Wednesday, September 5, 2012

OAR #40 Reason For Choosing Open Adoption

There is a new prompt up from Open Adoption Bloggers

What were your reasons for choosing open adoption? 

 Where do I start?

Well, I start by saying there wasn't any other choice for me.

He has known his birth mother, and her family, since the day he was born. Because they are his family.

He has known my family since he was 2, because they are also his family.

What else do I say about that?

He's got the best of both worlds. He got a family that loves him mercilessly and without restriction from both of us.

But; if I were to choose 1 reason- and only 1 reason- that we initially went with an open adoption, and if I'm completely honest, and ruthless with myself- it's not because I knew how good this would be for him, for us, or for C.

It's because our lawyer, John Ramsey Esq., told us that was the best possible thing to do for our child- then despite D and I trying to convince him to have her declared unfit- our lawyer told us to shut up and listen.

That's right. A lawyer told us to. D and I, at that particular time, we still so young, 22 years old. And we were both still wrapped up in our fury, our anger, our disappointment and our hate for what C had done- not just to Bugs, but to US.

Because it's hard being a young parent. It's fucking hard. And it's even harder when you feel like you weren't given a choice- but responsibility says you HAVE to put a child first. And there isn't any money, or time, or a babysitter for you to be just a 22 year old. You have to be a parent first.

And at that time, we were so furious with her for leaving us holding ALL the responsibility. All the duty of care. All the cost. All the blame from her side of the family. And above all, the fear. That was the worst. The fear, every second of every day that you wouldn't be able to do what was best- that we wouldn't be doing the 'right' thing with our parenting choices.

And so, that's my shame. The years of anger and resentment. But to my credit (and I will take sole credit, because D wanted several times to wash our hands of it all), I insisted on working towards being more open, to having MORE contact, and BETTER contact.

 It was a long road for me to work through, getting through all my own anger and resentment, about how MY life had been changed, to what was best for my little boy. To get to a point where I can accept that she was just as scared, just as young as we were. To get through all of those painful, negative emotions and now just celebrate this awesome chance I was given.

The chance to have the single most awesome son on the planet. To have a large, extremely devoted family (on both sides), and be able to say, "I'm his mom. Yes, so is she. And we love him very much."

So, that's what made me choose open adoption. A lawyer who was, Thank God, so very much smarter than THIS 22 year old girl.

Monday, September 3, 2012

no carbs equals no will to live....

so, its been two whole days and one morning with no carbs. im dying. i lack even the will or ability to use proper grammar, punctuation or sentence structure. i hate this.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tami Hoag Ripoff....

Got to go out tonight!

WITH my husband. WITHOUT my children. Didn't need a 'babysitter'...

That's right, you guessed it. Bugs is finally old enough to be left alone with his sisters.

So, once the girls were tucked up into bed, D and I left to go to the movies.


We went to see "Premium Rush"- now, when I first saw this trailer it brought to mind a Tami Hoag novel that I read about six years ago, called "Kill The Messenger"...

Now that I've seen the movie, it's apparent to me that the writers of this summers' newest blockbuster are also Tami Hoag fans.

I mean, really? Seriously this is what you got? Her book was better. Even the name of the older Chinese lady is the same (Madame Chen and Sister Chen). One was a 'good guy' and the other a 'bad guy/ snakehead' but still, so close. There's no younger brother in the movie, but there is a little boy. There isn't a 'good cop' coming to believe in the hero, but there's a dirty one who gets his ass handed to him by a bunch of bike messengers in Chinatown.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It was fun, entertaining, and since I really like that 3rd Rock From The Sun kid, a good time. But Hoag's book was so much better.

On another front: I started the 'Low Carb Diet' with some of the women I work with. I'm already angry and mean. I'm not hungry, I'm just pissy because I want cookies. And unfortunately for me, there are carbs in cookies.

Before D and I got married, I lost 30 lbs in just over 4 weeks. It stayed off until I got pregnant with Brat. I'm looking to hit that same record. I won't, but I'll try. When I lost all that weight before, I was walking/ working constantly and burned calories faster than I could eat anyways.

Not so these days. But I'll try. I'll also keep you all posted on how I'm coming along. Encouragement appreciated.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why Bother?

Why bother???

There have been hard times in the past.

There will be hard times again.

And invariably, when it's hard, someone says, "Well, why bother? You don't have to."

My answer is almost always a long, drawn out rant about adoptee rights, birth family rights and, generally, doing the right thing. I don't have to do that anymore. After ten long years, I have the only reason I need, and it takes twenty seconds to tell someone about it.

Last Saturday, at Bugs' first football game of the season, we got the reason why it's worth it.

Open adoption is worth it, because HE is worth it. We are worth it. She is worth it.

Our family is worth it.

C and I sat together on a sleeping bag, talking (well, I was explaining football to her), laughing, taking pictures and watching Monster run about (my hip is still a bit stiff, so it wasn't up to me to chase her around this week).

C's mother and Brat were playing and talking.

C's father and D were chatting about sports, Italy and just about anything else that came up.

And we sat together, as a family, and watched our son play his first real game.

And he lost. Well, they're 12, and they kinda suck (he doesn't read this, so he'll never know I said it), so we fully expected them to lose.

And we more than half expected him to be sour that they lost (he thinks they're really good). We expected him to be pissy and- more than likely- rude about it to Brat.

He wasn't. He came off the field- after the handshakes- all smiles, laughter and warmth. He was so excited that we were all there for him. He came running up, gave us hugs, and said, "Hi mom. Hi mom." To each of us. And smiled so wide I could literally see his molars.

He played with his sisters, took the baby out on the field (she's been wanting to get out there for so long now).

Then, we packed up our stuff, and gave him hugs and kisses, and they left to go have some more time with just C and her family until next week.

All the times I've defended our decision to remain inclusive; to keep our adoption open; to remain a solid family for him to fall back on, all those times when someone said, "Well, that's stupid. How's he supposed to know who his real family is if he's always over there too?" Here:

I say, next week, when my momma flies in, we'll have an even bigger group of family there to congratulate him on his shitty game.

We are all his family- that's why we bother.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cinnamon Buns and Floor Spaghetti.

D and Bugs have only been gone a few hours at this point, and it already looks like a platoon bivouacked in my living room.

The girls look like they haven't been bathed in months (in reality one had a bath last night, and one this morning). Monster is sitting on the far side of the room, shouting "Don't" and Brat has found some spaghetti in the fridge and is eating it cold.

Seriously, having a bum hip sucks.

To make myself feel better, I am going to make cinnamon buns tonight

And THERE IT IS. Right there. As I was typing about cinnamon buns, Brat decided she didn't like cold spaghetti and sauce after all, and proceeded to microwave it. For two minutes. Then she tried to pick it up, stumbled because she's a klutz, and slopped hot noodles and sauce all over the floor and the baby.

By the time I grabbed my crutches (or crotches as Brat calls them), and hobbled across the room to assess the damage, both Brat and Monster were eating noodles off the floor and each other. Brat was crying- because she wasn't getting all the noodles as the baby is sneaky fast.

So, I only have to survive TWO MORE DAYS like this. Unable to walk freely, carry anything or stand for long periods of time. Awesome to the power of time cubed.

I know it's only 6:30, but I am either selling them on Kijiji, or leaving them at a fire station while I go drink beer. Putting them to bed early sounds like it might be a better solution.


EDIT: Now that the day is done and the girls are both back into their beds (where I truly wish they'd stay for the next two days), I can do what I intended to do in the first place, I can post my recipe for cinnamon buns. Read through the entire recipe before starting, because my brain feels all fucky and most likely this won't come out in order.  Consider it like a bit of a jigsaw puzzle recipe, it'll make you smarter to have to figure it out on your own.

4 cups AP flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter (melted)
2 pkgs of instant yeast (or 4.5 tsps if you are using loose yeast)
1 egg

1. Take 2 cups of the flour, and all the other dry goods and mix them up (save the other two cups of flour for later).

2. Warm the milk, beat in the egg and the melted butter, stir into the dry goods, it will form a very soft dough.

3. Add the last two cups of flour and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth and stretchified. Let rise until doubled.

4. Roll out into a large rectangle, 1/4 inch thick. Cover with the filling and raisins (if you like raisins). Roll into a log and pinch the seam shut. Slice into 1.5 " slices and place in the prepared pan or tray. Allow enough space for the buns to double in size during another rising session (about an hour and a half).

1/3 cup soft butter (not melted, just softened)
1 cup brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons of cinnamon

1. Mix them up. Spread over the dough.

Cinnamon Sugar Caramel:
1 cup brown sugar, packed 
1/2 cup butter 
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Melt the butter, add sugar, syrup and cinnamon. Spread in the bottom of the baking pan before placing slices of cinnamon roll into it.

Bake the rolls at 350 F for 40- 50 minutes or until golden on top. Invert immediately after removing from oven onto a large rectangle of parchment paper or waxed paper.

If you leave these fucking things sitting in the pan, the caramel hardens and you have to chisel the shit out of it to even get a half of one out. Experience speaking.

