Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Post 901: Goodbye 2010 the short version!

I was going to do a year re-cap post but…I dunno…Somehow I’m just not feeling like it. For one thing, the year is right here on display in my archives! And for another, the ‘Andrew’s Life in 2010’ book I made gives a pretty good idea of what we’ve been up to. Let’s face it, where Andrew goes I go, so our year was pretty much the same! Aside from the rowing class I took this summer, which was the one big ‘me’ thing I did this past year (and I’m quite proud of it!)

I will say that 2010 was a great year over all. All the new things Andrew has learned – it’s truly amazing the difference a year makes. Just looking at his scrapbook, he has changed so much from the chubby little guy still getting steady on his feet to the much more grown up looking little boy he’s become, running and racing around with ease. He’s talking more, understands probably more than I’d like him to, and more and more he’s becoming his own person. It’s hard to believe that in just 3 days he will be two years old. I look forward to the many more changes we’ll go through in 2011. I have a feeling it’s going to be a big year!

Post 901: Goodbye 2010 the short version!

I was going to do a year re-cap post but…I dunno…Somehow I’m just not feeling like it. For one thing, the year is right here on display in my archives! And for another, the ‘Andrew’s Life in 2010’ book I made gives a pretty good idea of what we’ve been up to. Let’s face it, where Andrew goes I go, so our year was pretty much the same! Aside from the rowing class I took this summer, which was the one big ‘me’ thing I did this past year (and I’m quite proud of it!)

I will say that 2010 was a great year over all. All the new things Andrew has learned – it’s truly amazing the difference a year makes. Just looking at his scrapbook, he has changed so much from the chubby little guy still getting steady on his feet to the much more grown up looking little boy he’s become, running and racing around with ease. He’s talking more, understands probably more than I’d like him to, and more and more he’s becoming his own person. It’s hard to believe that in just 3 days he will be two years old. I look forward to the many more changes we’ll go through in 2011. I have a feeling it’s going to be a big year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

3 days of Christmas sans pictures (I still need to load them...)

My 900th post is my Christmas re-cap!

Andrew and I went to Nanaimo on the 21st to beat the Christmas travel rush, although as it happens I think a lot of people thought along the same lines, and as a result the 12:30pm ferry was packed. We made it though, and I was relieved to be on the island with just the drive to Victoria left to go once James met up with us. He came over the night of the 22nd and we drove to Victoria (borrowing my parents’ car) on the 23rd.

First we stopped in at some family friends of James’, ‘the 3P’s’ as they’re referred to. We had a little visit with them, which went well, although Andrew was a tad on the fussy side. Then we made our way to R&B’s (James’ dad’s house). It turned out the b-i-l and s-i-l-2b wouldn’t be there till late evening. We visited with R&B and had a yummy pasta supper. I think instead of specifics I’ll just say we had a nice time hanging out, and Andrew played with some new toy blocks that they got him for Christmas (he did some opening early!)

On Xmas Eve some of B’s family came over for dinner. Their son S was so good with Andrew, they always have fun playing together. He’s 12 and does a good job of looking after Andy for us. We still have to keep watch because sometimes he’ll get sidetracked and not really be watching what Andrew is getting up to, but it was still nice to have a bit of a ‘break’ of always having to be the one watching him. Oh, earlier in the day James and I went out to make a quick stop at the drug store, and we went for a hot chocolate (James had hot apple cider) at a little café. Which was a real treat since we so rarely get to go out just the two of us!

Xmas Eve dinner at B’s consists of meat pie, so James and I had leftover veggie pasta from the night before. Andrew seemed to be on a kick (up until yesterday) of barely eating anything at all so he didn’t have much dinner to speak of.

We hadn’t gone to R&B’s for Xmas day before so we found out that they really didn’t have any Christmas Eve traditions (other than their meat pie!) With my family, we would always watch A Christmas Carol on Xmas Eve. As it happened, it was on at midnight and I did watch a few scenes of it, but it’s hard to watch with so many commercials, not being a dvd. I ended up watching another show for a while and then went to sleep.

Soon enough, we were waking up and it was Christmas morning! Andrew’s 2nd Christmas. We told him that Santa had been to visit and he had probably left some presents for Andrew upstairs. He was pretty excited. Of course, he didn’t TOTALLY know what that was going to entail, but he seemed to have some idea. We went upstairs and he opened his stocking while everyone else got up. He had a lot of fun with the little toys and things from his stocking! He got all sorts of things, from cute little toys from the aquarium to a Grow Your Own Santa to a little bee that winds up and walks around, to bathtub crayons. And so on!

