Saturday, December 27, 2008

The name game

Who knew I could post so frequently? With the baby fast approaching (and I say that with great trepidation as Papoosie Girl arrived four weeks early) we need to come up with a name. Since all of you are so gifted in spotting the bad ones and overflowing with good ones I am putting this out there for one and all to help. Despite a big show of getting the books out and Papoosie Girl enjoying reading them we have not had an earnest name discussion.

My last name is Greek, not too long and ends with an "S" and both my girls have fairly classic, feminine names ending in an "A" one is a bit more common and one is not. Both however, are pretty and girly and you would not have to guess their gender say on a class list. I am leaning so strongly towards Amelia now I even refer to the baby in my head by that name. Other names we (ok mostly me) have come up are: Melina, Makena, Olivia. There is also the fact that both my girls names have a Greek meaning and I would like to stick with that. Amelia, Melina and Olivia have Greek meanings, Makena is a town on Maui we visited and I just like how it sounds.

I am thinking of Jane for a middle name for a girl no matter what the first name is, it was my great grandmothers name and I just like it. This has not been met with any kind of approval as of yet mind you. Other than that we have no ideas for middle names and I am not sure we want to go the family route since we didn't do that before, except for Papoosie Girl who has my maiden name as a middle name (and it is now an up-and-coming first name) and it was in honour of my Dad. Rosebud's middle name was just a name I liked.

Here is the fun part, we know it is a girl! After a very dramatic Christmas Eve trip to Labour & Delivery for assessment with what we now know was a kidney stone and a trip back Christmas Day for four hours for an ultrasound and follow-up - we found out it is indeed another daughter. I can't say I am surprised, but officially knowing just makes it all the more exciting.

So I am asking for suggestions, anything at all really. I would say it is fairly certain we will go with a name ending in an "A" since I like how they all sound together, but you never know. If the right name comes along it is the right name. I hope we will know it when we hear it.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays. Mine have been a bit strange, but we have salvaged what we could and with the help of our family were able to celebrate and be thankful for a healthy baby girl on her way.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A nice little update

Hello one and all. Or more likely one at this point in my sketchy blogging career. I know it has been several are some random updates.

I am still pregnant, I am about 8 weeks away from delivering by a scheduled cesarean, based on the fact that Rosebud was breech and resulted in a cesarean. My doctor feels strongly I should just go ahead with another one. I had, actually still have, mixed feelings about it all and really don't want to go through the surgery again, but the doctor feels really strongly about. Some of the doctors in the clinic say that if I go into labour before my scheduled date and all is well, I can certainly go ahead and try a natural delivery. The problem is when they all start talking risk factors and the likelihood of complications I get all panicky. When one of the main complications is death it does that to a girl.

Still on the medical front I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and right now I am still in the phase of keeping track of my sugar levels for now. I am not on insulin as of yet, and hopefully won't have to, but as of right now I am having a hard time keeping my levels, well level. The diet I am following is not too bad and the biggest problem I am having is eating as much as they say to eat. Usually at the end of the day I am way behind, I do alright with the meals, but I can never manage to get in the snacks. I go back to the clinic this week so I am sure they will have lots of advice on where this is going.

To be honest I am just tired now. The pregnancy has finally caught up with me these last few weeks and at nearly 32 weeks I am feeling it. Up until now I have pretty much been operating as usual, now I am finding myself out of energy by noon. With Christmas fast approaching it is getting harder and harder to keep up.

Aside from all that I do feel pretty good for a tired, old pregnant lady. I have only gained two pounds and even though I still have some shopping to do I am pretty organized. It helps that we are not entertaining at all at our house this year. We will be fed and entertained from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day at our families, which takes a huge burden off of me. Even stranger this year was the canceling of several of our long-standing events. We have been able to add in some spontaneous fun these past few weekends with some of the free days.

I do love the holidays and I am starting to get really excited and so are the girls. This will be our last Christmas just the four of us and I am trying to soak it all in. Try as I might I cannot imagine the new baby in our mix yet, I realize that sounds a bit bad and I don't mean it that way. It is just that every time I try to imagine us as five, with a little baby in tow I just come up blank. As this baby kicks me as I write this I know that very soon this will all make sense.

This may or may not be pregnancy related, but this morning I burned ground beef. Exciting right? I mean I am not a five-star chef or anything, but I can usually handle browning some ground beef and sauteing veggies to make a big batch of sauce. I went ahead and picked out the really burned parts and made the sauce anyway. Now I wonder if that was a good idea, dinner time will tell.

I wish all of you a wonderful holiday however you celebrate. I have everything I want, other than maybe a few more hours in the day. I have really cut myself some slack this year and it feels great, while at the same time a bit drafty if that makes sense. I plan to fit some baking in this weekend and we are taking the girls to see some Christmas windows downtown.

