no longer fit me well, I was mad that I'd forgotten to burn my new CD for the car ride to work, I was really, really mad that I had forgotten my supper at home - hell I was mad because there were no good songs on the radio for my commute. I was inconsolable.

Thank God for two things: my husband and my work. When I left, my better half was hard at work on that blasted deposit and had it all figured out long before I came home. His calm, cool approach to such problems was exactly what was needed to solve the dilema and his patience with me and my tantrum was much inspiring. Once I got away from the craziness of the house and all its stresses of the day I was able to focus once again on what is important and why we are making all these changes in the first place. When I finally sat down to register a 36 year old male patient who had "fallen out of a tree", I began laughing and finally felt like myself again.

So now I've decided not to try to make it out of this stage of my life completely stress-free. Obsessing over the small things is how I gear up for handling the big things. I will try very hard not to lose sleep over things I cannot change and to take life as it comes at me, but I will never again brag about how simple things appear at any given time. After all, we're all entitled to a bad day every now and then, right?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Battle of the Bulge

Well perhaps "bulge" is a strong word, but a battle it is becoming.

Weight is a very sensitive subject, I'm not even sure yet that I'll actually post this, but its on my mind and that's what this is all about. I am not going to pretend that this has been a long road for me or that its been a problem I've had all my adult life because quite frankly, this is all new to me. Despite what anyone may think, I've never been what I would consider 'skinny', but small and certainly not with any extra weight to shed. I started all three pregnancies at the exact same 118 pounds and was back in my regular jeans by the time the babies were a week old. I've always taken for granted that I didn't have to give a second thought to what I ate, although admittedly I always ate relatively little, and I have been known to have the same clothes in my closet for several years and never once have to worry about whether or not they will fit me the next season.

So imagine my surprise when this year I go to throw on a pair of last summer's capris and I can't even get them done up. All of a sudden I am stepping on the scales and dreading the results, quickly jumping off and staring at the numbers in disbelief: I weigh more now than I did at the end of any of my pregnancies. How has this happened? What am I doing differently? How the hell am I going to lose weight when I've never had to before???

I know all the logical answers: eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, blah, blah, blah. I live with probably the most health-conscious, athletic, physically fit person I've ever known - believe me I know eating well and working out. The thing is I already eat well. As for exercise - I do the best I can to make it to the gym when I have some free time but if I'm being honest: I hate it. Exercise is my nemesis. It sounds like an excuse but after a long day of work/kids/driving little people all over town/groceries/cooking/cleaning/you name it, I have zero interest in packing up and heading to the gym. I do it as often as I can, but I'll be the first to admit its not as often as it should be. I have recently acquired a "gym buddy", she and I have been meeting there to walk the track and navigate the TRX system whenever our schedules allow. I am learning this the best way to find motivation to go, as I am too embarrassed to back out of an already agreed-upon meeting and so is she! Together we have spent many mornings sweating our way through that gym that we would have undoubtedly otherwise spent doing housework or the family shopping. Important things yes, but things that can wait until we've spent some time on ourselves.

And yet, I am still gaining. At this point I am beginning to realize my problem is not the amount of food I am eating, but with food itself. If you know me well, you already know that I don't particularly like food. Of course I have some favorite foods that I enjoy now and then, but over all, eating has always seemed like a waste of time to me. Its necessary, I get a headache if I don't, but I would so much rather take a pill full of vitamins and nutrients and get on with my day. The blunt truth is that although what I do eat is almost always healthy in nature, low fat, low sodium and full of vegetables - I am a terrible eater. I do not eat at regular intervals, I don't remember the last time I was able to stomach anything other than tea before lunchtime and the majority of the time I eat only because I am sitting down with the family and the kids would question why I wasn't. In fact, they have. So I nibble toast while they're getting ready for school and together we all eat a full, healthy supper. Thankfully all my children are fairly good eaters by now - they all had their moments as toddlers - and I want it to stay that way. I am fairly certain my food issues come from my own experiences growing up so I am trying to break that particular cycle.

So this Spring I join the millions of men and women out there trying desperately to shed those extra pounds in preparation of bathing suits, tank tops and shorts. For us bathing suit season started the moment we got our hot tub. However now as we're beginning to have more and more friends over to enjoy it with us, I am starting to get nervous. I have been told countless times, "it must be nice to be skinny", but let me tell you this: a "skinny" person never feels skinny and as soon as that label doesn't fit anymore (pun intended) - we're lost.