 That pissed me off more than the day I opened a box of ice cream from the deep freezer, only to find a bunch of beans had been poured in, frozen and a note left on top that said, "Aw, beans." Which seriously pissed me off. Bad. I'm still angry about it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Brand New Kind of Meat Market

Because my hip was hurting me about a month ago, I went to see my GP, who suggested I'd strained my hip flexor and should ice it, take anti-inflammatory drugs and stay off it a bit (yes, I laughed directly in her face and said, "I have three kids and work 30 hours a week. I'm not staying off anything, anytime soon"). She also said I should go back in a couple weeks if it hadn't improved.

Well, not only has it NOT improved, it's gotten worse. Before, it only hurt the first couple steps I took, now, every single step I take is actual agony. It's not a pulled muscle, or tendon. It hurts when I transfer my weight to my left side. I don't know what that DOES mean, but I know it means "OW". I called the office and got an appointment tomorrow. But I felt like chopping my leg off today, so I thought going and getting an xray would be prudent, to take to her for tomorrow.

So off I went today to the Pan Am Sports Injury Clinic. I got there at about 8:10 am. I was #48. After ten minutes, they had a line up of 48 people.

Oh, that bodes well for my chances of sticking around long enough to see a doctor.

And the posted wait time was 5-6 hours. Hours. As in increments of time that are large enough that we accept our wages based on them.

Hours. So I waited. Quietly, patiently, and for a long, long time.

I admit, it wasn't so bad waiting. Plenty of things to look at. Like men. This was my first visit to Pan Am. I won't go back anytime soon for an injury; but, if I'm ever in the market for a new husband, I know now where to find one. All the good looking men in Winnipeg apparently have unanimously decided to hang out at Pan Am.

The ratio of good looking, well toned men -under 60- compared to the grocery store average was HIGH. I mean, every third seat had a smokin' hot looker in it. And I got hit on twice, wearing pj's, having bed hair and probably looking as snarky as I felt.

I bailed after 6 hours (yes, I actually stayed for 6 hours). I'd have left five hours sooner, but the guys were just too good looking. Except for one guy who picked his nose when he thought no one was looking at him- him, I could have done without.

So, I realized/ learned two things today: having an owwie sucks; and, finding a man at Pan Am would be like finding ice cream in my freezer- highly probable. I recommend my single lady friends (who are looking for a date) try hanging out at a nearby sports injury clinic, that place is loaded with testosterone and muscles.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Caramel Cake

Now, one of my favourite cook books (I have several, I don't know where they come from, I swear, they just keep turning up), is called "Chocolate".

Yes. That's the whole title. I think it's perfect.

Today is a friend's birthday, so I made a cake for her (she can have it tomorrow, even though tomorrow will not be her birthday anymore).

I made a "Flourless Chocolate Caramel Cake with Walnut Chocolate Glaze".

Oh, yes. Yes I did.

It's so delicious and nutritious (not a bit, but I'm making the claim anyways because of the 2 1/4 cups dark chocolate).

Here's the recipe:

Flourless Chocolate Caramel Cake

3/4 oz (1/4 cups) unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa, sifted. Extra for pan.

12 oz (2 1/4 cups) chopped bittersweet or dark chocolate

6 oz (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into about 6 pieces for faster melting

5 large eggs

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt and two tablespoons of water.

2-3 caramel filled chocolate bars (I use Caramilk, because they are my favourite caramel filling)

1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Butter, parchment, rebutter and dust with cocoa a 9 inch round or 8 inch square pan.

2. Melt butter in a large bowl (I used the microwave for this whole bit, if you don't like using a mic, then do this in a bain marie) in the microwave for about 1 minute or until completely melted. Dump the chopped chocolate in and stir until the majority of chocolate is completely melted. This keeps the chocolate from seizing or scorching. If all the chocolate doesn't melt, toss the bowl back in the mic for another 10 seconds. If you don't use a microwave, I have no words for you. Either you're awesomeness squared or a total douche. Yes, it's an either/ or situation.

3. With a stand (or hand) mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, water, vanilla and salt on med high until completely foamy, doubled in size and a pale yellow colour (it takes about two minutes). Now reduce the speed to low (or don't, but this will splatter like a MOFO if you don't), and slowly pour the chocolate butter mixture into the egg/ sugar crap. Increase speed to med high again for 30 seconds. Now, dump in the sifted cocoa powder and mix on LOW (again you don't have to- I didn't and got a snoot full of cocoa for my trouble. And if you think doing a rail of cocoa powder might be a good thing for chocoholics, think again, it hurts like the bejeezus) for about 20 seconds or just until blended.

4. Pour 1/2 the batter into your prepared pan. Now, use as many caramel filled chocolate bars as you need to make a decent layer all across the pan. Top with remaining batter (fill right to 1/4 inch from top, it doesn't rise and flop out usually).

5. Oven at 300 for 40-50 minutes. Bake only until a pick inserted in the middle comes out with gooey clumps (sounds good eh?). You don't want to over bake, because it sets up all fudgy- like if you do it properly and like a dry piece of shit if you don't.

6. Let the cake cool IN PAN on wire rack for 30 minutes before attempting to flop it out onto a serving platter. Run a small knife around the edges just to release them before you do flip it over. Let the cake cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until it's very cold, at least 6 hours.

Walnut Chocolate Glaze

1/4 cup toasted walnuts (I just buy regular walnuts and dry heat them in a pan for a few minutes for toastiness).
1/4 lb (3/4 cups) chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 oz (3 tablespoons) butter

1. Melt butter in microwave, add chocolate, stir about until smooth. Exactly like you did the night before.

2. Lay the crushed, toasted walnuts on top of the cake, then pour that glaze over everything. If you don't like walnuts (my husband is stupid and doesn't like walnuts), you can skip the nuts and get some coarse kosher salt and give a VERY LIGHT sprinkle of salt over the top of the chocolate glaze. VERY LIGHT. Seriously, I shouldn't need to explain "very light"- but I will, just in case. Very light is so that you only get a smidge of salt into each bite to compliment the caramel. VERY EFFIN' LIGHT WITH THE DAMNED SALT.

TIP: When you are cutting a really dense cake, heat the knife up before cutting, by either holding it under a hot faucet or in a tall glass of hot water, WIPE the knife dry before slicing. Rinse and repeat this several times to keep the cake from sticking. A creme brulee torch works too, but no one will let me have one of those.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Look At Kim Kardashian's Arse.

Had my eyelashes "extended" for the first time today.

I have to say, I didn't know how I'd feel about them- I mean, gluing stuff to my eyelid/ eyeball? Not really my bag baby.

But, I kept hearing about it.

Okay, I only heard about it because I watch too much TMZ; but really, who doesn't (if you've never watched it, don't start, there are so many things you never, ever, wanted to think about)?

I decided if I did this, I could cut maybe seventeen seconds out of my daily routine. Not exactly a significant deciding factor. I could look super fancy pants like Kim Kardashian (I don't actually know what her eyes look like- that arse hypnotizes me). Also not a huge deciding factor.

So I didn't actually have any 'need' to get this done. Other than the fact that I've never done it before, and I'm always game to try something new.

So, I decided to give it a go for my wedding anniversary. And I REALLY, really like. And my husband likes it too. So, thanks again to Olivia Fu, from The Lash Addiction for doing this for me (especially on such short notice).

I never thought I'd enjoy having falsies- lashes that is. But for the last five hours it's been fun. I'll definitely get this done again.

So, here's a poorly taken, overly pixelated picture of my new eyes, WITHOUT makeup on.
See, worth the time and money.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Murder Free For Over A Decade.

This is going to be a quick rant about being stupid (me, that is).

Okay, so I know I said in an earlier post that I loved summer.

I am clearly delusional. Clearly.

I do NOT love summer. Well, I don't hate it. When I wake up, I'm like, "Oooh, it's summer! YEAH BABY." Then it's 35 bloody degrees Celcius plus humidity (around 105 for my American friends), the baby is whiny, the AC craps out and I have to try to keep kids from killing each other. For some random reason, I scheduled us 'visits' all over the damned place, on different weekends (which is the only chance I have to relax for a minute or two with the kids by myself), all the way into Sept. What? Why? What was I thinking? Oh, right, forethought isn't my strongest ability.

Clearly delusional about my ability to cope with this shit again.

Before I realized what summer would be like, I signed the girls up for swim lessons. Every day. From 10-11 am. Which, luckily enough, over laps naptime, so none of that. We don't need no stinking naps. Really? Why did I think that?!?!?!? I need naps.

Then, when that didn't seem like it would be hectic enough, Brat wanted to do "Zumbatomic" (kids zumba) with her little friend for an hour every day. Yeah, I enjoy taking a baby to a class where she isn't allowed to run about (I strained a hip flexor a couple weeks ago, and running after her is just the stupidest thing anyone has ever seen).

And now, I'm taking two children on a picnic and to a splash pad after zumba tomorrow. Not both those children are mine, I'm doing a friend a favour, and at least I won't have to chase the baby about- that's sort of like a 'break'.

Thankful. I am thankful that tomorrow is a day when Monster is going to the sitter for a few hours, and I can relax my guard- even if it's only a couple hours.