I will be in touch hopefully once more before the baby arrives and if not I promise to let everyone know when the big moment happens.

Happy Holidays to all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

True story

Yesterday the girls and I were walking through Zeller$. We came to the ladies lingerie section where there were rows and rows of colourful bras hanging up.

Rosebud: Papoosie Girl, when you grow up and your boobies grow which one will you pick?
Papoosie Girl: (slightly dejected) When I grow up I won't have any taste.
Me: What? Why won't you have any taste when you grow up?
Papoosie Girl: (glancing my way) Look at you Mom you are all plain and stuff, I just figure you lose your taste for cool clothes when you grow up.

Note: I was wearing a solid brown Tommy long sleeved top with jeans and Sketchers. My bra and undies (which she saw me put on) sadly are of of the solid variety as well, noting that the undies are maternity undies in blue at least.)

Me: I have taste. I just wear more simple patterns and colours than you like.

Papoosie Girl: (not really convinced and grinning) OK Mom I guess you do have some taste.

Cut to this morning where I put on a navy and light blue rugby style maternity top she hasn't seen before...

Papoosie Girl: That top is nice Mom (I tell her it was Auntie Katrina's) maybe you do have some taste after all.

Me: Thanks honey.

We have settled somewhat into our school routine. I just got a memo today though that some of the morning SK kids are going to be moved to the afternoon class with the same teacher. They are asking for volunteers, but even if they don't get them, some of the kids will be moved. This is not good for Rosebud since she is pretty tired in the afternoon and often naps or at least rests on her bed. Since I have a pretty good relationship with the Principal I am going to try to catch her later today to get more information and let her know that I would prefer for Rosebud to stay in the morning class...they want to hear concerns so I will oblige.

I am feeling better for the most part and am now 4 1/2 months along. It is starting to seem real now. We are talking about a new stroller and how we are going to combine the girls into one room. In some ways it seems so far off, but I know the fall will fly by and next thing you know it will be the holidays. My next ultrasound is in a few weeks and I think we are leaning towards finding out if this baby is a girl or boy. I still really don't want too, but I think it will make our preparations a lot easier.

I know I have been scarce around these parts, but I am reading even if I don't always comment. I have made a point of making my blog and blogging in general fit into my life, although I kind of miss when it was threatening to take over my life!

I keep saying to myself a family of five. It still doesn't always seem real. I hope I can hold it all together.

Friday, August 08, 2008

There really is no other way....

*For those of you who don't know me, or simply stumbled here for the first time...this may be too much information. I'm just saying.

Other than to say yes, Mad, I am pregnant, 13 weeks. Wow. I said it out loud, it still sounds so shocking to my ears. I left a comment over at Bub & Pie today and realized quite soon after hitting post, OK right after hitting post that I kind of let it slip. Maybe I wanted it out has been weighing heavily on my mind this much wanted and equally terrifying baby growing. I was so worried about telling all of you, my dearest supporters who still come back despite my sketchy posting schedule.

This has been an avalanche of emotions and while this pregnancy was planned, it came as quite a shock if that makes any sense.

We have always danced around the idea of one more, never say never was our motto as all our friends on Hubby's side rushed to get "fixed" and many of our friends from my side started having number three. We have our crib and highchair and most all of our gear that hasn't been destroyed after being passed around. We have the physical stuff, but I worry we might not have the mental gear.

Last summer after being a few days late and then ultimately getting my period, we decided it wouldn't be bad if it maybe did happen. Up until this point, it was always a maybe or whatever happens is meant to be and coupled with the fact that nothing was happening I really wasn't thinking about it all that much. With the girls I got pregnant pretty much on the first try and even if you toss in the miscarriages, I always seemed to get pregnant the minute we said it.

Well, last summer came and went and fall and winter and you get the idea. So imagine my great shock when mid June I realized something was up. Smells were heightened, the sight of raw food made me ill and I didn't even need the little stick to confirm what I already knew. This was about two weeks before our trip and I was feeling exhausted and sick and terrified of taking on a two week road trip with a million family members.

I was also convinced something would go wrong. I had about three blood tests before I settled down enough to even contemplate this was a reality. As we headed out for our trip, my mother-in-law figured it out after about 6 hours into the trip, but good to her word she kept it to herself. By the end of the trip though, most of Hubby's family had figured it out, the only people who didn't know were the girls. It didn't help that at about 6 weeks my bottoms did not fit and maternity clothes were too big. I spent most of the trip in yoga pants and the few maternity bottoms I could roll at the waist.

We waited until my first ultrasound which was last week before we told the girls. I just couldn't bear to tell them and then have something go wrong. They are so excited and tell everyone they meet, a part of me worries about rocking their world so much, but another part of me is convinced this baby is a gift to them.