Once everyone was up and sorted, we had breakfast. D,Y, and S came over again and joined us for brekkie and prezzie opening. I was designated ‘Santa’ for handing out gifts, although I kind of gave up on it after a while because apparently I wasn’t doing it the way it is done in their house! With my family we tend to do one gift at a time and go around one at a time so everyone sees what everyone else got. I think that was the intention there too but it didn’t seem to work out that way. So I still don’t know all that some people got, but it wasn’t as chaotic as I was anticipating!

Everyone was really happy with their gifts from us, and in particular were impressed with the Andrew’s Life in 2010 scrapbook I made! I was so excited to finally see people enjoying them.

After present opening, D, Y, and S went home for a while before coming back for dinner. Andy and I had a little nap while everyone else watched a few episodes of Modern Family, which is one of the gifts we got for the b-i-l and s-i-l-2b. I love that show too, but have seen those first episodes a lot and just saw them recently so I opted for napping instead, which I think was a good idea! I enjoyed just a little time me and the boy, since as great as it was/is having other people helping out, I’m used to having a lot of time with him on my own! So we had a little cuddle nap time and I also enjoyed just watching him sleep. He is, after all, the most precious thing ever, and there’s nothing like watching your little one snooze away the afternoon!!

J&W joined us for dinner also, and it was nice to see them again. W was quite taken with the Andrew scrapbook and as soon as she started looking through it, Andrew wanted to be up on her lap showing her the pictures of his year! It was so cute, and amazing he took to her so quickly because usually he’s not quick to be on someone’s lap if he isn’t used to them. He’s met J&W a number of times, but sees them infrequently. It was really cute watching them together. Andrew also enjoyed colouring with his uncle (and aunt) quite a bit. He got a little Hulk figurine with a new toothbrush I got him on Xmas Eve after his other one fell under the bed and he was obsessed with his uncle drawing him pictures of the Incredible Hulk! He also enjoys doing a ‘muscle man’ pose, which is funny to watch (but also nerve wracking, because I used to do a Hulk pose that looked very similar when I was little, and when I was about 7 I did it on Xmas day and I ended up fainting! So hopefully he doesn’t follow in my footsteps with that…)

There was so much food at dinner, it was insane. I felt stuffed after. Lots of yummy veggies of all sorts of varieties, I even tried some sort of fennel dish for the first time ever. And B made James and I a quiche, which is our seasonal tradition there (since we’re usually there Boxing Day and for a few days after that). Since everyone else was having Christmas pudding for dessert, which has suet in it so we can’t have it, James and I just had some cookies and coffee for dessert, which was actually wonderful because it would have been waaaaay too much food otherwise!

After dinner we just hung around for a few hours all chatting and visiting. I spent some time with S and Andrew in the tv room watching Toy Story and other shows we’d brought with us. I think S was happy to get to watch movies with us, and it was nice to spend a bit more time with him and get to know a little more about him. He grew up in China, so it was interesting to hear a little about what his life was like at Andrew’s age.

After everyone left, I got Andrew into bed and read him his Toy Story book that he got from Santa for Christmas. He loves it! It’s basically a short book that recaps the movie, and I read it probably 6 or 7 times before he went to sleep!

I forgot to mention what he (and we) got for Xmas. Andrew got crayons and stickers and the blocks I mentioned earlier. He also got a Mr. Potato Head from Santa, which he LOVES, and a laptop for 2 year olds from me and James! He was pretty thrilled with everything. This was just the beginning in a way, since he also had lots of prezzies waiting for him in Nanaimo!

Anyway, I had already got my Xmas gift from James (my new laptop) a few weeks ago, but from Andy I got a Body Shop set of stuff of one of my favourite scents, White Musk. From Andy, James got a year subscription to MacLean’s magazine. I got him a new razor, a certificate for a hair cut (a Groupon, actually) and the coolest gift of all – an ‘experience’ – ‘flying a Boeing 737’!! It’s a Flight Simulator that’s in Vancouver, and basically it will seem as though he’s in a real 737 and he’ll learn how to fly it and simulate taking off from the Vancouver airport, flying around, and landing! I’ve been so excited to give him that because I KNEW he would love it, and of course he did!