Saturday, D and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary ("celebrating"= dinner and an early bed these days). I am thankful for that. Thankful that I haven't killed him this year, and hopeful that I'll keep my streak up for the next year, "Sarah: Spousal murder free for over a decade!"

And Bugs starts full blown football practice next week, and his first games are only a few days behind that.

So, all this and I'm grateful.

I am. We're happy, we're healthy (except for my hip), we're capable of finding things to keep us both busy and entertained. Mostly I'm grateful that tomorrow night marks one night closer to a night off.

As my priest asked the congregation (and now I find myself drawn back to this idea over and over),

"If you woke up with tomorrow, only the things you were grateful for today- what would YOU have?"

I'd have frozen malted milk ice pops; blue corn tostitos; diet coke; a night off coming up; a cousin who doesn't hate my children (that's why she'll babysit for me); and a healthy, happy family.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bugs' Essay on Agenda Signing.

So, for the last three months of the school year, Bugs has not been bringing his daily agenda home to be signed everyday (which is school policy). Now, this is not a new problem. This has been ongoing since Gr. 3, we've chased, asked, reminded, used posters, and post it notes, and a schedule and every single thing I can think of to encourage him to remember his agenda.

This year I said to myself, "Fuck it." I literally used those words exactly.

Because he was in Gr 6. And if by Gr 6 you can't remember to do something you're supposed to be doing everyday- well, nothing I say or do will help you remember. But natural consequences might....

So, I stopped reminding him. And several times over the year he remembered, then had to deal with losing computer and TV privileges for the same number of days he hadn't gotten it signed for.

Even this didn't seem to make it stick. So, I went with the old, "You owe me a 500 word essay by Thursday. For every day it's late, you'll owe me another 100 words. Get it done at your leisure."

So, here are some snippets of the essay that I found the most amusing:

This last bit was far and away my very favourite.

"You might just get in a whole heap of trouble for not signing it for three and a half months like I did. That sucked because I had to write a five hundred word essay. Guess what? This is it."

Seriously, I laughed so hard. Way to fill in some of those words boyo.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Told My Mom Everything. Because She'd Catch Me Anyways.

So, let me preface this post by saying, without reservations, I have the best kids ever.

Monster, 1.5 years old, is a smart, funny, loving toddler exhibiting many totally incredible problem solving skills.
Brat, soon to be 6 years old, is charming, sweet, smart, funny, clever, with a penchant for total chaos and devilry.
Bugs, soon to be 12 years old, is awesome. He is helpful, smart, funny, loving, charming and clever. Maybe too clever. Not for me, no child is too clever for me. He's too clever for his own good.

He spent the first couple days of summer vacation with his nana and grampa. They had a good time, and a lovely visit.

The girls and I went to my sister in laws' house for the weekend. I'd spoken with nana, and asked her to have Bugs home at 3pm on Sunday, in time for the Canada Day celebration and fireworks. No problem.

At around noon on Sunday, Bugs refused lunch from his nana, she offered to make something else, and he refused. So he convinced nana and grampa to take him home. That he wasn't hungry, didn't want what she was making, and grampa could take him home.

He was "old enough to know and have my keys to get in. Plus, dad is home."

What he neglected to tell them is that I wasn't home, and dad sleeps in ear plugs.

So, nana said, THREE times that she was going to give me a call and let me know that grampa was dropping him off. Bugs said, "No, don't call her" over and over again. And nana trusted our wonderful boy, and did as he asked, and didn't call us.

So, grampa took Bugs out for lunch, and dropped him off at home.

He didn't have his keys (he knew when he left on Friday that he didn't have keys because I asked him then if he had them). So, his plan was to play outside by himself, and get dad to let him in when he got bored with playing outside.

Only his plan backfired because dad sleeps so heavily. Bugs couldn't get in.  He knocked, and knocked and couldn't get in.

And it was +30 degrees outside, plus 35 with humidity. It was HOT. Hot, hot, hot.

So, eventually, Bugs made his way across to his other grampa's house, and hoped that his grampa would be there to let him in (luckily for him, his grampa WAS home). Bugs implied to that grampa that his nana and grampa had dropped him off, willy nilly. Of their own accord.

He neglected to tell grampa #2 that he INSISTED on being taken home at that time. Knowing full well that I wasn't going to be home until 2 pm.

He omitted, thereby lying, that it was his own choice to be left outside. That he pretended to find keys that weren't there, so that grampa #1 would drive off and leave him there.

So, when I spoke with nana, to find out exactly what had happened, from their point of view that caused my child to be left outside (potentially for 3 hours), that is when I found out that Bugs had told them he had keys. Told them he could get in. Told them it was fine with me, and begged her not to call me to double check.

So, I pointed out to nana that Bugs saying, "NO! Don't call mom. Trust me, I know what is okay, and I have my keys, and I'm old enough (BLAH BLAH BLAH)" should have sent up HUGE red flags.

If there is nothing to worry about, then nana calling me shouldn't have been an issue. And I pointed out to nana that Bugs is quickly becoming a teenager, and NO TEENAGERS SHOULD BE TRUSTED.

Not to say that they are all bad, or even that they are all liars. But what's the harm in double checking their stories? What's the cost of letting them know that while we trust them, we are still going to verify what they tell us with someone else- someone older and possibly someone wiser?

I see no harm in letting my kids know that while I love them; would die or kill for them; when it comes to the little stuff- like whether or not a friend's parent said, "Yes, I'll pick them up and drop them off".
Or,  "No, I don't have homework this year".
Or,  "Don't call my mom, I can get in"- I will spend the two minutes to corroborate their story.

I call that good parenting. Because teenagers lie. Not necessarily to be 'bad' or to do something underhanded, sometimes they lie because it's expedient, and there is something they want.

I remember my own mother double checking EVERYTHING I said. It never bothered me- unless I was doing something I shouldn't have been doing. And yes, we went through a thousand hoops to make our stories more believable. But mom knew anyways. Because she bothered to check. And just KNOWING that she would check kept me from doing a thousand WORSE things- just in case.

Because that's what a good mother does. They double check everything a teenager tells them- until the teen is so convinced of being caught that they stop trying to lie. I told my mom just about everything, because I was firmly convinced she'd catch me anyways. I believed, and still do, that she is omnipotent, omnipresent, and all powerful: all knowing, all loving and all seeing. That's what I think a good mother should be.

And my momma is. In fact, I'm pretty sure she can see me right now. Fine. I put the crackers away. Happy?

EDIT: Bugs' punishment for this little episode was having to call grampa #2, admit that it was his own lie that got him into the scrape (and he did call, albeit bawling his eyes out the entire time) and write a letter of apology to his nana and grampa for intentionally misleading them into a precarious situation (where I could have placed the entire blame on them and been a complete bitch about it).
And the best part, the absolute best, was the part where I told him, had nana called me, I'd have given the okay for him to play outside- I'd have simply come home earlier. He was gobsmacked that he could have done what he'd wanted to do in the first place, simply by asking permission.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Brat's "Graduation"

My Brat graduated from Kindergarten today.

We pulled out her 'fancy' Easter dress last night, and laid it out for packaging today.

She sat ALMOST still while I braided her hair, and tucked the ends in nicely, smoothed the frizzies out and then she put on her makeup (just a sparkle paste that she smears all over her face for special occasions). She was so excited about her graduation ceremony.

I left for work, after packing her dress, and leaving specific instructions with Bugs to carry it for her on their way to school. Now, normally on Wed. when I leave for work, D is still awake and gets them out the door successfully on time. Today, because he had to be awake again so early for the graduation, he was in bed when the kids left.

So, off I went blithely going about my day. When I got to the church where they were having the ceremony, I saw Brat, coming down the aisle, tears streaming down her little face.

She was not wearing her fancy Easter dress. She was still wearing her school uniform. She came over to me as the kids passed by, and I asked, "Where's your dress baby?" She took one deep breath and screamed, "STUPID BUGS FORGOT IT!" and proceeded to wail and howl. So, I kissed her streaky face, told her she was beautiful no matter what she wore, and that I was so proud of her and that I loved her. She stopped crying, but she was clearly still furiously angry.

D went home as fast as he could and brought back her fancy dress. During a short song, Lilah did her quick change in the corner and went straight back into her spot and joyfully sung the rest of the songs.

All in all, it was an absolutely awesome time for us. Pictures to follow.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blondie's Is A Good Day.

Today was a busy day.

First just being awake was traumatic. I fell asleep last night folding clean laundry. So, I went to bed at the unheard of time of 11pm (that is incredibly early for me). Monster woke up at 6 and I got up around 6:30 this morning.

Then I went with my cousin to donate blood (I usually go about every 8 weeks but while I was pregnant and nursing I didn't so, this was my first time in the last 2 years). My blood was flowing too slowly today (apparently drinking three coffees and two diet cokes was NOT what they meant by "hydrate yourself") so they only collected one unit instead of the usual volume.

Then I went for lunch. I was starving and I've been waiting patiently (tried a couple times but it was closed) to try Blondie's Restaurant Blondie's Restaurant on Urbanspoonfor years. My husband came home once with a 1 lb burger. He loved it so much because of the owner (we love going someplace honest and upfront).  He was so impressed and amazed by her and her establishment that he would love me to go to her and get a job with her, because he's dead sure I'd love working there. So, I've been wanting, and waiting to go for years now.