So now everyone knows and it is fun and strange and I feel so, so old. I know I am not that old, but man I don't remember being this tired with the girls. I need and I mean that in the most literal sense to have a nap just about every day. I get sick most evenings from supper to bedtime...this often requires french fries to cure. I have gained six pounds already, which may not sound like a lot, but I gained 9 total for Papoosie Girl and 5 for Rosebud. Could this be the boy we thought we would never have? I have no idea, but Hubby really wants to find out. I don't though, so we will see what happens in September when I go back for the next ultrasound.

I am kind of jumbled up about it all still. I am glad you guys know, I feel much, much better. I hope to blog through this experience as it will most certainly be my last go round. Just saying three kids already makes my heart race a bit.

I am sure I will be seeking your guidance and insights along the way and I know you will not disappoint. Then there is the most important part of this, what will name this child? I know Alpha DogMa will not fail me in my quest for the almighty name that doesn't land me in one of those categories of hers. I am still a bit nervous and have that feeling of I am going to jinx it, but for better or worse this baby seems to be healthy and growing and right on track.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Remember me?

Now that I have cemented my place as a rather inconsistent and sometimes reluctant blogger, let me at least say that I am still here, if not here very often.

We have made it back from our multi-generational, multi-family, multi-location trip fairly unscathed. We traveled a total of 3900km round trip and when I imagine it now I need to lay down for awhile.

Planning the trip was a long process and in the end I am glad I put in the effort. Packing both for a family wedding and a week at the beach was overwhelming, but worth it. We all looked smashing at the wedding and had a blast at the beach. Hubby has all the photos on his laptop, but I promise I will try to get some up soon.

The wedding was a large (300 people) affair in Long Island, NY. It was the swankiest wedding I have ever been too, valet parking, appetizers that consisted of, but were not limited too: a carving station with prime rib, turkey and pork - and all the trimmings, a sushi station, a custom pasta station, a cold salad and deli station, a seafood station, Chinese food station, um I might be missing was a blur of food. Then we sat down to dinner! Which was so much more food I barely touched it, having stuffed myself with appetizers. We had an attendant at our table and each and every time you took your napkin off your lap and placed it on the table it was immediately refolded into a little hat on the table. Each. and. every. time.

The bathrooms had attendants, which prompted Papoosie Girl to finally ask, if that was the lady's job, to which I replied, yes. She seemed to think it was a fine job to hand out paper towels in the bathroom all day and was amazed that someone gets to do that.

Dessert was more crazy than the appetizers. We were served dessert, cheesecake I think, I never took a bite I was so far gone. Out in the adjoining hall was a Haagen-Dazs ice cream bar, someone making pretzels, cotton candy and candy apples and a popcorn machine. In addition, to a wall of sweets and cakes. At this point everyone is in a food-induced stupor and we are all just kind of staring at it all. Both my girls fell asleep and missed it all, for shame.

And did I mention my Hubby had the great idea of touring New York City the day before the wedding? The day immediately following our 9 hour drive to Long Island, the day wedged between the long drive and the wedding seemed like the perfect opportunity to tour NYC. So we did. The Statue of Liberty (holy security, um yeah that is my under wire, not really asked, but you get the idea), Time's Square, neighbourhoods, Central Park from the bus...all of it on a day so hot we felt like we might melt. It was intense and fun and looking back I cannot imagine how I agreed to go along with it.

So back to the wedding is over and we are so full, which is amazingly gone by the next does that happen? You swear you won't eat again for days, then the very next morning you are chowing down.

We packed up and picked up my in-laws from the relatives they were staying at and started to drive to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We did the drive in two days since I wasn't up for a 12 hour drive, plus stops. We stayed at a lovely hotel right on the ocean and our mini-suite had an awesome view of the beach and ocean. My in-laws were in my room and my sister-in-law and her family had an identical unit a floor below us. My girls had a blast and everyday was spent at the beach and pool. We had a full kitchen so we ate nearly all our breakfasts - we had to go to IHOP once! in our room and lunches too. Dinners were out except for a night or two where we just too beat to go anywhere. Getting a suite with a full kitchen actually cost less that staying in some of the nicer (Hilton & Marriott) hotels. It was definitely a kid-friendly option.

Everyone had an amazing time and this was really all about Hubby, this was his moment. He has wanted all of us to go away together for awhile, feeling time slipping by too fast. Our one niece and nephew are both in university, his parents are getting older (hell, we are all) and he felt like there just would not be very many more opportunities like this. The wedding was the catalyst, we new we would all be there so why not make it a holiday was his feeling. Up until now we have always preferred to travel alone, just our family of four. We don't get a lot of time together really, so vacations have always remained pretty special - a time for us to reconnect.