Here's hoping I find myself soon, the warm weather is surely just around the corner...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Evening Ramblings

This entry is going to be more of an update, as our world is still quite occupied by various do-it-yourself projects and then hasty departures as other families clomp through our house and judge us accordingly.

At least that is what it feels like to me. I feel like laying my home open to these strangers that I will never lay eyes on gives them free reign to make any observations or comments they like. Of course this is just me being paranoid and its all part of the process, but it doesn't make my feelings any less real. Over all though, I must say I am passing the days at a very low stress level. I am usually the one who obsesses over every detail and cannot sit still until I hear every word about how it went, but at the moment I am just going with the flow. My only frustration is that as of yet we have no "for sale" sign. In our small, predominately military town we are on the cusp of what we affectionately refer to as "posting season". All the 'messages' come out - directives on where you are to commence what position and when (literally a sheet of paper filled with dozens of illegible codes and acronyms where the only thing you can possible decipher is the town you're going to and the date you're to be there. I'm not kidding.) - the houses start going up for sale and then the house hunters from other military bases begin arriving. As we are in the lower priced, starter home area our target buyers are people who are currently living in PMQ's (military housing) or even locals still living at home. Privates newly trained or small families just starting out. Not people with houses to sell elsewhere. So it was important for us to get our house on the market very early in the game, to catch those who only need their message to house hunt. Those like us have to sell our houses first and therefor we do our shopping later in the season. Make sense? So as the house hunters arrive on weekends and do most of their serious looking early in the week (to allow for negotiations and inspections later in the week - you only have 5 days) it is necessary to have a sign on your front lawn to announce your intentions to all those who drive by. We've been on the market since Thursday and still no sign. I am frustrated, but still, I must say, not officially stressed. Perhaps thats because in two days we had two viewings, both with very positive feedback and one who is very interested. However as many more houses will be going up on the market this week they all want to take another day or two and do the complete tour. Make sense to me, I just hope we win out in the end.

So now, as with anything in the military, its a waiting game. Hurry up and wait, as my mother in law often says. Its true and so as I do that I become the cleaning natzi and try in vain to keep this house spotless at all times. I must admit that our family is one who requires a certain amount of motivation. Where I can harp for days on end about cleaning up after themselves and making their beds, all I have to say now is "we're having a viewing!" and everyone pitches in until its clean. I should have put this house on the market six years ago!! So still, no stress. On Tuesday we get to meet with IRP for the first time, that should be fun. IRP is another military acronym that I don't know the real name for (and don't care) which basically stands for a group of people whose entire job is to facilitate your move. Sounds helpful but the truth is they are much hated and not always pleasant. The rules change every year, nobody ever really gets the changes entirely and they are not exactly known for being completely forthcoming with all the details on what you can claim in your move and what you can't. Anyway, IRP (actually they go by a different name now but damned if I can remember it) it is and that will get the ball rolling on this move. I have already received a ton of information from the support unit of CANSOFCOM (Canadian Special Operations Forces Command) where Steven is posted. They are direct support for the families of the SOF and are separate and in addition to the Family Resource Center on Base. They have a package to help you find all the support and info you may need before even arriving in Petawawa and I must say I am super impressed. I'm not sure if the difference is the Army Base vs the Airforce Base or if its simply because of the SOF unit, but I am likely it already.

So as usual my short update has turned into a long speech but nonetheless, that is where things stand with me, with us, and this is where my head is as we begin a new week. And since my blog counter keeps going up I am assuming -quite happily! - that people are actually reading this!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Miracle of Life

I haven't written anything in a few days because, well quite frankly I've been flat out going non-stop since before Easter weekend. Between the kids and all their activities, work, house renos and the beginnings of house hunting, there has been hardly any time to organize my thoughts long enough to write them down.

My mind, however, has been swirling - due in large part to two events that have taken place over the last few days. First, we got a call just before the long weekend telling us that the wonderful, sweet sister of a dear friend of ours had passed away suddenly and quite unexpectedly. 37 years old, loving sister, daughter and aunt, she was taken from her family and friends far too early. Although we as a couple were not especially close to her in recent years, her family is a very important one to us, as Steven grew up hanging around that household. In fact it is because of this particular friend that we are a couple today. We received the news with heavy hearts, not having any idea what to say to this man who just lost his only sibling. We can only hope he knows he is not alone; he is much loved, as was his sister and his entire family. We attended the funeral yesterday and were pleased to see so many of the "old gang" felt much the same as we did: love and support was the order of the day. I realized as we all stood around catching up - friends who have hung out since high school and earlier, friends who were now dressed in suits and ties, exchanging updates on the now nearly dozen children we have between us all - that its not what you say at a time like this that counts. Its that you're there. When I told my children that their father and I were attending the funeral Rhian piped up and said, "oh, so you're celebrating?" Owen laughed and said, "its not a party Rhian", but you know she had part of it right: it is a celebration of life. Tanya was a wonderful, caring, loving person who made a difference in many lives. That is a great thing to celebrate and I'm sure she would have liked for us to see it that way.