From R&B I got a nice scarf/mitts/toque from The Gap which is soooo nice and James got a nice sweater. We got homemade granola from N&M, which they did up all professionally with their own label, it looks store bought and I think they should set up a booth in the summer markets with it.

On Boxing Day morning we said our goodbyes and after a short visit with James’ half sister and her boyfriend, (E got Andrew a really cute suit for Xmas/bday!) we headed back to Nanaimo to have Xmas with my side of the family.

We had a low-key day yesterday, had lots of yummy nibblies and opened presents. I got a gift certificate for Reitman’s, new jammies, money, and lots of other cool things. Andrew really cleaned up, he got a train set, lots of Wiggles toys, clothes, Santa from our house brought him a Molly doll (from Big Comfy Couch and he was THRILLED to get her!), and tons of other stuff. Some will come home with us but some will stay here at my parents’. I was so excited to give my parents the book of Andrew’s year (which they loved) and among other things, an ice crusher for my mom! She LOVES ice and we’ve already all made good use of the crusher!!

Today (the 27th) we hung around for the morning, then I got things sorted and made food for dinner and we had my grandma over for another Xmas dinner. James and I even made a tofurky roast for the two of us =) Yum! And ‘Condo Santa’ (meaning Santa took it to GG’s condo to bring over) brought Andrew BUZZ LIGHTYEAR!!! It was what he asked Santa for when we saw him at the mall earlier this month, so he couldn’t believe his eyes when he was opening THE Buzz Lightyear…They’ve been inseparable ever since, he even fell asleep in his swing before dinner holding onto Buzz! He’s in the swing again now and will hopefully be asleep soon for the night.

All in all it was a great Christmas. I just can’t believe it’s over already! All that build up and it goes by so fast.

Now it’s time to just chill for a couple of days before we head back to Vancouver and it’s time to prepare for Andy’s second birthday party…

Friday, December 24, 2010

On the Eve of Christmas day

It’s just past 3pm on Christmas Eve. I can’t believe it, just a few more HOURS and Santa will be making his rounds!

James and Andrew are snoozing beside me on the pull out bed at James’ dad’s house. I just woke up from a short nap myself. Much needed and appreciated! It’s generally not easy (read: impossible) to ‘tell’ Andrew to go to sleep, but he was soooo tired so we brought him down to the bed (along with a bunch of wrestler toys he ‘borrowed’ from his Uncle M’s childhood!) James basically went to sleep shortly after we got tucked in (ahh, dad’s – lol) so I did some coaxing to get Andy to rest. First I tucked all the wrestlers into the blanket beside me, then I gave Andrew tickles on his back and arms, rubbed his feet and legs. He was a little restless and I wasn’t sure if I’d be successful at getting him to nap, but then I whispered, ‘It’s Christmas Eve, Andrew. That means Santa’s going to be here tonight!’ and he whispered back, ‘Yeah!’ I said, ‘So we’d better have a sleep now, and then when we wake up for supper we’ll be closer to when Santa comes!’ He seemed to think that was logical enough, and so with a little more tickles he closed his eyes. Ahhhhh! =)

There are a lot of stressful things going on right now, and I really mean a lot. Things in my family, things in James’ family, James’ job stability is even in question. I don’t know what 2011 has in store, but I do have a feeling it is going to take effort on all fronts to come out on top. I still want to look forward to what the new year will bring, though. It’s unfortunate so many things had to happen at once and all in December, but I guess sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

Regardless, I’m grateful for what we have right now, and definitely extremely in love with my two boys beside me. And focusing on the ‘now’ is important, and it’s Xmas Eve!! It’s Andrew’s 2nd Christmas tomorrow, and he’s going to be over the moon with excitement. I really don’t think he’s going to believe it when it comes time to opening presents and spending time with everyone. It’s going to be a big day!
Merry Christmas everyone!!!!! xo

Monday, December 20, 2010

A bit of rambling is all this is

We’re heading to the island soon so I spent the better part of today trying to prepare for that. Packing, doing chores, trying to get things in order before we leave. I won’t be here for 9 days, which feels like a lot. I think things like, what if I forget something? Of course it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but I like to be organized.

I (with Andrew’s help!) even put a bunch of our Christmas decorations away today! I know, ridiculous right. I put them out extra early this year though, so we’ve enjoyed them for several weeks already. I just thought when we get back it’s going to be such a whirlwind of preparing for Andrew’s birthday party, so it’d be nice to not have the xmas décor to deal with. I do still have our tree out and some lights up and that stuff will stay till January 1st.