These memories we created on this road trip will last a lifetime for my girls and for that I am thankful. I want them to know that their grandparents not only love them, but that they are a huge part of their lives. Life is short and in these moments I feel the loss of my Dad like my stomach has dropped out of my body. He should be having these moments too with my girls. Life doesn't work like that though and my girls are loved and cared for my many, many people. I'm not complaining, we are blessed in many other ways. Even more than I can share right now. There will always be a place though, in the back of my mind, that feels cheated for them, for not knowing him. The memories and emotions are like a tangled web of feelings, try as I might, I am forced to wonder and ponder how life can bring such sweetness and sadness and how in the eyes of my girls I see both.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I think you might be on to me

No new post since February, I think you are definitely on to me. It is not that I don't love blogging or anything, but I think I realized early on that I am much more of a reader and don't seem to have the discipline to pump out regular posts. They are always in my mind lurking about, threatening to spill out, but then there is ALWAYS something that needs to done, sheets to be washed, kids fed, gifts to shop for, medication to pick up, appointments, Survivor to watch - you get the idea. Then I sometimes think that while I have my own voice I find so many of my favourite bloggers pluck the very thoughts and words right out of my head and I have a little sigh and think well there, it is said and done.

Life is full at this stage, the stage where whole other human beings are dependent on you for their very survival. It makes me tired quite frankly and while this blogging world is my coveted playground for my mind and soul it is not always easy to find the time to visit.

Things are still a never-ending battle of sick with both girls on antibiotics right now and Papoosie Girl in an asthma flare-up thanks to the change in temperature. When we have days of hot and cold mixed together she goes into attack mode.

It hasn't been all doom and gloom though. Papoosie Girl had her First Communion last weekend which was sweet and sad all mixed together. She made me practice with her so many times walking down our hallway clutching her hands just so - the hand you write with underneath! She wore my veil and headpiece and all around it was one of those heart wrenching moments that you are never prepared for, the moments and milestones that go undocumented in the books.

The most surreal part of the last few months was running into one of my elementary school friends, well my best friend at The Science Centre over March Break. I had run into her before a few times, but this time we were standing right next to each other while our kids looked at something and we just turned and stared at each other. There were hugs and a fast chat, there were four kids under seven at our feet and we exchanged emails and numbers. She told me our Grade 8 class is planning a reunion and that they have a facebook page set up and everything, she made me promise to get on, since I told her I have never really wanted to join all that much.

So here I have stumbled into this severe flashback with many of my former Grade 8 friends. Most of us are married with kids and some have exciting careers in the arts and some we are still trying to locate. Finding everyone and trying to fill in twenty plus years in small email sound bytes is hard. I have to tell people that no I didn't marry THAT person - for that everyone is thankful, I have to tell them my Dad passed away, that my baby brother is married and all this is filling my head and heart with clouds of memories.

We are still working on setting a date for the reunion and I know I will go and love catching up with everyone, but there are places I don't really want to visit, memories that are better left as a distant vision, blurred and soft in the distance.

On a completely unrelated topic and an admittedly terribly awkward change in direction, is anyone as fascinated with Jon & Kate Plus 8 or is it just me? I am hooked on this show and not just because they communicate with each other a lot (not totally but a lot) like myself and my husband, but I am completely mesmerized by this family. Not the worst show to watch I know, but I really can't put my finger on why I love it so much. I mean the kids are adorable and love their attitude of creating a normal day-to-day life for their kids, but there is something more and I can't quite put my finger on it.

Spring is coming, I can feel it and with I hope it brings a lightness that I think I have been missing for awhile now. The seasons come without fail and even in our darkest hours this thought is comforting, patting me on the back saying, "shush, soon you will be warm and free."

Edited to add: Maybe I was a bit emphatic saying that my Hubby and I communicate a lot like Jon & Kate and I do realize that by some standards they come across as mean to each other...I am talking more about the reality of not always being your personal best around the person you are supposed to love and cherish the most. In our house while we are not mean to each other we do have our moments of, "how could you not know the pink hair ponies are for going out" and yes I realize that many of Jon's shortfalls are completely invented by Kate, but I think I might do that too sometimes. I love my husband like no other, but that doesn't mean he makes me a little nuts sometimes and I am sure he would say the same about me.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I think I'll spin

See that new background, that is what I am dreaming about. I am dreaming about warm water, sand and sun. I just booked our hotel for Myrtle Beach this July and I am giddy. We will be heading to Long Island, NY for a wedding at the end of June and I somehow convinced Hubby with my stealth charm that going to the beach after was a great idea. He wanted to go to Boston, but in my current state all I can dream about is palm trees and sand.