Until today. After donating blood, myself, my cousin and a friend went to Blondie's. We got there about 12(ish). There are 'Rules' on the wall. I read them carefully.

"Ordering a milkshake when it is busy will result in DEATH" and "If you have complaints about our food, prices, or service- McDonald's is right down the street" are my two favourites- but I liked (and agreed with) the rest of them just as much.

So, I went for it. I asked the waitress if it was too busy for me to have a 7 scoop of ice cream shake. She looked around, thought briefly and okayed it. I ordered the 1/4 lb burger and fries. My cousin had chicken fingers, and my friend ordered a tuna salad sandwich. The waitress looked up from her pad, "That's going to be a while, she's pretty busy with making burgers."

Friend said, "That's just fine." The waitress left and took our order in to "Blondie".

From the kitchen we hear, "That's going to take FOREVER!! FOREVER! A LONG TIME! FOREVER!" I loved it.

The sandwich was the first thing to arrive. And it looked good. Nice thick brown bread, looked super soft and fresh and the lettuce was nice and green and crisp. A good sandwich.

The burger and chicken and fries arrived, and they were all delicious. The bacon (standard on burgers) was thick cut and crisp and so tasty. Loved the burger, but couldn't finish because it was simply too big (the 1/4 lb is AFTER cooking).

Then my milkshake arrived. And here's where it got gooooooood. It was so thick the straw stood straight up. It was FULL of strawberries. REAL strawberries. The shake was so heavy with ice cream that I made my cohorts try it. It was simply the best shake I've ever had. I don't know how much I paid for it.

Frankly, I don't care how much she charged me for it. I would pay $15.00 for that shake on a regular basis.

All in all, a good day. And I will be going back to Blondie's again.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What A Stupid Word. Floss.

I have a dentist appointment this morning.

I have to be there in 30 minutes. From right now. But I'm still not fully ready. And I am on here writing instead of getting up and moving towards the door.

And not because I hate the dentist, in fact, quite the opposite, I love my dentist. I love the office, I love the receptionist, and the dental hygienists are all very nice, and very friendly.

I'm still sitting here, procrastinating because I haven't been flossing for the last month. I keep forgetting- coupled with the fact that at some point about a month ago SOMEONE (Brat I believe) brought the floss out of the bathroom, and the baby played with it. I don't know where it is. And that's an excuse- a weak one at that.

I haven't flossed because I don't care. There! I said it!

I do not care if I floss.

If the floss is right there, I will use it. I know it's great for removing plaque, and aerating the space between teeth and blah blah blah. None of those is the reason I floss. I floss because I feel guilty going to the dentist if I haven't been flossing- I don't want to disappoint him.

He's nice about it. Makes a joke, "Well, I'll get more business when your teeth fall out I suppose! I'll just have to go into orthodontics as you age."

So, yes, I haven't flossed lately. And he'll notice, and he'll tease me. And I deserve it for not flossing or, more precisely, for not caring that I haven't been flossing.

So I have to remember to buy new dental floss on the way home.

But for now, I have to suck it up and go get my cleaning done. Dammit.

P.S. Now that I've written the post, and gone over it to double check it, the actual word "FLOSS" has lost all meaning to me. I keep seeing it, looking at it, now I'm thinking, "What a stupid word." I hate it when that happens.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Only Brat.

What's the best way to clean an oven?

Seriously, I need the most effective method for oven cleaning available.

The reason I need to know is simple. Brat exploded a cake in my oven yesterday.

Yes. Exploded is the word I meant to use. As in, forceful eruption of cake batter from the safety of the pan to every single interior surface of my oven. Top. Bottom. All four sides.

I don't know exactly HOW it happened. I was standing RIGHT there throughout her "baking". I watched her measure (mostly everything). I just don't understand what could possibly have happened. Maybe Brat slipped some extra baking soda, or baking powder into the batter. Maybe she short changed the flour. Or put extra butter. I don't know. None of those answers, chemically, equals explosion.

I do know that the carrot cake we tried to make is sitting on top of the stove, looking more like a shell than a cake- which makes perfect sense because the body of the cake is splattered about.

All in all, so glad we made a cake. But for Fathers Day, we're going to make a no bake cheesecake instead. And Brat can watch, but maybe I'll do the measuring myself.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What I Want To Say To You on Fathers Day.

Time for another OAR prompt: Someone else in the adoption constellation- what do you want to say to them on Fathers Day? Open Adoption Bloggers

Today it's for Fathers Day.

Well, I want to write to my dad. He's not a part of the 'open adoption' community per se, but he's mine.


You were not there when I was a child- mom didn't know you then, so that doesn't surprise me.

You were there when I was a preteen- and lacked all common sense.
You were there when I was a teenager- in other words a total shithead.
You were there the day I left for University.
You were there when I called from school whining because I was cold.
You were there the day I called home and said I wasn't going back to University.

And all of that surprised me then. It doesn't surprise me any more. I have learned to expect that you will be there.

You were there the day I told you I was moving to Winnipeg. You sat and listened while I cried and explained that I needed to go spend time with my biological father- needed to understand him. You didn't say anything. You didn't say I couldn't (or shouldn't) go. You didn't chastise me for being 'stupid' or leaving school a month before the school year ended.

You were there the day I called home and said I'd met 'the one'. The day I brought him and my son home.

You were there the day I got married.

You were there the night I called home to tell you and mom about my pregnancy with Brat, and then again with Monster.

You were there through it all.

You are the kind of father I needed. The kind of father I married in D. The kind of father I hope I am raising my son to be.

I love you very much, and all the times I was a shit as a teenager and pulled the "You're not my REAL dad- you can't tell me what to do!" bullshit still haunt me. But you don't want my apologies for those times- you say, "I wasn't a perfect father either sweetheart." But you were. Because you were there.

You love me, with all my faults, through all those trials you loved me anyways. And you were there. Thank you for always being there.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Letter From A Non- Parent.

This was 'shared' on my facebook wall earlier today, and it made my WHOLE day.

Love it. "An Open Letter To All Parents From A Non-Parent

I laughed out loud several times, and thought I'd share. Fantastic.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Not As Safe As Is Possible

I was 'browsing' the web the other day, trying to find parents who seem to think like me.

Trying to find someone to validate what I feel is my own common (or uncommon as it seems) sense approach to being a mother.

I typed any number of things into Googles' search. Parenting, NON helicopter mom, natural consequence parenting. Seriously, but each site I got too was a bit too much in SOME way. One mom didn't ever use sunscreen. One mom didn't let her children walk to school unless there was at least 3 kids in the group. There were more, but I had no desire to read them.

Then I found this blog by  a "Free Range" mom.   Fantastic, YOU are who I've been looking for.

I read a couple of her older blog posts and quite enjoyed them.

Eventually, I ended up on YouTube and found a video documentary which backs up something I read a couple years ago about children and risky play.

Basically, the study said this:

When the adults of today were children, we took risks on the playground- we learned about natural consequences.

We used see saws (knowing full well that the person on the other side was going to jump off and make us thump our arses); we climbed ridiculously high, and sometimes we fell. We used swings to launch ourselves as high as possible into the stratosphere before plummeting downwards and trying to land.

Then, as we became adults, someone else remembered how many risks we took as children, and they made the playgrounds "safe". Swings that don't go so high; no more teeter totters; solid plastic instead of wood. Safe.

The consequence of that change is readily apparent in the young adults of today. The 15-23 year old age group, who grew up in the safety playgrounds. Well, they've admitted that they take about 7 times the risks we did when we were young.

And there is a reason for this. It's called "learning".

Children learn early, through taking calculated risks, to judge a situation by, and for, themselves ("These monkey bars are awfully high, and last time I jumped, I twisted my ankles- so I think I'll climb down a bit first"). They learn in small steps, incrementally, to apply natural consequences for themselves.

By making the playgrounds so safe, we've taken the chance to learn away from our children. In response, in order to mature, they must still learn about risk and how to manage risk. But by the time they have broken free of their overprotective parents (helicopter moms), the only risks left to take are life threatening ones. Drinking and driving. Having contact with strangers in the guise of 'trusted' drug dealers. Getting drunk and leaving a party with a stranger. They are testing the limits- learning (as they should have done as children). But they are using REAL life threatening situations to learn to judge risk.

Which they could have learned to do if their mothers had let them fall, even just once, off the monkey bars.

 I can't find the exact paper I read, I will continue to try to find it.  In the meanwhile, I am posting a video documentary from one of the authors of the paper. It's only 10 minutes long, but it's worth watching. Especially if you can't stop yourself from running to help every time your child starts to climb.

When I find the paper on the outcome of the safe playground, I will edit this to reflect that.

My favourite lines in this video are: "As safe as necessary- NOT as safe as is possible" and "Life is not risk free".

Striking a balance between preventing injury and accepting that accidents happen. Accidents cannot be prevented without bubble wrapping our children- and that takes something from them that I don't want to see my kids lose.

