Sunday, January 31, 2010

Little moments that matter (going, going, gone).

I love being a parent. When friends who don't have children ask me what it's like to be a mother, I'm almost at a loss for a good answer because there are so many reasons.

It's the little moments, in particular, that make my heart really happy.

~ Reading: We love books, and for me, there are few things as satisfying as reading a story with one of my kids curled into my lap, watching them absorb the words and study the pictures on the page.

~ Dancing: They both love to dance (in our arms). Matthew calls it "carry dance". Most days I dance with him at least once, despite the fact that he weighs almost 40 lbs (my back = owie). Watching the expression of utter glee on his face as we spin around the room is brilliant.

~ Food: There's something very satisfying about watching my kids eat a warm, nutritious meal that I've cooked. And okay, much of the time food ends up smeared on surrounding walls, floor, dog, clothes... As long as some of it ends up in their mouths, I'm happy!

~ Bedtime: It's one of the few peaceful moments of the day in our house. I sit in the nursery with Oliver on my knee, reading his bedtime story in the dim light of the lamp, enjoying the quietness and the affection of the moment.

~ Soothing: About twenty times a day, Oliver (who's just starting to walk) crawls up to me and bounces on his knees, raising his arms to me. The fact that he wants me to hold him - that I can soothe him, is such a great feeling.

~ Watching them interact: Granted, they don't always get along. But, witnessing the occasion when my toddler hand his little brother a toy, or kisses his head, fills me with joy.



Lately, perhaps because I'm aware of the speed at which my kids are growing, I find myself trying harder to recognize the small moments. Because a lot of the time, I'm so wrapped up in the stuff of life - taking care of the family, the home, dealing with tiredness from sleepless nights, worrying about all manner of things, striking a balance, studying, etc. - it's hard too catch hold of the small moments as they arrive and leave so quickly.

How about you? How do you find time to enjoy the little moments?
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sometimes Mummy is very honest.

I'm watching the Mighty Machines movie with my toddler. The scene shows trucks and diggers moving around a construction site. Rubble is being removed and materials delivered.

The narrator speaks in that gruff/gravelly/macho voice they do on Mighty Machines.

"This is a construction site!"

"Con-truc-sion site." Matthew repeats studiously. This is serious stuff.

"These construction vehicles are helping to prepare the site for a new building. A hospital is going to be built here!"

"Hop-sital."

"Soon, people will come to the hospital to get better!"

"Or, die..." I say out loud, not thinking.

"Or die." Matthew repeats nonchalantly.

Oh.... Uh....


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Things I ought to know by now...

Like any new mother I made lots of mistakes after my first son was born. Small things: forgetting to take out smelly diapers; forgetting hats and mitts on cold days; making a bottle too warm. Etc., etc. I'd tell myself it was okay, because in a few years I'd be a seasoned mum and would no longer make those mistakes.

Yahahaha.

A few years later? Yeah. Still making mistakes. The small kind. The big kind. The kind that make me want to kick myself in the shin (which isn't as easy as you might think unless you're very flexible).

So. Things I learned this week:

- Never buy lace-up shoes for a baby. Because you'll spend the entire day tying and untying laces. And in the end they'll only fall off and be found two days later under the sofa.

- Never leave a toddler alone in a room with a table of paints and a bowl of blueberries. Because when you return - even if it's only been a few minutes - said paint and fruit will be smeared all over your toddler, his clothes, his brother and the table. And maybe the dog. And then you will have to stifle a scream of exasperation.

- Never do the above when your husband is going to be out the same evening, as you'll be left to handle the horror of the dual bath alone. Shudder.

- Never pick a night when you're on your own to cook a dinner that takes two hours to prepare and uses every pot, pan and utensil in your kitchen. Because you'll have to clear everything up yourself afterward.

- Never show your toddler how to switch the TV on using the remote control. I'll let you fill in the blanks.

- Never leave a stroller out in the snow for three days in a row.

What was I thinking? No idea. Probably about lying on a beach somewhere...

Talking of dinner, I made OHMommy's pierogi for dinner tonight. And though they did take a little while to prepare, they were good. I served them with sautéed onions and crumbled bacon bits sprinkled on top and sour cream on the side.

Yummy.


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Monday, January 25, 2010

What do I know anyway?

Driving in the car.

Me: Look, Matthew! Over there - there's a digger!

Matthew: No Mama. That a forkif (forklift) truck.