We are definitely a road trip kind of family I guess although the thought usually makes me hyperventilate a bit before we actually start the trip. Just last night Papoosie Girl was telling Rosebud that traveling is exciting because you get to see new things, she already has the bug. All the girls care about so far is the Statue of Liberty (thanks Wonderpets and Little Einstein’s!), the big Toys R Us in Times Square and the playground at Central Park I showed them. After all that we head to the beach, I really can't wait.

In this never-ending grip of cold and sickness it is what I need right now, to think of better times. It is not just my house though that has been caught up with this plague. It has been one of the leading news stories in Canada and the USA not to mention American Idol last night (after 6 seasons I have finally decided to see what all the hype is about, to be honest Simon is my favourite part most of the time) mentioned that many of the contestants had the flu. So many of my favourite bloggers and their families have been sick too. Is it me - or this winter just worst somehow?

Of course this weekend I told everyone I saw that yes we were all finally better and yes it was amazing that Papoosie Girl never got it. Then of course I picked her up from school all glassy-eyed and hot and she was telling me her muscles were "quivery" all day. I am now paying for my rookie mistake and tempting fate and all that as she sits on the sofa watching the Family Channel at the moment.

There is some good news though; we have turned Papoosie Girl into a Wheel of Fortune addict. I have watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy off and on for years, it is what my Mom used to watch every night so I was stuck watching unless I wanted to head for the basement TV. It was Wheel in fact that gave me the inspiration for my honeymoon. They were doing a broadcast from a resort in Hawaii and I was mesmerized to see Vanna swimming with the dolphins, I had to go there - and I did. When we were newly married Hubby and I used our hand-held Jeopardy machines (basically a calculator) to keep track of our score, competition was fierce and not always friendly.

The other night we had the television on watching the red alert screens going by on the weather channel and for some reason Hubby flipped to Wheel. Papoosie Girl who had been doing a puzzle before bed was hooked immediately and wanted to know all about it. That first night she had pretty much figured out the premise and was eager to try to solve the puzzles. The money part of it confused her; she kept asking if it was money for them to go to university.

I now tape it everyday and we watch it a bit earlier than it airs so bedtime is not jeopardized. She has been able to solve many long I keep my mouth shut and don't shout them out before she gets a chance to solve them. I am so impressed at how easy it is coming to her and the other day she asked me if we could go to the video store and get the Wheel of Fortune movie - that made me laugh. To watch her mind expanding is just inspiring and while I wish I could take the credit it is just her, my stubborn and sweet little girl with more determination than I ever had. Daddy even bought the computer version and she loves playing except she misses Vanna and Pat who for some reason aren't on the computer version.

As a kid I loved game shows and watched Price is Right, Family Feud, Jokers Wild, Match Game, Press Your Luck, I could go on and on. I guess she comes by it naturally. We have been chided for keeping our girls away from family-type movies we still feel are inappropriate for our girls, now that they are hooked on Wheel I can only imagine what our friends will say. I am all for letting them fill their heads with fun kids shows, it is just that the ones they like are the ones where they learn something, that is what they ask for. I would never let them watch violent or sassy shows with nothing but fighting and back talking it is just not my way.

So as a special treat I am going to let my adorable little letter turner watch last nights Wheel since she is all feverish right now. I hope that if we keep spinning our wheel will land on something other than being a nice jackpot of health for our family.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I have a good husband

I have been sick again this week. Bah! I am so sick of being sick and this was the real deal - the flu. Shivers, shakes, high fever, chattering teeth (for real) and sweating so much I have had to change my pajamas up to three times a day. I feel cold, so cold like I can never get warm. I was so achy yesterday I sat in the tub and let the shower spray me with hot water for nearly twenty-five minutes. Even though I was sick off and on for all of December it was never enough to really warrant me a sick day. My Mom came her usual one day a week and I got the odd afternoon off while my in-laws picked up Rosebud from Kindergarten giving me freedom until 3pm when I would have to pick up Papoosie Girl.

I know, I know, my life is soooo tough. I will say this in my sad defense, I never ask for help - I actually suck at it. My Mother-in-Law calls every morning at the same time and if there is anything wrong with me she usually has to pry it out of me. I hate asking for help for me, how stupid is that. If it is for the girls I am much more likely to ask, for me, I play the martyr. So while I was sick in December I was able to get some rest in here and there, but for the most part it was sick me taking care of things.

So while that is all nice it is a bit boring. What is not boring is how wonderful my Mom, Mother-in-Law and Husband have been the last few days. Thursday my Mom can out in the afternoon and stayed late evening, making dinner, doing the laundry and taking care of the girls while I shivered on the couch. Friday, Hubby took the girls to school and my in-laws picked up both girls at their dismissal times and then kept them until Hubby picked them up. I was able to rest all day. It was such a treat, it is too bad I was too sick to enjoy it.