Just the other day, my cousins' 5 year old fell off a swing. She was hurt badly. She's been in the hospital since. And I've been worried- and praying that she's up and about soon. But that was a freak accident and completely unpreventable- my kids are still going to be swinging as high as they can.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


There are several things I am quite accomplished at (don't worry, this isn't shaping up to be a post about how awesome I am- but I am).

One thing I'm good at is baking. I enjoy baking. Baking relaxes me. I will attempt to bake most anything (in fact I want to make a baked Alaska this summer).

Two, I'm really good at reading. Constantly. I can tune out 3 fighting children and read quietly by myself without hearing a thing. I'm real good at that.

Three, being by myself. I am really good at being alone. I get much more accomplished when I don't have a gaggle of children following me.

Four, though I'm awesome at being alone, I'm even better at being around people. Children specifically, I enjoy hanging out with children (not that I would be able to do it for hours every day as a job, but I can do it for a weekend or an evening). Mind you, I'm good at that because I will feed a kid anything. Chocolate syrup on rice krispies and fruit leather? If you'd like, sure I'll give that to you. You aren't my kid, and I don't have to put you to bed. There's a reason kids love me. I am not a very good grown up.

And finally, number five in the list of things I'm good at, touching my tongue to my nose. That's not super impressive, and I'll never get anywhere because I knew how to do it; but nonetheless, it's a talent I possess in abundance.

Now, a skill I've had cause before to suspect (but which I've never really considered at great length) might be lacking something is my (self) hair cutting abilities. I can cut YOUR hair just fine. I possess eyes, and a steady hand. In fact, I've given my husband a mullet (intentionally, and at his request), I've also cut friend's hair and childrens' hair several times without any complaints. So, obviously it's not my scissor skills that are the problem.

It's my judgment. I have poor judgment. I gave Brat a trim tonight before I put her to bed. I should have cleaned up immediately, and put the scissors back where they belonged. I didn't. I left them in the washroom to be picked up when I was alone.

Except that when I picked them up when I was alone, this thought FLEW into my head, "Gee. It's been quite some time since your hair was trimmed. You've done that before. Just tip your head over and lop the end off your ponytail."

And without any further thought, that's what I did. Only then did I remember that I hadn't brushed my hair out, so it was hanging at all different lengths. So, I had to wet it, brush it and try to level it out.

It took 25 minutes, but I got the back of my hair even (well, even enough- no one ever sees my hair down). Then, as I stared at the mirror, this thought rushed through, "You haven't had bangs since 1997. You should see if they look good on you still*." And once again, without further thought, or consideration, I took the razor and began layering in bangs. Luckily they aren't heavy, or chunky or straight ruled across. But still. Bangs?

The question could be "What was I thinking?" But the truth of the matter is "I wasn't."

I didn't think it through at all.

I didn't think this through any more than I thought through putting a water balloon in my grandfathers' bed when I was 7 or 8 years old, spending the summer in South Carolina with my grandparents.

So when Soph said, "I bet it would be funny if we hid a water balloon in gramma and grampa's bed, and when they got into bed, it'd break." I laughed.

Now, Soph probably wasn't serious; but we had a great laugh. And I (henceforth to be known as "Queen of Forethought and Filtering") decided to go ahead with the plan. It was fool proof.

Grampa always sits in the same spot when he gets ready for bed at night. Always. Without fail. The same exact spot.

So I filled a balloon with about a litre and a half of water, and placed it in that spot on the bed. I rumpled the covers, like Soph and I had been playing there, and left the room.

I did it just after lunch. And Soph and I went about the rest of our day with glee, and joy and with typical childlike attention spans, forgot about the balloon by dinner time.

Gramma and Grampa tucked us into bed that night. Me, in the bed with wee doggie sheets, and Soph tucked up with the lambs. They gave us our kisses and left the room. That's when we remembered the water balloon- Soph and I stared at each other giggling.

Not a full minute later, Grampa (who never cussed because it "sounds low class and unintelligent") was at full roar. Curse words I hadn't even heard before that night. Rage. Pure, almost unintelligible, rage.

I looked over at Soph, all the blood was gone from her face. And she was creeping lower and lower under her blanket. I was frozen. I remember holding my breath.

The door to our room flew open, smashing into the wall, I'm pretty sure it took two tries to open because it bounced closed again after the first crash- but I could be mistaken (I'm not).

Grampa was standing in the hall outside the room, trying to lever himself into the room by the doorway. The reason he couldn't get into the room was Gramma, she was behind him, her arms wrapped around his waist. She was leaning backwards and using her feet on the door's frame to brace herself.

Grampa was shouting, "WHICH ONE? WHICH ONE? WHICH ONE?" over and over, and looking from me to Soph and back again at me. I'm positive he knew full well which one of us had done it. He might have suspected it was Sophie's idea, but he knew right away I was the only one shortsighted enough to actually have done it.

Gramma said once, years later, "It was like looking at my US flag. Red, white and blue. Grampa was red from screaming, Soph was white as a ghost in terror; and Sarah had stopped breathing altogether-  her eyes were big and blue and her lips were purple."

After Gramma and Grampa left the room that night, I remember sitting there, looking at Soph, thinking, "I am going to be in so much trouble tomorrow."  I wasn't. My grandparents are incredible and simply dried the mattress and told us not to pull such stupid stunts again. And over the years, this story has been told over and over, with more laughter than I ever would have suspected all those years ago.

I wish someone could dry my hair so I'd be off the hook for these bangs- and I could laugh about it instead.

I still might not think things through as thoroughly as I should, but at least some of my decision making skills have improved. Apparently, the self hairstyling department isn't one of those things I've learned to keep a handle on.

* This is the actual word I remember thinking to myself. "Still" as though, for one millisecond, I hadn't ever seen my own grad photo of myself with bangs. Looking like a dufus. So I don't know why my subconscious used the word "still" to convince me.  Yes, I do know why. My self conscious Sarah, a snarky bitch apparently, is sitting back and laughing at stupid regular conscious Sarah who is still gullible in the extreme.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


As I was standing at the fridge, hastily eating a popsicle not two minutes ago, I began looking at the school calendar for the month of June.

School trips, great. Exams, fine. Text book return dates, got it. Uniform fittings, already done.

Then I saw the K-6 PD day. Yup. Perfect. K-6. Both Bugs and Brat fall in the K-6 scheme.

But then I realized something that may well have traumatized me for life (or at least until this orange popsicle melts into my keyboard and I have something else to worry about).

In four weeks school is over. Bugs will come home with his report card, and in it will be his classroom assignment(s) and teacher(s) for next year. HUH?!?!?!

What?!?!?! How is it possible? He's in junior high next year? Next year? No. That's not right. I'm barely 31, how can I possibly have a child in junior high? How? I'm not old. I'm not. I keep saying it inside my own head.

I'm not old. "NOT OLD!" I say again- this time I said it out loud. It's true I'm not old. I won't even be 32 until after he's in junior high.

But my boy isn't a baby anymore either. PUKE. (Yeah, I used every single font alteration I could think of to illustrate that word. Your point?)

There. I was afraid of that. I yarped in my own mouth a bit just now.

Gah. That's horrid. That's it. I demand a time machine. I wish to go back in time at least four years (just me, not the rest of them, I am not starting this "diaper/ pregnancy/ not old enough to babysit yet" nonsense all over again).

But now that I'm mulling it over, it's not too bad. Bugs will be old enough to babysit about halfway through the summer. That means free time for me...

Hmmmm. Okay, I guess it's alright that he's getting a bit older. He can stop right after he's old enough to babysit though. That's where I draw the line. I simply REFUSE to have a child getting ready for college or university (or life) in 6 years.

 In six years, Monster will be in Gr. 1. And Brat will be going into junior high, and I'll be in the exact same mindset then, I'm sure of it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

You Just Don't Want To!

My lovely little children, demonic monstrosities from a hell dimension that they are, have sicked me up. Again.

Or maybe it was my darling husband. Again.

I don't know which one is responsible. I also don't care which of the jerks did it. All I know is that I want a) relief from this and b) retribution.

I don't know how to achieve either.

Tylenol hasn't helped. Advil hasn't helped. Naproxen hasn't helped. Not a damned thing has helped.

Hot shower? Tried it. Popsicles? Tried them too. Temporary relief at best- and false hope at worst.

My throat feels like I ate a brick, chased it by chewing lit cigars and swallowed really old bong water (not that I would know anything about that). My body aches, I have a manic depressive fever that comes and goes with insane, completely unpredictable randomness. And I can't hear out of my left ear. WTF? What kind of sickness did they give me? It's like some horrid cross between a viral strep infection and a inner ear gnome who eats crackers on my ear drum.

Obviously, my family will be 'ground' zero for the next global pandemic of  'feeling crappy' (without having something curable). Complete chaos reigns in my living room right now, because I feel too icky to fix it.

This is balls. I'm going to start sterilizing myself after every form of interaction I have with any of these people. I'll put my universal precaution skills to the test. Glove up to tuck them in, wash my hands after hugging them, and changing clothing before leaving their bedroom.

Not that I'm complaining (yes, I bloody well am). I love them. Very, very much. But I am sick of being tired, sick of being achy and sick of being sick.