Me: Oh. Right. Sorry.

~

Playing at home.

Me: Here's your truck Matthew.

Matthew: That not a truck, Mama. That a dump truck.

Me: Oh.

Matthew: See Mama? (demonstrates truck dumping a rock onto floor)

Me: Oh yes I see now!

~

Watching Mighty Machines DVD.

Matthew: Wook Mama! Wook!

Me: Wow! Is that a smoke stack?

Matthew: No Mama. That a snoke snack!

Me. Oooh. Okay. (chuckling)
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back to school.

I staggered back home late this afternoon after a very intense first weekend in massage therapy class, loaded with cotton sheets, pillows, oils and text books. My brain, over the last two days, has been stuffed with so much new information - muscles, joints, bones, skin cells, medical terms, techniques - I fear it might implode. It totally could!

But I knew, as I stepped back into the warmth of my home and to the welcoming shouts of "Mama! You been school?" that I'd made the right decision to do this. Plus, I bloody loved it.

I had a good feeling about it from the moment I entered class on Saturday morning. The instructor was great. My classmates were nice. Even the skeleton was friendly, with his ever-toothy grin.

Admittedly, I was scared and nervous about doing this. I didn't know for sure if me and massage would get along. Or if I'd open a textbook and run screaming down the hallway at the sight of a fleshy muscle or a complex medical term.

But really, the only frightening thing about this weekend was when I drove the wrong way down a steep, one-way road leaving university for lunch and met a car coming the other way. The man looked somewhat horrified as we approached each other on the snowy hill. I tried to gesture my apology but I may just have looked like a mad woman waving and driving the wrong way. And then I attempted a three-point turn to get back up the hill the correct way. Ahem.

It was all the snow's fault I tell you. Damn snow.

I've three weeks until my next class, and piles of homework to get through. So, if you don't hear from me, you know why.


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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Time for a change: from pen and ink to hands and oils.

I think it was while I was working late one night, scrutinizing a design proof for a client for the hundredth time under my desk lamp, checking all the seven-digit figures were in the right columns, that I suddenly thought to myself, what the f*ck am I doing here? Realization struck me like the strangled whine of an angry client, I was in the wrong job.

I've spent ten years working in design, advertising and communications. It's been absolutely amazing. And when I say amazing, I mean I could probably fill a blog with the number of experiences - fantastic ones and terrible ones - I've had.

And now it's time to do something else.

I'm a firm believer in doing what you love. Or, if not love, at least enjoy. Or if not enjoy, at least vaguely like. Or at the very least not doing a job that makes you want to hurl in the nearest garbage bin or put your fist through your computer screen the minute you walk in the office. And believe me - I've had jobs like that.



So, I'm taking the plunge.

I'm going back to school to study massage therapy.

For months - no, years, I've been trying to figure out what I could do that would allow me to help people directly, to do something more meaningful than simply help wealthy companies become wealthier.

It feels like jumping off the comfortable, familiar ledge, hoping the rocks below don't kill me.

But I am so, so excited and happy about it. And a bit nervous.

So if the rocks at the bottom kill me, at least I'll die happy.

My first classes are this weekend. Which means I'll spend the entire weekend in a classroom, learning about anatomy, and muscle structure and other things I've never even dreamed of.

I can't wait.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What's so flippin' interesting about the contents of my diaper bag?

Um... actually not a lot. But I'm going to share it anyway. 'Cause I'm nice like that.

I bought this diaper bag just before Oliver was born a year ago. Not because it was the most stylish one available, but because of the size and the amount of pockets. (I actually just wrote that. The shame.) And the fact that the exterior is wipeable (I've bloody had it.). I knew, with two kids in diapers, I'd be packing the kitchen sink and its contents for a simple jaunt to the store.



As I stuffed the last few things into it this morning before heading off to nursery school with the boys, I took a step back and observed the demented mass of objects causing the shiny green bag to bulge awkwardly. What the hell did I put in there? I wondered, genuinely confused.

Then, in my sleep-deprived, deranged state, I thought, oh! oh! this would make a good blog post: "what's in my diaper bag"! Yah!

Anyway. This is, apparently, what I deemed necessary to bring with me this morning for a three-hour play session.


Doesn't actually look all that bad laid out neatly on the floor... of course I left out the grungy, food-encrusted bibs, snotty tissues and half-eaten cookies.

Also, I'm snoopy, so if anyone else is stuck for a blog idea - I'd love to see what's in yours.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

The lengths I'll go to for a whole night's sleep...