Today had already been planned for awhile for Daddy to take the girls shopping to buy Mommy's birthday and Valentine's Day gifts. Last year he let them choose whatever they wanted - in that store that starts with a "Z". I got a green velvet and lace tank top in size medium (I am a Large and not so velvety) and a dolphin charm and chain, a C&rious G&orge t-shirt size small - among many other interesting gifts.

I got up and went to the doctors this morning because frankly I was getting a little scared. How long can a fever hang around anyway? I am now back on antibiotics for some kind of infection and still fighting the flu, oh joy. Anyway, on to the My Husband is Great part. He left just after me around 9am and it is 4pm and he is still not home. He has been sending me photos and funny stuff from his iphone so I keep getting emails from him. Here is where they have gone so far (that I know of anyway):

McD's for breakfast
The video store
The doughnut factory (Cr&spy Cr@me)
Home Improvement store

He called a while ago asking if he could keep them out sure! I do miss them, I really do, but I am sure loving the quiet. Hubby has always been taking the girls out with him to run errands, even when they were little and in diapers. I am always a bit sad when I think of some friends we know, that Dad has never taken his son out alone anywhere. My Hubby is always offering me a day off when he can and loves having his girls all to himself, and since I get them to myself so much during the week I am happy to oblige. For the most part we actually like doing things together, even if Hubby has work errands we all pile in together and make something fun out of it. I mean that is what life is all about, taking the crappy, the mediocre and turning it into something fun.

Everyday cannot be beaches and theme parks, real life can be fun too. You just have to try. I can't wait to feel better so I can play too. Thanks Hubby for being a great Dad.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I have a sister

I think everyone knows this, at least my handful of loyal readers do. I have blogged about Amy and my brother before. I have made references to my sister in Korea teaching Kindergarten and left it at that. I have not delved too deep mind you, it feels like it is too complicated to blog about, your heart of hearts wants to say one thing and your head stops you, fingers poised and frozen above the keyboard.

It is an intricate arrangement when viewed by outsiders I am sure, but to us it really is as cliche as, "it is all we know" this entanglement of being family who have never lived together. The short version of the back-story is my parents divorced when I was quite small, my Dad remarried when I was ten and had two more children a boy and a girl. It was a bittersweet dream come true for this only child. I wanted a brother or sister all my life and here they were, but they were not really mine.

No matter how happy or well adjusted an only child is there is a deep down yearning for a sibling. This was the case for me at least and the funny thing is I am sure had that ever happened, my Mother ever had another baby, I would have not been happy. I craved quiet and order, lost in my world of books. Nothing made me happier than to be holed up in my room with my "brother" Smokey (our dog) a pile of books and a snack. I could (and still can) amuse myself for hours with imaginative play, books, puzzles and games. No one to play with? No problem, I would roll for Smokey or hold his cards. I am sure this sounds like a tragic mess and Hubby would argue that I am always a bit to eager to play a board game, but my childhood was hardly unfortunate. It may not have been conventional, but I was well taken care of ensconced in a comfortable middle class life and loved by four parents.

At the ripe old age of eleven when my brother came along I was quite content in my own room and having my own bathroom. Spoiled? For sure. It was however, the only life I knew, I visited my Dad, Step Mom and brother and sister regularly, then returned to my real life. There were hardships too, but on the grand scale of things my life was charmed.

I wonder now as an adult what I really thought of this arrangement. Did it really all seem so normal to me? When my parents first divorced it was not at all amicable, they did not speak. As time wore on though and they both remarried (the same year) they came to develop a workable friendship, all of them in fact. My Mom and Step Father and Dad and Step Mother would play euchre together, spent many New Years Eve's together and we celebrated my birthday together often. My Mom attended my brother's wedding this summer.

This is most certainly not the norm for divorced families and there were definitely issues, but they got resolved over time. I am sure my Step Mom was not exactly thrilled that my Dad and Mom occasionally met for dinner to talk about me, but she certainly never made me feel bad about it. She came to understand that my Mom and Dad while could not seem to live together, had a bond that went back to childhood. He loved both these woman that much was clear. My Dad once told me I was his first true love, I know he loved me even if I didn't have the benefit of having him around much in my early years. I really believe he got a second chance at fatherhood when my brother and Amy were born.

Then unexpectedly at age 48 my father passed away from essentially a massive heart attack. It was six weeks after I got engaged, August 10, 1996. At the time Amy was two weeks shy of her thirteenth birthday and I was twenty-five. We were at two very different places in our lives, it was not the time for us to share this experience. It was just too impossible then.