My momma called tonight, and when she found out I was home from work, we chatted for a very brief time (because my damned throat was too sore to talk to her). And I suddenly remembered being sick, at age 9, with the chicken pox.

And I remember SCREAMING at her (as a 9 year old), "You know how to make me feel better! You just don't want to!"

And now, looking back on it, she probably did know how to cure the chicken pox, but letting me suffer was the only form of retribution she could exact from a 9 year old.

I hope my kids get sick again, so I can withold a vital cure, like oatmeal baths. That'll learn them.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I miss Tubby's.

The Grove.... The Grove Pub and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Oh, what to say...

 Uppity service. Under-seasoned, over-priced food. Beer is beer.

What is that word I like? Oh, yeah, that's right. Unimpressed.

I've been there once before, just after lunchtime on a Friday. The service was terrible- with as many servers/ bartenders as customers and we still never got refills. The food was sub standard and underseasoned then.

But then, I started thinking, maybe I just don't like it because I LOVED Tubby's Pizza and Charlie O's. Maybe I was biased.

I decided after work last night (9:30 pm on a Sunday) that I would swing over, have a beer and re-try the fish and chips ($17 a plate) because I was pretty disappointed last time when I ordered them.

So, I opened the bar doors. I walked within an arms' length of a waitress talking to a table of men. She looked RIGHT at me. Then she went to another table of men, left, brought them drinks. Left. Brought the first table (of men) drinks again. Left. I waited a full 10 minutes before I walked up to the bar and asked if it was bar service (it clearly wasn't, but I wanted to point out that I knew they were ignoring me).

The girls (there were 2 bar staff there) both looked at me like I was rude for interrupting them. When I asked if I could order a drink and look at a menu, they both were like, "Yeah, of course."

Well, how would I know that, since neither of you acknowledged me for the last ten minutes? Oh, wait, I'm a woman by myself, and you only appear to notice men who's wallets you want into....

Anyways, I decided on a pint and to try the fish and chips- maybe the last time I had it, it was just an 'off day'.

Well, it wasn't. At least it didn't take 40 minutes this time though.

The fish was slightly soggy. The batter was flavourless, lacked crunch and needed salt so badly.

The fries were fries. What else could I possibly say about them? I don't eat ketchup- I think it's gross, and I still put it on their fries. Because they didn't have any flavour either.

So, a pint and a plate, and it came to $23.50- not too bad, and the waitress who took my table ended up being pleasant enough.

But I won't be back. The initial lack of service, and the only barely palatable food just make me miss Tubby's more and more.

At least at Charlie O's when the server was rude (which happened occasionally), she was flat out rude- not just snobbish and uppity. But that's what happens when you hire for looks rather than skills.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

There I am.

This song pulled my heart out and wrung it completely dry. What would I do without them here to keep me awake? Every single line in the song resonated so deeply for me.

Where Am I- by Tara MacLean

My favourite lines are:

"Birthday parties. Bedtime stories. And I haven't slept through the night. Where am I?
Between the breakfast and the bandaids, bathtime and the braids- it's up to me to keep you alive. Where am I?"

One of the best songs about being a mother that I've ever heard. Love it.

There is no standing ovation for being a mother, and it is constant. And I almost always have at least one minute every day where I look around and say, "Where am I? What was I doing?"

And yes, when I look into their eyes, there I am. That's what I was doing. And what I'm doing I'm doing well.

And again yes, I liked the song so very much that I went and bought it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summertime fun.

I love summer.

I love the sounds of summer.

I love the long days, the warm evenings, the cool nights. I just plain love summertime.

I love to swim, and to spend hours down by our pool with the kids. Letting them swim in the summer sun, play with friends, have frozen fruit kabobs.

The smell of their skin after a day of sun and sunscreen. The way it makes them happy to play in the water with each other.

Going to my fathers' cabin out of the city for a couple nights, and that feels like a holiday. Staying up late and talking while I toast my feet over a bonfire that is too big.

Using the BBQ to cook everything- even when that is slightly unreasonable. Having a crab bake with friends, making huge vats of potato salad, and ribs and pineapple delight (I'll leave a recipe on my "Cookies" page- my gramma used to make it, it's so easy, and sooooooo good).

The fact that this year my son is in football, and we'll get to go cheer him and his teammates on during his practices and then during football games. That Monster will be having her very first swimming lessons at the YMCA (I think it's incredibly important that children learn early to swim independently so they don't drown). The fact that Brat will get to do swimming, and gymnastics and have sleep overs.

All in all, on this fine May day, I can't wait for summer. Because after summer is fall. And the only season I love more than summer is fall. Happy days. Enjoy your summer, enjoy your fall. Enjoy ALL your days.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

On A Scale of 1-4....

I did an interview for CBC Radio One yesterday- a segment about the proposed/ impending changes to the way Kindergarten to Grade 6 student report cards are written.

Under the new standard, the children will no longer be marked on the old "A, B, C, D, and F" or any other of the myriad ways each catchment and district have been using. Instead, they are going to forge ahead with the 1-4 scale.

The reason I was interviewed is that this 'new' system is the system my childrens' school uses. I've been trying to figure out when to high five and when to lecture for the last 7 years.

Because giving a kid an "A" is generally assumed to be 85% or better. Not much to whine about there. "B" meant 70-84% which again isn't terrible (but isn't really very good either), "C" was 60-69% and "D" was 50-59%. An "F" meant, "Don't go home tonight."

So, the first time I saw this 1-4 system, when Bugs was in Kindergarten, I remember thinking, "Okay, so 4 is an A? Wait... No... 4 is 80% or better? So, 3 is 60% or better? 2 is 40% or better? 1 is straight up fail?" Then when I saw some 1's... HOLY my head almost fell off. I mean, my son was reading, doing math, counting, how could he be failing anything at all (okay, I totally understood the 'Doesn't listen or follow instructions= 1').

How? Oh, because the 1-4 system DOES NOT correspond to a particular grade. It's arbitrary. Not based on marks at all. I call 'baloney'. Teachers work damned hard to put a curriculum together, to learn each students' particular learning curve and needs. So, why are they putting teachers and parents over a barrel like this?

"Better self esteem" I saw from one woman interviewed for the trash mag that passes as a paper here in town. Geez lady, if your kid can only get self esteem from not hearing that they aren't doing well in a particular subject, then you have larger problems than a kid who isn't doing so well in school. I didn't always get A's. Or even only B's. There was some subjects I just didn't do so well in (Calculus and I go WAY back; but that bitch and I don't talk anymore).

So my point was this, "Sure, change the ratings, make them whatever the heck you like. Letters, numbers, symbols. It comes down to the same damned thing. We are going to push our kids to do their best, to try their hardest and support them when they don't do as well as they'd hoped. But, for Heaven's sake, don't hog tie teachers and parents with a scale that has NO VALUE. If it is completely subjective then a teacher who gives 3+'s instead of 4's is asking her kids to work harder than someone who gives out 4's. And that's not fair to the teachers, the students or the parents."

This is the first year that Bugs has received both a numerical value (percentages) along with his 1-4 rating. This is the first year his report card has actually mattered. Up until now, the report cards have just been props I took with me when I talked to the teacher at the parent/ teacher interview. That interview is the important part, that's the part where the teacher can tell you exactly what your child needs to work on, and what they are doing fantastic in.

That is what compels me, as a parent, to say to Bugs, "Listen Mr. B says you've been having trouble handing things in? What can we do to fix that? Is it your organization, or are you having trouble with the work?" And he says, "Yeah, I lost the papers in my locker." So I look in the locker, and am so appalled I just shut the door again, and say, "Clean that crap out of there and you wouldn't lose your homework in it."

But, now I can evaluate- with actual effectiveness- how my child has done each semester in school. And I can rake him over the coals if I need to, or tell him how awesome he is and what a good job he's doing (which is all I've ever had to do anyways- lucky me).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thank You Time Magazine.

Thank you Time Magazine.

Thank you for starting yet another round of "Mommy Wars". Thank you for making what is a natural, and beautiful process into something seedy and gossip worthy. Thank you for making being a mother just a little bit harder for all of us this particular Mother's Day.

Thank you. And suck my t**.

Will I nurse my children until they are 3, 4, 5, 6 or even 7 years old? No. But I won't do it, because the girls chose to wean themselves. Not because I believe it's gross or wrong. It's not. It's a natural process.

And for anyone who thinks it's "wrong to sexualize a child"- get a grip. There is nothing overtly, or covertly, sexual about nursing a child. Nothing (even if the mother on the cover of Time Magazine was beautiful).

And for anyone who says it's 'unnatural'- well, if it were 'unnatural' there would be a shelf life on how long breasts produce milk after a child is born. There isn't- which means it's not unnatural.

For anyone who says it 'emmasculates' or causes little boys to be effeminate- L.O.L. Seriously. Laughing. Out. Loud. Here's something for you to mull over:

In the Northern communities here in Canada, and surely some parts of Alaska (not to mention third World countries), children are regularly breastfed until they are around 7 years old. Yes. And it is for a practical reason- there is little fresh milk to be had, and what milk is available is simply too expensive to buy. And in third world countries- well, it's all the nourishment those mothers can provide.