I'm pretty sure my sons are too young and their communication skills too juvenile to put their heads together and formulate cunning plans, but if they weren't I'd be tempted to wonder.

Because just as our one year-old baby started sleeping through the night last week, our toddler stopped. There wasn't even one measly night of uninterrupted sleep in between the switch. Not even a hint.

You see, we have a small M.I.L.K. problem over here. We've taken to spelling the word to avoid saying it out loud, because saying it is like announcing that everyone can just skip dinner and move straight to chocolate pudding. The mere mention of the white stuff and I can practically hear the cogs of my toddler's brain ticking as he contemplates holding off on dinner in favour of his preferred meal - milk.

So, after several nights of being woken up for cow juice (while our baby slept blissfully across the hall), we decided to take a stand.

It's not as easy at it seems though - this taking a stand business. Sounds good, but really it's bloody hard.

But when, at 4 this morning I heard the familiar cry "MAMAAA? MAMAAA!", I stood firm despite the urge to hand over the milk and climb back into bed.

Thirty minutes and two more visits later, one alternative offer of water in a sippy cup rejected, no longer willing to argue about milk, I climbed into my toddler's bed. Last resort.

"Okay sweetie, time to sleep now."

"No sleep!"

In a last ditch attempt to divert his attention, I start singing.

"Edleweiss, Edelweiss, you look happy to see me. Small and white, clean and bright..."

He seems somewhat amused by this.

I finish Edelweiss and tell him "Okay now it's time to sleep. Goodnight.".

"More songs mama!"

Gawd.

"Okay. Twinkle twinkle little star...."

And then "Another song?".

"Just one more song... The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout... down came the rain... and washed the spider out... I don't know the words but I'm singing anyway... and it's five o'clock in the morning and I want to go to sleep."

"More?"

I pretend to be asleep.

"More spider song mama!"

Flip. The one flipping song I don't know the words too.

Eventually, after - no kidding - ten songs, he closes his eyes. I'm drifting off to sleep when suddenly I sense him turn to look at me.

I open one eye slowly to see him staring back at me wide-eyed and extremely awake.

"Tickle tickle!" He yells in my ear and begins tickling me. Which, of course, is hysterical at five in the morning.

This is how it went on, until about 5:30 in the morning when finally I crawled back into my bed.

In the end though, despite all the antics, he didn't get his way - no milk.

So, we're hopeful that our efforts will secure us a whole night of sleep. Soon. Maybe tonight.

IT'S BEEN A YEAR PEOPLE.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So I went to buy Munsch's Love You Forever...


Munsch's Love You Forever is one of those children's books - everyone and their aunt has it, talks about it, loves it. And it's one that I'd never owned, or even read.

So, as I was combing the shelves of the bookstore for something new for Oliver's birthday, I picked it up. Well, okay, to be honest, I sought it out. I was under the impression I was missing out on something big. Maybe I was depriving my kids of a literary work of greatness, without which, they might grow up without some vital part of their brain... or something (ridiculous).

I flipped through the book, briefly reading each page. I was instantly captivated by the story and the heart-string-pulling passages:

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."


(The mother sings these words as she rocks her baby son to sleep.)

I felt a sudden rush of excitement - the type that comes from the knowledge that the thing you're holding is exactly the right thing and that soon it's going to be yours for keeps.

I almost didn't read any more of the book and started towards the cash register, confident with my purchase.

But then I read on a few more pages...

(If you know the story, just bear with me.)

So the baby son turns into a rambunctious young boy, and then a teenage slob, and so on, and still the mother sings the words... "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always..."

Yes, yes of course she does, I nodded enthusiastically with each page, completely identifying with the mother's unwavering love for her son.

Then, the boy becomes a man and moves into his own house, and the mother climbs through his window at night and crawls across the room to check on him when he's asleep.

Bit stalkerish, but okay. And really, one day I'll probably do the same and it will all end with my son's wife calling the police in the middle of the night mistaking her husband's slightly deranged mother for a dangerous burglar.

Okay.

Then, the mother gets old and sick and asks the son to come over and see her.

At this point my smile had definitely turned to a frown and I may have looked a little bit horrified and as though I was going to burst into tears.

The mother couldn't finish the song because she was too old and sick.

So instead, the son sings the song to his mother, holding her on his lap, rocking her.

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."