When my sister was in Korea for nine months last year I convinced her start a blog, I knew she would never be able to capture those moments again once she was home. She did and it was a fun way to us to keep in touch, something beyond email and phone calls which were orchestrated with military precision. The fourteen and sometimes thirteen hour time difference was a real challenge it seemed, as my girls were on their way to bed, she was getting up to start her day.

What I didn't expect over the course of her stay in Korea was to get to know my sister. It took for us to be halfway around the world from each other to open up, to bear our souls and share our grief. Prior to her going away we were both impervious to what the other was going through. We shared our lives on the surface, but never reached down. We come from English stock, it would have been scandalous to show weakness such as it were. When we had the safety cushion of a few thousand miles were able to peel back our layers and really talk to each other as adults. I felt like I have waited for her to catch up for years, now we were in the same place and shared the same language. What had been bottled up for years on my part, I was able to share with her, this other person who lost a Father.

When Amy returned we all overjoyed, especially Rosebud and Papoosie Girl, Auntie Amy was home. We had the whirlwind of the wedding and next thing you know it was September. By October Amy was living in Ottawa. This has been hard and while she is not as far as Korea, we can't exactly pop by for a visit. Close but not really is the new situation.

Amy is a wonderfully funny, witty, caring and smart woman. She is at a place in her life - she would say "life" where you are supposed to make decisions, tackle those crossroads that lie ahead of you taunting. She has resurrected her blog and I hope she doesn't get mad, but she could probably use some kind words of encouragement. I don't remember being as aware as she is during my post university days...then again I was already on my course having met Hubby at university. I finished school with a pretty clear plan of where I was heading. I wish now sometimes I had floundered around a bit, chased some of those dreams. At the time though I was chasing my dreams...

Amy is a wonderful sister. Our relationship is different perhaps from others, but at the heart of it is a strength of family that no amount of convention could define.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Much better, thanks for asking

A brief medical update to let everyone know I am feeling MUCH better. I have finished my latest round of antibiotics and although I have not been back to the doctors yet for my follow-up, I am feeling about a million times better. That was an awful two weeks that I don't care to repeat anytime soon and I am shocked at how it affected me, it was strangling the life out of me.

I have still resolved though to love myself more, to cut myself more slack. This is monumental for me and still quite a work in progress. Reading, Eat Pray Love has left me craving for more like it so I am searching out similar books. So far I have been recommended, The Secret (which previously I passed on) and Simple Abundance, which I swear I have read before. Clearly, it is working, I am so focused and relaxed and all.

I wonder though who among us could really up and check out of their life to go on such a pilgrimage? It feels selfish to even think about doing something like that. I think this kind of introspection and searching for one's true core borders on decadence, this type of self-exploration is perhaps better left for the young and free. I am not saying this is not worthwhile decadence, just not a realistic pursuit for me in this chapter of my life.

The window of opportunity for this type of fancy free exploration has passed me by. You need to forgo all else in this pursuit and I think you would be hard-pressed to find many Mom's able to do this. Whether the reason is financial (who can afford to leave their job?), emotional (who wants to leave their kids and spouse for months at a time?), we need to find a condensed version of the journey. Yes, that is exactly what I need the Reader's Digest version of finding one's true self.

My husband has always been supportive of me not being around. He loves to take the girls out shopping or running errands alone. He relishes his time alone with them. He leaves me to fuss around the house in complete silence or occasionally steal away to have a coffee and read a magazine. He has been telling me for years to go away with the girls or even by myself. 'Get away for a while' he tells me all the while I am imagining just how their hair would look while I am gone.

Of course he can hold down the fort, but money isn't exactly falling around me in a happy rain so there is also that to consider. A weekend away however, is entirely doable. I have gone overnight once with the girls, but was back home in less than 48 hours - it was one night after all. And we stayed in the city, by my definition that is not really away. It was fun though and so nice to do what I pleased, but that is not even entirely true as I was with two other people. Thinking about it now maybe going somewhere alone is just what I need. It feels scandalous to even think about it, stay-at-home Mom's just don't up and leave the homestead do they?

I can hear your murmurs, "her husband says go and she is complaining" let it be known I realize I am grateful to have such a supportive husband. It is one thing to think about doing something and actually doing it. A huge part of me is wondering if I can get past the trepidation and do it. It is my own reservations here that is the fuel burning wildly and keeping me from doing it.

I have prattled enough for one post. If anyone has read any good books that they want to recommend let me know. Have any of you tried to check out of the homestead with the sole purpose of discovering yourself? I would be interested in hearing about it.

For you Canucks don't forget the CBC Test the Nation: Trivia challenge tonight...I was the winner of the Language challenge (not by much though) so we are having round two tonight.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Come out , come out, wherever you are

I just read that today is National (or has it reached international status by now?) Delurking Day. I am actually not too fond of the words lurker or delurker for that matter, it sounds like something you could be charged for. A lurker is someone who does not leave a comment, but reads your blog regularly.