Statistically, look at the health and fitness of the grown children in Aboriginal communities who were nursed 'too long'.

Statistically, they have healthier body image, body weight, eating habits and emotional stability than many of the children weaned 'appropriately'.

Not only do many of the young boys of the North West Territories (Nunavut, and Iqaluit too) nurse until they are older, they are nursed that way when the girls are given bottles soon after birth. The Aboriginal women know the benefits (and don't give two shits about the science- since they've done things this way for a thousand years) of nursing the young boys as long as possible. It helps their boys grow stronger, develop solid muscle tone, fight infection, lower rates of cancer, and maintain a good familial bond. It helps their young boys grow into healthy men.

Men who can hunt, fish and trap successfully enough food to see them and their families through another winter. So, yes, naysayers- I guess you're right. Those Northern Aboriginal men are 'femmy'.

Right. I'd put $100 up on the side of a man who hunts to feed his family, against a redneck from Texas (or any damn place at all)- and then just piss myself laughing when the "Indian" out shoots the redneck every time.

Why don't I believe I'll see any of THIS in your article?

Because you are only trying to sensationalize the topic, to make breastfeeding mothers the topic of ridicule (again). Well, forget it, I've just decided I WILL NOT read your article. I won't even read your magazine again. You've managed to take yourselves from being something most consider somewhat 'literary' to being entirely too much like the "Enquirer". Well done Time Magazine.

For the record, out of my three children, my girls were breastfed, and my son was bottle fed. I support whichever way a mother feeds her children. Whether that's boob, bottle, supplementary system or simply rice cereal. To each their own- and bugger anyone who doesn't like it.

And what would I say to anyone who has an opinion on how a mother 'should' be feeding her children? Get. Fucked.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Open Adoption Roundtable #38: What I want to say to you on Mother's Day.

From the Open Adoption Bloggers: Roundtable #38:  What I want to say to you on Mother's Day.

Write to someone else in the adoption constellation (someone specific or a general group). What do you want to say to them on Mother’s Day?

HARD. Hard. Hard. This hurts. And maybe it should. Maybe this is something I've needed to 'say' - even though I don't think you read my blog.

 I love (and hate) Mother's Day. Sometimes I feel like it should be about me, not you. Sometimes I know it's about both of us.

So, this is how I feel about Mother's Day- right now. But it still hurts come Sunday morning.

It hurts because I do the 'work' day in, day out. I hold Bugs' hand when he's throwing up with his fevers, or when he wakes up scared. I work HARD to be a mom. I sometimes get only an hour of sleep before I have to climb out of bed and make lunches, get dressed, go to work, come home make dinner and keep Bugs (and the girls) clean-ish looking, make sure he does his homework, get him back and forth to his activities.

Being a mom is hard. Being a 'mom' is something so important and yet so intangible. Sometimes, honestly here, I feel like I am the "only" mom. Sometimes I know I am not his only mom. 

Oh, those 'only me' days aren't often; BUT, they are the days when you haven't called him in weeks- then you call him from the bar so your friends hear you saying, "I love you and miss you soooo much." Or, when you tell him calling is too expensive- and he hears "I'm not worth it to her. But going to the bar and taking 100 pictures to post on facebook is." Or, when you used to tell him you'd be here, then not show up for hours- and lie to your family about it. Or skip picking him up completely because you'd rather go to a party with Scott. On those days, I never, ever, felt you were his "mom". Not even a bit. You had given birth to him, and that was special, but on those days, I did not feel you gave him the respect a mother would give to her children. You didn't treat him as though he mattered to you at all. 

Then there are the days when I KNOW you are a mother, and how hard it was being pregnant and 19. How scary it was raising a child for two years (even with total support from your parents and D's- it couldn't have been easy). Giving birth. Trying to breastfeed. Those are not things that can be dismissed- even when I disagree with so much that came afterwards.

So Mother's Day hurts. And it's hard. The only things I ever want for Mother's Day are craft made by the kids. I want someone to think I am special enough to sit down and help the children make them for me, to honour how difficult it has been, how hard I work, and what a good mom I am. And often, no one does. But year after year, your mother helps Bugs make you something. Year after year, you receive a gift in the mail, a gift I wish I could have. A gift I would be thrilled to have (not that I don't like perfume or cards and crap like that). A gift I'm not convinced you give two flying effs' about. 

The last time Bugs made me something, was a necklace that said " I LOVE MOM" on it. I wore it for two whole years, never once taking it off, because I loved it, and it reminded me of him. I would still be wearing it if the leather hadn't gotten so weak I was afraid it would break. He made you something similar a year later with my help, for Christmas, and you didn't ever wear it. Because it didn't match your outfits. I remember the day, you said, "You always wear that? Really? I haven't worn mine- the soccer balls look funny with all my earrings. hahahahaha."

So, Mother's Day is a day that hurts; because I wish you put as much energy into showing him how much you love him, as you do towards convincing your friends you love him. It's a day that hurts because since you've moved to Scotland- you have gone through so many phases of trying and then not trying that leave Bugs hurting and waiting, and hurting and waiting. And he loves you, and I love you.

So, I love Mothers' Day; because we are both an integral part of him, of who he is, and we both matter, and I'm glad for the days when we can all hang out together and go swimming in the summer. I love Mother's Day, for all the times we've sat up laughing on the phone over something completely unrelated to our child. For all the times we've spent hours hashing out what we think is best for Bugs.

So, Happy Mothers' Day to both of us- for all that you did, for all that I do. For all that we do together to raise a healthy, happy, well adjusted young man.

Eat Your Dinner.

What's the point in yelling at a kid? What's the point in insisting a child eats ALL their dinner? What's the point in forcing a child to look 'neat and tidy' all day long?

I'll tell you something, something I'm not ashamed of. I don't yell very much. Well, okay, I certainly shout a lot from one room to the next, "Stop hitting please" and "Please stop yelling!" (I see the irony of that statement given my typical volume levels). I will snap some mornings, "Get your shoes on. NOW! It's time for school." "You have three minutes to get dressed. Then I am going to start taking away privileges." And so on, various other normal 7 am statements. But, if I have to be at work at 9 am, I generally try to leave the house no later than 8 am. That gives me a full hour to drop a baby off at daycare and drive 7 minutes to my workplace. I leave that early because I got in the habit when Bugs was little.

He took FOREVER to do any-damned-thing at all. I was furious one of 'those' mornings, and I was shouting at a 3 year old because he wanted to do up his seat belt himself. And I didn't feel like I had three minutes to let him do it. And I stopped and thought to myself. Three minutes? I'm screaming over a seat belt? That's wrong. Something is wrong with me.

And I decided that day, then and there, if I had to be some place at a certain time, I would figure out exactly how long I needed to get there. Then I would leave a half hour earlier than that. That way, if it takes the kids ten minutes to put coats on, fine. Ten minutes to walk to the car. Fine. Ten minutes to do up their seat belts alone. Fine.

It doesn't always work. Sometimes we do run late- and I do get stressed and snap at them. But once we're underway, and my blood pressure drops thirty points again, I apologize. Because they are just being kids. And they're good kids. And I'm only human (well, I'm an awesome human, but still just a human).

As to whether or not Brat eats her dinner. I. Don't. Care. She is the only one who can tell me how full, or 'unfull' her tummy is. I offer her a healthy meal, and she either eats it, or she doesn't. She has a normal appetite and eats when she is hungry, and not when she isn't. She has a normal, healthy body. Me forcing her to eat when she isn't hungry will teach her to ignore what her body tells her, and force food in, even when she doesn't want it. And I tried that approach once already. It's bullshit and it's stressful for the parent and the kid.

When Bugs was little, we followed what we were 'told' to do by the 'grown ups' and argued with him. Fought and fought and fought with him over his meals. To be fair, he was having more issues than just food, but since THAT was the only aspect of his life he felt he could control, he tried. He would refuse to eat anything homemade. And because his grandparents regularly took him to McDonald's (he had just 'lost' C, so no one wanted to tell him "No, that is not healthy"), or they made him KD, he would not eat anything healthy. Ever. He would intentionally throw up on the table if you tried to 'make' him eat- if you refused to buy him a 'hannaburger' he would vomit at you. That's all kinds of fun.

Eventually, we stopped trying to 'make' him eat at dinnertime. We started to tell him it could be his choice- but that if he didn't eat any of his dinner that night, it would go in the fridge and be his next day's meal. There would be no other substitution later for a "better" bedtime snack. If he got hungry, dinner would be re-served. Eventually, he stopped fighting against healthy food, and began to enjoy his meals. So, when we stopped trying to force, he made the decision- with a wee bit of coercion- to eat his healthy food first. Why didn't I think to let him do that sooner? To choose to eat healthy, by simply REFUSING to allow the fast food at all? Kids won't starve themselves. They'll eat when they get hungry. Just like I do.

My kids are also always messy. Brat's daycare teachers call her the "Disaster bird"- I went to pick her up the other day, she had half of her uniform undone, one leg out of a pair of tights (still wearing the other leg) and one boot on. I can't even discuss her hair. She likes it long, and loose. I can braid it, and spend half an hour fighting with her to get it smooth and flat. The minute she gets to school, she yanks the elastic out anyways. When she dresses herself, she layers like a homeless man trying to stay warm in February. But, she's happy, and she loves the way she looks. Why would I change that? Also, since I rarely brush my own hair, who the Hell am I to say she "must" brush hers?