The next thing that happened is that my beloved, much-missed girlie friend gave birth to her third baby on April 6th, in Edmonton, Alberta. A very healthy, beautiful boy they named Kwyn Zachary. I have been with her and her children almost daily since her first was only a few months old so for her to have a baby that I have not yet seen is not sitting well with me! I feel her absence very acutely right now but the joy I feel for her and her family is reminding me that life goes on and we go along with it. Isn't that the lesson I have been shown twice now in as many weeks? We meet people, we form relationships with them and we learn valuable lessons from them. Sometimes they leave us and the world behind and we must grieve them. Sometimes they merely move on to the next phase of their lives and the relationship take on a new dimension. But still life goes on, and what a miracle that is.

This week has once again reminded me how grateful I am for all those I call friends. Wherever this life may take us, we will always have each other.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A little chocolate, a lot of fun.

Well it wouldn’t be a normal weekend in our household if it went by without drama. Easter it seems, is no exception.

I drove home from work Saturday anticipating the neighborhood BBQ that had been in the works for some time, taking place in our yard and the one next door. As I drove into my driveway I saw all the parents bolting into my backyard and knew at once it had to be one of my kids. I was right, Rhian had stepped on the only board in the entire yard with a nail in it, driving it up through her shoe into her foot. Of course the blood was substantial, the attention far too enticing and as soon as Mommy came around the corner of the house the howling started. After some swift first aid and a careful inspection from every parental figure on the street, it was decided she was going to be alright and that soaking her foot in warm water and Epsom salts to be the best course of action. I made a quick call to work and found out that she had indeed had a tetnus shot with her five year booster so the drama cooled down and the festivities picked back up. As I sat there among my fellow neighbors who kept coming over to offer a hug or a comforting word, sometimes a hotdog or cupcake to Rhian, I felt a momentary pang for the loss of such friendships. How many times had we done this on our street: grilled up a bbq full of whatever, let the kids run wild through our yards until dark, gulped beer and played ring toss until nobody could see any longer (whether from the fading light or the beverages, we could never tell!). I had a brief moment of panic at the thought of leaving that and the fear that we may not find that again in our new town. That fear was short lived, however, as we headed inside to continue our home improvement projects. By the time I had a fresh coat of bright white paint on all the bedroom doors to match the brand new trim and baseboards (yes, you read that right: I have trim in my hallway!!) I was once again looking forward to moving on and making new memories.

Easter morning dawned beautiful and warm again. We – I mean the Bunny – decided to stage an outdoor egg hunt in light of the construction zone that is my kitchen and living room. Rhian was having trouble walking on her foot so after completing her part of the hunt from her father’s arms – mostly hanging upside down snatching the eggs off the ground – we decided she needed to see a doctor. Once again I was eternally grateful that I work in an emergency room. In the end we got to spend much of Easter Sunday together as a family, although not in the way any of us would have chosen! Rhian’s foot is now on the mend, we were instructed to continue the soaking in Epsom salts (good call from the mommy’s and daddy’s of Oak Ave) and keep the area clean. She was such a trooper and I was “forced” to hear all afternoon after that how cute and well behaved my children are. Aw shucks :) One nurse even came out and told me she thought my hubby was a cutie! So a good day after all.

Once again we got to share in the hospitality of good friends as we headed over to an Easter dinner, after I got home from work, that was as sumptuous as it was fun. Later today it is our turn to host; I finally have a day off so I will be making my very favorite turkey dinner. Here’s hoping we manage to get this house back in order or it will no doubt go down as the infamous Easter turkey picnic!! I am sensing a busy morning…

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Home is where the heart is...not to mention all our stuff!

Anyone who knows me well knows I have a love/hate relationship with my house, minus the love part. I am pretty vocal about my dislike for our house and by this point it has become a bit of a joke in our family. And of course by joke I mean its nicer to laugh at me than tell me to get over it!