I couldn't buy the book. There was no way I'd be able to make it through the book without:

a) turning into a blubbering mess every time I read it.

b) scaring the crap out of my kids that I might turn into stalker-mum when they were older.

c) having to face the subject of sickness and death with my kids who are far too young for that.

Bugger. I'm turning into such a bloody drip. I can't even buy a flippin' book.

I heading straight for that bubble home with the one "happy" TV station and the delivery slot for cupcakes and pizza.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy first birthday sweet boy

Oliver, there aren't adequate words to describe the way you are, or the way I love you. One year ago today, you materialized, bubbly, bright, alert - already searching the world for clues with your big, curious eyes.

From this tiny being, you've emerged - a playful, cheeky and extraordinarily determined soul. I genuinely cannot wait to see the person - the boy, man, you'll become.

You still love to be held in my arms, and now Daddy's too. Occasionally beside me in bed, snuggled close when sleep won't come. I wish there were more minutes in the day to simply hold you.

I've sat with you countless evenings, waiting for you to fall asleep, watching your face. God I love to watch your face. The way your features gracefully balance against each other and become so peaceful as you drift off.

Few things make my heart as happy as when I watch you and your brother figuring each other out. It doesn't always go smoothly of course, but sometimes, in a fleeting moment, you catch each others' eye and giggle, or he'll bend to kiss you, or you'll reach to touch his face.

I could never have imagined you.

I love you. Always.



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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Aliens abducted my Saturday night.

A lovely, lovely weekend. Ruined by alien guts and brains on my telly. No, not on my telly, on a movie on my telly.

But first, the lovely part: I got a massage on Saturday morning, which, apart from the bit where I screeched and squirmed like a lobster being murdered because the masseuse was inadvertently tickling me, was dreamy.

Then the loveliness continued in the afternoon with a walk through the park in the snow. And finally, a dinner of chicken kebabs, hummus, tabbouleh salad, pita and olives, during which no one cried or threw food or tried to climb down from the table.

We got the kids to bed and settled on the sofa with a vat of popcorn.

About five minutes into District 9 I realized, the loveliness was over. OVER.

Because basically, I had two choices: force myself to watch the film, or; tell J I couldn't possibly watch another second and leave the room, which would result in both of us missing it/an argument/someone being pissed off at someone, and inevitably me feeling stupid for insisting on not watching the damn thing.

Bloody aliens.

So I decided to bite my tongue and watch the damn film.

As I watched it, a stream of incohesive thoughts ran through my head...

That guy is a moron.

If that moron says the word "prawn" once more I'm going to smack him.


I think I'm going to throw up.

I'm definitely going to throw up.

I'm not sure I can make it to the bathroom in time.

Oh god his fingernail came right off.

Don't puke don't puke.

I can't stand this movie. Can't stand it can't stand it can't stand it.

What the f*ck is that alien doing?

What the f*ck are they doing to those aliens?

Intermittently during the movie I noticed I was grinding my teeth, shifting in my seat, biting my nails, holding my breath. Signs of irritation.

At the end of the movie I breathed a sigh of relief.

"Woooow."

"I loved it." Said J.

"I HATED it." I spat.

"What?"

"I HATED, HATED, HATED it."

"Why?"

"I just HATED it. I hope I never come within an inch of that film again. If I owned the DVD I would take it right now and stamp on it. I HATED it. I really detested it. I would burn it."

"But why?"

Because as I get older, I hate violence and gore. And more than the violence and gore, it's the cruelty and the way the cruelty really gets to me. Yes I am a big sissy. By the time I'm seventy I'll basically live in a bubble room with access to only "happy" TV stations and "happy" web sites. And a delivery slot for cupcakes and pizza.
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Daddy's boy.

Suddenly I'm no longer Mummy of the moment.

For the first eleven months of his life, Oliver was my baby. And by that I mean mine primarily. Unlike Matthew, our first child, Oliver's attention wasn't split between his parents so much. It was all on me. The natural closeness of mother and baby were strengthened by breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and him being strapped against my chest in a carrier for the first few months.

Then, around a month ago, he discovered Daddy. It was like a switch was flipped somewhere in his head as he suddenly found this whole other equally important person. And the transformation has been startling.

It's most noticeable when J arrives home from work. Each night the same routine ensues: Oliver catches sight of his Dad coming in the door and begins a little performance of bouncing, wiggling, flapping, crying, laughing and wailing. All at once. Basically he is beside himself. It's quite a scene. And this wild display goes on until finally J picks him up (sometimes before his coat is even off). And then, as if by magic, the face of desperation turns to sheer contentment.