So, how do my kids look to other people? I don't know. I don't care. My kids know that they are loved. We don't need to fight with them constantly over the small stuff (and thanks Dad), it's ALL small stuff. I will save my arguments for the teenage years, when I will need the energy even more than I need it now.

I could have freaked out last week because the 15 month old was playing with marbles; or yesterday when she picked up a 'throat sized' rock at the sitters- and put it directly into her mouth. I didn't. I trusted her to spit it out once she'd had it in there long enough to realize it didn't taste all that great.

What's the point in freaking out? I don't have the energy to do that. If she'd started choking- I am CPR certified, and have never once panicked under pressure yet. So, the fact that I haven't 'baby proofed' my home doesn't mean I don't worry- it means that I trust my children to listen, to learn, to respect and to stay safe (well, safe enough). And occasionally I do yell. I do shout. When it's warranted- not just because I want to be the boss. I AM the boss- but yelling isn't what gets me that respect- treating my kids with respect is what gets me that respect.

And yes, we tease, we bicker, we argue- but first and foremost is the love. And my kids have better senses of humour than most grown ups I know. So I KNOW I'm doing something right. Eat. That.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Movies and mac and cheese.

I'm having a friend over for dinner tomorrow (technically tonight), and after the little ones are into their beds, we are going to watch what are potentially the best movies of the century.

Now, I love horror movies. In fact, I might be the biggest fan of cheesy horror movies ever. I pick horror movies based solely on the cover. Which has led me to some of the very best movies you've never seen. I look at the artwork on the front. If it's hand drawn; involves a gaping mouth; a small child; a picture of a something totally innocuous and yet creepy- I will watch it. Avidly.

So, tomorrow when my friend arrives, we'll sit with the kids, talk shop, have dinner and later, we'll grab a couple glasses of wine, some popcorn and watch Evil Dead 2. Followed by Army of Darkness. We're not watching ED (the original) because I find it redundant when one is watching 2. We may also watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail (I know all the words to the entire movie, and will happily re-enact it for you at any given time).

I have a list here of movies that are always welcome in my living room.

Monty Python, "Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian".
Dog Soldiers
The Color Purple (which I know isn't a horror, but I do love it)
Any Harry Potter movie (again, I just love the movies so much)
Adam and Evil (it's the worst movie ever made, and I loved it)
Bubba Ho Tep (I will marry Bruce Campbell if he ever gets close enough for me to handcuff him)
Silence of the Lambs (nothing out creeps Hopkins)
The Omen (NOT the remake. EFF the remake)

There are others; but, these are the ones that strike me right now.

Anyways, when my buddy gets here tomorrow, we'll be having homemade (by me) grown up Mac and Cheese (I will share the recipe eventually). It's one of my favourites; involving shallots, bacon, four cheeses and happiness baked in a two quart casserole dish. It's the best part of being a grown up. That and staying up until 2 am just because nobody can send you to bed. OUT!

EDIT: Here's the recipe I use for my grown up Mac and Cheese.

1/2 lb of chopped bacon- fried to medium crispy-ousity
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 green onions, chopped
1-2 shallots (or 1/2 a small onion) chopped
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
fresh pepper to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (you will hardly be blown away in the end, it mellows)
2 cups shredded cheese- I used marble this time, but anything will work
1/2 cup mozza (makes it stretchy)
1 cup shredded OLD cheddar (or sharp) for max flavour
1/2 cup parmesan or asiago

5 cups al dente pasta (any shape is fine, but mostly I use elbows)
1/2 cup bread crumbs,
2 tbsp melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Fry your bacon whilst you simultaneously melt the 1/2 cup of butter in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan and start a HUGE pot of water to boil for the pasta.

3. When the butter is melted, but before it starts to brown, add your chopped onions, and saute gently for 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you like garlic, add a clove now and let it cook too (I also toss in 1 bay leaf; but take that out BEFORE SERVING). When your onions have started to soften (but before they have cooked completely) dump your flour in. All at once, and stir to make sure it all gets buttered up.

4. Continue to stir the flour-y butter (or butter-y flour) for two minutes to cook the flour and prepare it for the milk. Now, add the milk, and whisk the crap out of it. You want to get it completely lump free. You could, of course, heat the milk separately and whisk it gently- but I don't bother to make extra dishes if I don't have to.

5. Add your seasoning whilst the milky buttery flour mixture thickens. Add your bacon now too. When it becomes thick (or stops thickening if you wait long enough) decide if you wish to add another splash of milk to 'loosen' it up. If you like the mac and cheese slightly runny, then add milk, if you like it to be stiffer, then don't. Once you add the cheese the whole mixture will thicken and stiffen more.

6. Add the cheese, I reserve about 1/2 cup total of the different shreds to use with my topping. You don't have to, you could grate more, or skip it completely.

7. Toss the pasta (slightly UNDERcooked is way better than over cooked because you'll be baking it as well) into the sauce you've created. Place in a casserole dish large enough to hold it and top with the breadcrumbs, mixed with melted butter, left over cheeses and a sprinkling of parmesan to finish it up.

8. Bake until crispy top, and hot through. Eat all of it before your husband gets home from work.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Roundtable #37: After A Visit

Roundtable #37: After a Visit

Open Adoption Roundtable prompts are from the Open Adoption Bloggers  community and we each offer our varied and personal opinions on these prompts. 

How do you feel after a visit?

Geez, who's writing these prompts?! Are you trying to see inside my soul? Probably- because that's the only way to see different perspectives is to ask and answer honestly.

So, here it goes, I'm not necessarily proud of my answer; but, here it is just the same.

I'm relieved. In the summer, after C leaves, our lives return to our peculiar state of normalcy, and the up and down of the emotional situation levels off again. Bugs comes home, and becomes our son fully again. 

Wow. That sounds worse when I re-read it than I thought it would. Balls.

 But it's what I mean and what I have to explain.

 Last year, when C first got here, Bugs knew she'd arrived. That she was within the same city he was. He also knew that she didn't come see him for the first three days. It was a long weekend, and she went out to party with her friends. The premise she'd given us was that she'd get it out of her way, and be 100% devoted to him for the remainder of the visit if she was able to party on the weekends.

When Bugs came home though, what he remembered, and felt, versus what she described were so diametrically different that I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that those were her choices to make, and all I could do was try to help him process his feelings over the situation. He enumerated every single time she went out with friends during the week, leaving him home with her mom- instead of spending time with him and how it made him feel.

Bugs came home from that visit last summer sad; complaining of feeling worthless and of being tired of visiting her at all. He came home exhausted emotionally. He told me (I am going to go ahead and quote him as best I can),

 "She doesn't want to see that I am angry, or unhappy. She wants me to be happy. So I "be" happy. Even though I'm not happy at all. She wants to know that I am okay if she goes out with her friends, or spends two hours doing her hair. She doesn't want to know if I am angry with her. I'm so tired of pretending to be happy momma. I don't want to be happy, I just want to go swimming."

So we went swimming.  We swam; Monster in my arms; Brat paddling around trying to follow Bugs; and Bugs trying to pretend he'd been home with us all morning- several times I could see him trying not to cry, and several times, I told him if he needed to, he should. That night at bed, Bugs told me how much he loved me, and how glad he was to be home again, where whatever he felt was "allowed".

As much as C and her mother love him, they don't want his REAL feelings getting out. They don't want to hear that he is hurt, that he feels neglected, that he feels he is second best to C. They don't want him to be unhappy- and because he is afraid to be himself around them- he puts on his happy face, sending me emails, telling me in his emails how much he wants to come home. They don't want to hear about his pain- and that makes his pain so much worse.

Since that visit last year, I've told him, in no uncertain terms, HIS feelings are what matter. He is a child. Their feelings are not important in anyway compared to his; nor should he have to take their feelings into account. He should not have to pretend to be someone else, or feel something he doesn't feel in order to receive love. He can go right ahead and tell them if he has a different expectation of the visit for this year- and I dearly, dearly hope they listen this time.

Normally, I am relieved when the two weeks are over, and Bugs can go back to being who he truly is- and feeling whatever he needs to feel. And I have such high hopes for the visit this year. Especially now that Bugs knows he can be angry if he needs to be- and that he can be himself no matter where he is. That no matter how angry he is, we love him just the way he is.

So, with this next visit only a few months away, I guess I'm already tensing up, worrying and scared about how this year might effect my son. How it effects me. And I'm tense right now, just thinking about it and hoping for the best for my boyo.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Shaw Fill The Food Banks 2012.

Shaw is at it again. Fill the Food Banks 2012.

Take 1:02 seconds to watch click the video, or go to Youtube directly and watch it.

 The view counter is going up, and with every view (up to 250 000), Shaw will donate 1$ towards Canadian food banks.

Take the minute to watch, or don't watch, but at least click it. Campbell's has also agreed to donate 1 lb of food for each view... If those two things are enough incentive then I don't know what would be.