It started the very first day I walked in the front door for the viewing 7 years ago. I said, “I will never live here”, and I meant it. But my husband knows me well and started in with the: “just picture it with new flooring…picture an upgraded bathroom…picture all the walls freshly painted – blue.” Sold. I also really liked the location and the school district so we made the deal and moved our already large family in. I will admit it makes a great starter home in a great neighborhood but most people buy their starter home before they have kids, we bought ours while we were cooking our third. Seven years later we are busting at the seams and although we’ve changed those floors, upgraded many of the rooms and I now have my beloved dark blue accent wall – I still hate the house. It never grew on me. All I have is a list of complaints about it: its too small, its always crowded, there isn’t nearly enough counter/cupboard/bathroom/anything space etc, etc. Don't even get me started on the trim and baseboards, or rather the lack of them. So now that its time to sell the house that’s been a source of negativity all this time, my stress is now: who would want to buy it? Thankfully it seems I am alone in my opinions when it comes to our abode. We are in a well sought-after subdivision very close to the military base and the only mall in our little town. We live on a quiet street with one of the largest backyards in our area and so for reasons I still cannot seem to fathom, we have had several people approach us and ask to see the place before we put it on the market. So now the last-minute upgrading has begun. You know, all those “small” projects you always say you’ll do before you sell, the ones that alone are quick jobs but together add up to days worth of upheaval and chaos. These last minute renos seem to have fallen on my weekend to work and I am trying to feel guilty about that, I really am…I must say that although it has been nice to walk away from the disaster that is my home, with a very good excuse, it has been an exercise in patience and lack of control. I would never have considered myself a “control freak” but I am realizing that since I so often shoulder the day to day responsibilities in our household (mostly because I am the one home the majority of the time) watching someone tear it apart – or rather being gone and knowing that is what they’re doing – is not easy.

However, the biggest lesson I have learned so far during this process (that has really only just begun) is this: perhaps it wasn’t the house, being so small and inadequate, that caused all my organizational problems. Perhaps it was my organizing. I have spent weeks gutting out closets, tearing open boxes not opened for years, turfing belongings we haven’t given a second look in God knows how long. Its freeing and downright therapeutic. Maybe the size of the house isn’t as important as the amount of stuff inside of it. Of course that makes sense and I’ve likely known that all along, but then what excuse would I have had to keep complaining about my house?!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Here comes Peter Cottontail

Another Easter holiday is upon us and in our household that means another lecture on keeping mum about just who the heck hides those eggs. Thats right: my kids don't believe in the Easter Bunny (while we're at it, they also don't believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy either, but thats another discussion for another day). Of course if you asked my children they'd all tell you wonderful stories about the Easter Bunny and how he comes and hides all the eggs for them to find together. Then they'll snicker behind their hands. They know the difference, but they also know just about all their friends believe he is real and are never to spoil that for them. It is not our place to choose where another family places their beliefs. I was speaking to our mortgage broker/new best friend today and she was telling me her son had asked for a skate board for Easter, then changed his mind and said, "I hope the Easter Bunny doesn't bring me that skateboard, I want an ipod now." Excuse me? First of all, asking for Easter gifts? Is this Christmas, have I missed something? Don't get me wrong, I do get my kids a few small things I know they'll enjoy - they usually come in the form of necessary spring and summer apparel like bathing suits and flip flops. Maybe a small toy. Maybe. But an ipod? Geez, even I don't have one of those! Its just one more way this generation is not seeing how you get nothing without working for it. Its easy for them to believe they should receive an expensive item from a mythical figure - they don't have to associate them with actually buying it. But I work hard for my money and I am proud to be able to say my children understand that they have what they have because of it. There is also a religious aspect to Easter that is so often forgotten. How this holiday became about chocolate and eggs I have no idea, but its disappointing to say the least. I grew up going to church in brand new pressed easter dresses, complete with hats and gloves. We had some treats hidden around the house in the morning when we got up but it was hardly the entire point of the day. Now I see how commercial this holiday has gotten, like so many others before it, and it frustrates me. It has become a competition on Easter Sunday when all the kids go out to play: who got the shiniest bike, the best skateboard, the tallest basketball net. Of course we give our children bikes and outdoor play equipment as well, just not in the guise of a gift from the elusive Easter Bunny. We provide for our family, our kids need to see that and learn from example. We put a lot of emphasis on family, having a big dinner together - which usually includes extended family and friends. Its a fun day for us, a day we read the story of how Easter began and spend the day looking forward to Spring with our loved ones. A fresh start, the beginning of a new season and new adventures to come.

Besides, who the heck ever heard of a BUNNY laying EGGS??!!
Thats just silly.