You know that smug cat from Alice In Wonderland - the Cheshire Cat? That look of contentment.

Unbelievable.

I suppose I could be aghast by this. Outraged or something. My baby, with whom I've spent all this precious time, barely bats an eyelid at my presence and yet here he is flailing frantically at the sight of his Dad. I could feel redundant, or deflated. But actually, you know, I'm relieved. Pleased. Somehow the knowledge that Oliver is aware of another parent is a comfort to me. It means now the Daddy-son bonding can begin. And it feels like it's time.

So I'm no longer Mummy of the moment. But I'm okay with that.

But bloody hell, no one has ever been that pleased to see me.


Photo from cartoonstock.com

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bad weather activities 101

Nothing interesting is going on this week. It's cold, the snow is everywhere, and it's cold. Did I mention it's cold?



Too cold to go out for more than a few seconds. Too cold to be bothered with the enormous task of layering children in padded snowsuits and other ridiculous apparel.

The snow is holding me captive in my house. And being in one's house all week with two kids under three is kind of like being marooned on an exotic desert island, except instead of sun, sand and mojitos - crying, poop and Dora the explorer. In Calgary. So not really like a holiday at all.

And so, instead of going out, we've discovered ways to amuse ourselves with as little input from the television as humanly possible. We've been creative. We've been musical (okay I played the piano and sang while the kids glared at me and then leaped on me to stop me). We've been crafty. We've read countless books. We've blown words and notes through cardboard tubes.



And because I'm currently consumed by some kind of strange culinary obsession, I've been baking things I shouldn't because of their fat/sugar/butter content and stirring sauces and whipping up all kinds of things. Some of which are edible.


The 1980s called - they want their cheese straws back.


It's-a not so bad, it's-a nice-a pizza.


Still no clue where my running shoes are. Sob.


Recipes:

Cheese straws - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cheese-Straws-241167

Pizza - either make or buy pizza bases (I made very large pizza bases), spread tomato sauce on dough, spread layers of mozzarella, spinach and artichoke on top and bake for about 30 minutes at 425 degrees F. The other pizza had layers of mozzarella, sautéed mushrooms, onions and peperoni.
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Monday, January 4, 2010

Is that a baby under your sweater or did you just eat too many pies?

I promise to stop banging on about the holiday weight gain. Soon.

But really! Having kids has transformed my figure in the most peculiar way. And I'm not talking about the not-so-perky-anymore boobs, the wider hips (they are wider I tell you), or the wobbly belly. I'm referring to the way my abdomen changes when I gain a few pounds now.

It looks - I look, kind of, well, pregnant. On a side note, I hope J doesn't read this post, otherwise he'll be all "maybe you should take a pregnancy test?" and I'll be all "I don't want to. I'm not pregnant." and he'll be all "but you are looking a bit pregnant" and I'll be all "oh my god you think I'm fat! Waaah!" Etc.

But you see, I caught sight of myself in the mirror yesterday, and I swear, the way my sweater curved over my abdomen was just eerily reminiscent of a baby bump. Immediately I sucked in my stomach to do away with the protrusion. I even poked my abdomen to determine the firmness of it, in case.

What worries me is not being pregnant (I'm definitely not, by the way), but the fear that some stranger might call me on it in public. Because that is the most horrifying thing ever.

I know, because it's happened to me.

Two months after I gave birth to my first son, I was in a coffee shop with a group of ladies from my prenatal class. A woman at the next table got up to leave, and as she did, stopped to gawk at my son and the other babies.

"Awww! How beautiful!" She swooned. "And another one in the oven?" She said cheerily gesturing to my tummy.

I about died. "No." I said, shaking my head and trying not to blush.

"Oh god! Oh I'm sorry!" The woman looked almost as mortified as me. I almost felt bad for her.

So, I'm working on losing the bump fast because it's simply not cool to have strangers think, or worse - say you're pregnant when you're not. Also, let this be fair warning to all people - male and female: only if you are extremely certain - so certain you'd wager your last month's salary on it - should you ever imply a woman is pregnant.
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back to life.

It's back to real life tomorrow.

J has been home for the past ten days. And it's been good a good ten days. Having someone to share the responsibilities of house and family is an enormous weight lifted, though temporary. Plus he makes and fixes things. And, more importantly, I like spending time with him.