I love how Andrew likes to ‘help’ me clean and organize. He’s so used to me doing that stuff regularly that he gets into it and likes to have a cloth to do some dusting. He will look at me and say, ‘Ceaning!’ which, of course, means ‘Cleaning!’

He came up to me many times today and just gave me kisses or a hug. Sooo cute! There truly is nothing better than having a little one give you affections of their own accord! I love my little guy so much.

I really can’t believe Christmas is in 5 days. How did the time go so fast this year?

OK total change of topic here…I want to warn you of Tiger Balm! I put some on my temples a little less than a week ago because I had a terrible headache and the migraine pills weren’t working. As soon as it was on my temples, I said to James, ‘It feels like it’s burning into my face!’ I thought it was the sensation it’s supposed to give though, so I didn’t wipe it off. I’ve used it many times in the past and have never had a problem with it. But, as it happens, it really WAS burning into my face. It turned really red and basically looked like a rather unattractive birthmark on the side of my face (Awesome!) It’s starting to heal but it’s still pretty bad and as of today it’s peeling like crazy. I was a little disturbed by the whole thing. I thought that’s what Tiger Balm was for, but now I’ll be hesitant to use it again.

Anyhoo…I’m just rambling. So much on my mind but I don’t really know where to start, so I think instead I’ll go have a bubble bath while Daddy tries to get the boy to go night night!! He needed a nap a few hours ago but I kept distracting him with toys and things to make him stay awake. I really miss the time in the afternoon to have to myself, whether I use it to do chores or just sit and relax for 5 minutes, or have a nap too. But I have to be honest, I actually do prefer he goes to bed early than naps in the afternoon, and if he naps it’s pretty well a guarantee he’ll be up really late (close to midnight or 1am).

He actually slept right through the night last night from just after 11pm till 6:30am. But do you think I got a good night’s sleep?? Nope! Because I’m sooo used to him coming to our bed in the night, I woke up at 2:30, 3, 4:30 and so on till he eventually DID come to our bed, after which time he hogged my side and ripped my hair out so I barely slept another wink till it was time to get up! I just can’t win!! But I like his new little routine now – after James leaves for work, he goes and gets his ‘lellow’ (yellow) Toy Story sticker book, brings it to the bed, and goes through it for a good half hour (this morning I managed to keep him there for a whole hour!!) He of course wants me to be going through it with him and I am, to some degree, if you can count blankets up practically over my head muttering, ‘Yep, that’s Buzz!’ and so on as I half-doze back to sleep!!!!! It works for a while…but once he realizes I’m barely paying attention, he starts poking at my eyes to make me open them, or pulls at my chin to get me to look up! And so the day begins =)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Doom and gloom...

I’m having a hard time compartmentalizing the issues surrounding me at the moment. This stuff has been going on for years, but every so often it seems as though it’s going to come to a head. Then it doesn’t, or the looming threat of it eventually happening just sits there, no, hangs like a very heavy cloud over our heads.

I worry constantly, for valid reasons, though it really doesn’t, or at the very least shouldn’t, have to be this way. I am tired of it. I am tired of this fretfulness, of the doom and gloom, of feeling like it’s a hopeless cause when I want nothing more than for it to change for the better. So we can all be happy. So there doesn’t always have to be that white elephant in the moon.

I have begun to feel some amount of resentment, which in turn causes me more sadness with a good ol’ dose of guilt, because I don’t want to feel resentful. I don’t want there to be anger rising. I want to be understanding and compassionate and I do remind myself that it’s not this person’s fault. Patterns are hard to break. There are obstacles. I get that. And I want to be patient but sometimes I feel as though my patience is running thin.

It’s not fair what this does to other people, and even though this person has personal demons and that must go acknowledged, it should also be clear to them that their demons transfer to those around them, to those who love them. But their head is so foggy that ‘clear’ is not a term recognized. This has become obvious, probably over the past few years but more so in recent months.

It isn’t fair the way it affects me, and I know that sounds selfish but I see it as true. I feel really, really sad given how close we’ve always been, that it has come to this. It’s tragic, really. I feel like I’m going to wind up lost as a result of this. I don’t want that to happen, but I don’t foresee any of what’s to come as being remotely good if things don’t change in a major way. Sadly, I’m beginning to really lose hope that ‘change for the better’ is even in this person’s vocabulary. I honestly am beginning to let my doubts get the better of me. Which of course only makes me sadder.