I have a loyal bunch of blogging friends who read and comment with such tender care that I have never really give it much thought as to who is reading and not commenting. Lately though I have noticed that there are several regular visitors that are in the shadows - of my Sitemeter at least. Maybe they are too shy, maybe they just enjoy reading, whatever the reason I don't really mind at all.

Here is the but part, if there are any of you who do want to comment and say 'hello' please feel free, I don't bite (unless provoked) and I would love to hear from you. If you wish to remain behind the scenes that is fine too, I myself read many more blogs than I comment no worries.

Hmmn. To make this all a little easier here are some weird facts about me and a few other random bits to make the introductions a little smoother.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Funk and Love

Christmas and New Year's are safely over and now I cannot deny that I am feeling a bit like I am in a funk. I read with listless enthusiasm about increasing my volunteering and curbing my spending, and if it only were not so much trouble I might raise my hand. My energy has vanished along with the piped in holiday soundtrack.

I am not normally this blase about life, especially topics and causes that are important to me. Of late though, I have been feeling like the proverbial hamster in the wheel, running and running and getting pretty much nowhere.

It has been a long fall. Hubby has been diligent in his efforts to get in shape and not be one of those awful statistics. Heart disease runs in his family and he is determined to lose weight, lower his blood pressure and cholesterol so he will be a part of this family for many years to come. Rather than stick his head in the sand, much like my current approach to health, he is tackling this head on. Trips to the gym five days a week and healthy eating are putting him on the right track.

So why then is it so hard for me to do the same? Why at the end of the day am I lucky if I have managed to get dinner for the girls, homework done and the kitchen cleaned up. I had a bad sinus infection in November that has not really left it seems. Many nights I cough for hours and only in the wee hours do I rouse myself out of my comfy warm bed to swig directly from the Benelyn bottle. I went to the doctor Monday and the infection indeed was not really gone, instead vacationing south in the area of my lungs. The sleepless nights and general malaise are in a large part due to this on-going sickness. Not enough sick to get me a sick day, just bad enough to render me tired, cranky and useless. Mostly the useless part as I am often tired and cranky.

When is a funk a problem? I am naturally a bit of an anxious person and usually a bit of a downer to be honest. I like order and structure much too much and when I don't have the energy to support that need I feel out of sorts. The doctor much to my dismay did not order me to immediately hop on a plane to a sunny beach with a tonic for my nerves. My doctor was not worried at all about my funk, he was reassuring that once my lungs are better and I am getting some solid sleep (among other things) I will bounce out of this. I want to believe this, that everyone gets moody and sad sometimes, but still it scares me.

Looking back I know for a fact that I suffered Post Partum Depression after both of the girls. On the surface you would have never known it, but deep down I was struggling to remain even keeled - to remain in control. I was very close to asking for help and looking back I wish I did. It was a dark, panicky and scary time and I wish I had the information I have now, the resources I could have tapped into then.

Something that makes me a bit sad is that I am my most best self when I am totally removed from my daily life and grind, like when we are on vacation. Why is that? Why is it so hard to be that smiley, relaxed person in my own home? I don't really expect answers here - no need to panic about a clever and enlightened comment - even though my most loyal readers are truly so clever and enlightened. I just want to feel that light inside everyday.

I know that everyone gets down sometimes and I certainly experienced some terrible post-partum moments. Moments where I was sure I could walk out the front door and never look back. Fantasies of putting the girls into a taxi and sending them to Daddy's office. The thing is these were just moments, one of thousands of moments in any given day. Days that stretched on into infinity day - after - day - after - day. Many of those moments were sheer bliss, some were so deep I was sure I had pierced my core and yes, some so scary I was sure I could not do this another minute. Motherhood is tough much of the time, not always a great place for a thin skinned gal like me.

So this brings me to the fabulous book I am reading which I am sure everyone has heard about, I mean the author has been on Oprah and all, it is Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and I am so loving this book. I am fascinated by someone who just up and checks out of her life on a quest for inner peace. The book is a bit fragmented in parts and she does come across as a bit of a whiner sometimes, still she captures so well the idea of quieting your mind to let in love, specifically God's love. What God it is doesn't matter, it is the idea of creating a space within yourself to let yourself be loved. I want to feel that peace too. I want to be good enough in MY mind to let that love in.

Being hard on myself is kind of my calling card I suppose. I know I can always do better and it bothers me. Today though I am resolved to being nicer to myself, to opening up my heart for more love - from everyone. Call it my New Year's resolution - to love myself more. I can't really think of anything better to resolve.