And as I'm sure many of you are faced with the same deal - tonight is the night before he returns to his day job. And I return to doing the house thing alone again.

This would be the part where I complain about my landed role as a mother and housewife and bemoan something about not being cut out to be a housewife and being so much more than this. But this is where I am right now. Raising my kids at home, taking care of house. The stuff I do all day is the stuff needed to keep the wheels of the family unit turning.

And really it's okay. There are good things about being at home (this is where I talk it up). I get to stay in pajamas on cold mornings or when I'm feeling unwell. I can spend my day colouring, playing with play-doh, reading books. I get to stick a movie on if I need a break.

But I've thought about not doing this. So many times.

A few months ago I interviewed for a job. It was a part-time position as a writer at a firm in town. The first interview was great. I left the kids at home with my mother-in-law, and took off filled with positivity and enthusiasm as though I were a new graduate fresh from university. I hit it off with the staff. I liked the company. I came away with my fingers crossed. A few days later they asked me back to do a writing test.

Going back there the second time was different. This time, it was like a trial run for the real thing. I got out of bed at six, showered, did my makeup and dressed. I woke the kids up, dressed and fed them, and went out to warm up the car since it was -20 degrees outside.

My toddler didn't want to go out. He lay on the kitchen floor refusing to put his boots and coat on and wailing. Finally I carried him out to the car, bawling and struggling in my arms (and he's not a small chap at 40 lbs). Then I dropped them both off, Matthew still crying, and drove to the north end of the city.

I arrived at the writing test at 9 am. Exhausted. Frazzled. Sweating. I did the test. By the time I left the building, three hours later, I'd already decided not to take the job, should they offer it to me. The thought of going through that ritual with the kids every single morning made me feel ill. And if it had been for a large (or even medium) amount of money, then maybe. Or, if it had been my dream job, then perhaps.

But nothing about it felt right. As I drove back home, I decided then and there that in 2010 I would work from home as a freelance writer. I've done it before, after all.

I'll balance looking after the kids with writing assignments during naps and in the evenings. I'll find time to get new clients. I'll get occasional babysitters to cover meetings. I'll make it work. Somehow.

Easier said than done though. And as anyone that's worked freelance knows, writing isn't necessarily always abundant or lucrative work. Finding the clients in the first place is hard. Then you must produce top quality work, stay on time and within budget, be nice, be gracious. Be perfect, nothing less.

The hard work doesn't phase me. Because this year I need something else. Without whining about the constraints of motherhood, I need to feel like I'm something other than just a mother and housewife. I need to look at something and say, oh yes, I did that. Not to mention, we could use the extra money.

So tomorrow it's back to real life. And I'm feeling somewhat nervous about this year but ready to face it.
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

My kind of balance.

The problem with consecutive days of indulging is that when you try to stop, you enter a horrid period of withdrawal. I spent most of December feasting on cookies, chocolates and cheese. And now? Every day without fail by about two in the afternoon I begin hunting around for something - anything sweet to nibble on.

Which explains why last night, when, after dinner, there were no desserts in the house, I began making crepes at around 9:30 pm. Because my sweet was tooth rearing its head.

And why, this afternoon at around 2 pm. I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

But you see, it's all about balance.

We went for a long walk with the kids...


Therefore I needed the cookies to replenish the calories I burned marching through the snow in the freezing weather.

I made a healthy bean salad to go with dinner...


Therefore I decided to make some delicious bread as well. I used my bread machine to form dough for ciabatta loaves and turned these...

..into these.


..which we dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar as an appetizer.

I have a feeling I'll be talking more about food on my blog this year. The good stuff - the simple, healthy, home-made, organic, nutritious stuff. And the bad - the sugary, carb-filled, yummy stuff. Because that's the kind of balance I like.

Now where the hell are my running shoes?

~

Recipes

Bean salad
: chop tomatoes, onion and cilantro and combine with
chick peas,
black beans and corn, add olive oil, lime juice and a dash of cumin.

Ciabatta loaves: Add 1.5 cups water, 1.5 tsp salt, 1 tbs, 1tsp sugar,
1 tbsp olive oil, 3.25 cups flour, 1.5 tsp yeast to bread machine.
Make dough, remove to surface, let rise for 15 minutes.
Divide into two ovals. Make indents in dough with floury fingers.
Let sit for 40 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes.
(Recipe from 250 Best Canadian Bread Machine Baking Recipes)

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