I have Andrew to focus on and I don’t have a choice but to focus on him. And that is a very good thing. It can be difficult, I won’t lie. When you’re sleep deprived and exhausted just naturally, having a dark cloud hanging can be rough, and it sometimes causes me to become short-fused. Throw a screaming toddler into the mix, one who is attached to his Momma’s hip and gets most upset when said Momma doesn’t give him 110% of her attention, well it can be a challenge to keep my cool. And probably sometimes when I should, I don’t. And perhaps that is one reason of several for why I am getting this resentment feeling. Because when I could and should be simply enjoying my time with my son, my son who is growing fast and will only be this age for a blink of an eye as so many people tell me, I am instead wallowing in someone else’s despair. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

I’m just having a hard time compartmentalizing. Sometimes I’m able to do it, I’m not in the depths of despair myself. I do have positive happy times and am grateful for those. And even though occasionally I might blow a small gasket over something that shouldn’t really cause such a harsh reaction, most of the time I’m pretty level headed and enjoy the time I get to spend with my little guy, and for that matter with my husband. And other people, too, of course! It’s just that this one person’s anxieties and difficulties are hard not to transfer to me to some degree. I’m struggling with it, you could say. It’s out of my hands and I know I can’t make the changes for this person that so desperately need to be made. I have done all I can, or have I? If something should happen, would I in part blame myself for perhaps not saying or doing all that I could have? I know there are things I could say right now that would be a lot harsher and a lot more to the point, rather than beating around the bush to save hurt feelings from being had. But on the other hand, if you create a big pile of hurt for an extremely depressed person, don’t you just add insult to their injury? I sometimes hold my tongue for fear of the reaction, because I worry that I might make matters worse where it seems like that’s impossible, should I say or do certain things.

I know I can only take care of myself. And it would be easy to tell me to back off or go with the flow or not let it get the better of me. But it’s so much harder in practice.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Christmas shindig of sorts...and other stories

We’re having my bro and sis in law over for a pre-Christmas shindig. We aren’t going to see them till after xmas otherwise, so it makes sense to have a little get-together before the big event.

I’m making a yummy artichoke dip from a family recipe and I’m even going to cut out a sourdough bread and put the dip in the ‘bread bowl’. I’ve also got a veggie platter on the ready, and some frozen appy’s to cook up. It’s all fairly simple but will come together to make for great party food! I also got some yummy dessert items. I’ve already got the table ‘partially ready’ so there’s not much to be done once the guests arrive! We’re only having 2 people over, I know, and it’ll be totally casual, but still I feel like we’ve barely entertained at all this season so I wanted to do SOMETHING for it. We’ve tried to get people over but everyone always seems to busy and sob-sob everything else seems to take priority over us. OK maybe I am being dramatic but sometimes I feel like we put in all the effort to make get-togethers actually happen. And one couple in particular who shall remain nameless are kind of annoying about it because they have a tendency to back out at the very last minute – which is NOT cool when it happens JUST AS YOU GET HOME FROM A GROCERY SHOP BUYING FOOD YOU WOULDN’T ACTUALLY GET IN UNLESS YOU WERE HAVING PEOPLE OVER. Some people, seriously.

I am actually really, REALLY annoyed by how some people are when it comes to getting together or just conversing in general. There are people I’m sure in all of our lives that make us angry due to their total lack of thought for others. What is WRONG with these individuals? I’m sick of all the excuses and I’m tired of feeling like we have to cater to them but it would never in a million years work the other way.

But anyway, it’s Christmas, so I shouldn’t be focused on the frustrations of those around me. Or, maybe that’s WHY I am! Ha.

Anyway…despite all that, I actually AM happy my bro and sis in law are coming over tonight! It should be fun, we haven’t had a visit with them really since their wedding and that was in early November, so we’re about due for one I’d say.

Another issue I’m having is the age old one of me complaining about how small our place is and how we have to move within the next few months. Only now it really feels like crunch time, in the early new year I know I am going to start obsessing over finding a new place to live. The reality is that I love this area and don’t want to move far away because I’ll miss being here and also because I hate the thought of James having a long commute to and from work. But the other reality is that we can’t afford a bigger space (with in suite laundry, which is a must have now we’ve decided) in this area so we have to leave. I look on Craigslist almost daily to check if there’s anything even remotely decent, in our price range, not toooo far. I seriously want to cry looking at some of the listings, even just at the thought of ANYONE living there. If it was the last place on earth I would choose to live under a bridge before I’d take it, that’s how bad some of the places are out there. It’s depressing. And I think we’ll have a harder time finding a place this time because we really DO have to think longer-term and not move again in just a couple of years – and it’s already harder to find a place that accepts cats, let alone families with small children since obviously there’s a certain level of noise from little ones that can’t be controlled.


But we’ll wait and worry about that in the new year, so I guess I’ve got a couple of weeks left to shove it to the back of my mind!

So much happening over the next very short while, heading to the island in a few days, Christmas, then back here for Andrew’s birthday party on New Year’s Eve. It’s a whirlwind, and then we wake up and another year has gone by…and a whole new one has just begun!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Having fun

Andrew fell asleep at 7:30 tonight…That should make for an interesting night or extremely early morning tomorrow! I’m sooo hopeful he’s going to have a ‘good’ day tomorrow – as in easy to deal with – because James is going to a party in the evening and it’ll make a long day even longer if he’s fussy. I worry because today he had an off day and was a bit harder to manage than most days. Or maybe I was just extra tired – or both!!

(For the record, I was also invited to said party, but declined going because 1 I don’t know who we’d get to babysit, truthfully and 2 it’s a ‘scotch tasting party’ and I detest scotch. I can’t fathom sitting in a room full of people sipping a drink I hate, having to smell it for hours? Not my idea of a night out!! So Friday night in with the boy it is!

Even though he’s uber exhausting to his Momma (Trista – you’ll laugh at this…Remember how I was going on about how awesome it is that he’s not bugging at the plant I have on a low table…well, today he saw me water it and now if he has a cup of something he wants to put whatever it is into the plant…So I’m thinking it might be moved back to a top shelf somewhere again for a while – we’ll see!!) we’ve been having a lot of fun lately.

There are still lots of activities that aren’t appropriate for his age group and I sometimes find myself really having to resist certain things. A small example would be certain types of art projects, letting him colour with my ‘good’ crayons that would definitely stain furniture or the walls if he used them on there. I have to remind myself that all in good time he will have a blast doing all sorts of things! But yesterday we got some easily-washable paints out (actually they’re little packets we got when he was teensy tiny from The Bay that have a little wet wipe thing inside that is ‘painted’ blue, so it wipes off really easily) and we did hand and foot prints on paper. After one foot print he looked up at me, smiled, and said, ‘Cool!’ I love seeing him enjoy things like that. Afterwards, because he had the paint on his hands and feet, I put some warm water in the ‘sink’ in his little Ikea kitchen, and he sat on there and dipped his hands and feet in the water. Yes, it made a mess of water everywhere, but wiping it up cleaned the floor so it wasn’t so bad!

His obsession right now is stickers. He has 2 Toy Story sticker books – they’re both the same but both extremely well used! – and he has another sticker book with 1000 stickers in it that is supposed to help teach him about colours and animals and all sorts of different things. He amazes me by picking out stickers to place on the appropriate page, pointing to it and saying the name of whatever it is before I can even ask. The pages where you put the stickers has a shadow of the shape of whatever sticker goes in each spot, and he is pretty good at looking a page over and placing it in the correct space.

This morning I was cleaning out the wardrobe/shelf thing beside the tv unit and I came across a bunch of our photo albums. Most of them are Andrew-centered (of course!) but one was pictures from my childhood. I went through it with him and he loved it! I thought it was extremely adorable when I’d say, ‘Who’s that?’ and he’d reply, ‘Tattoo!’ (which in his words means Andrew!) and it was actually ME as a little one! It really is amazing in some of the pictures, the resemblance between him and I. There are pictures of me when I was right around his age where our faces look almost identical – the difference being that I had longer hair with being a girl, and also I was VERY roly poly, and he’s not!

He got the hang of who was who and after a few pictures would point and say my brother’s name and mine (since we were often in pictures together!) It was really cute. He also saw Gramma and Grampa and GG when they were younger. And I showed him a picture of my grandpa and my great-grandma, two people that I told him would have loved him soooo much and would have been so proud to know him. There were also some pictures of Tessa as a pup and he was saying her name. I asked him where she went and he said, ‘Sleep. Gone.’ It made me tear up because I’ve been thinking about her lately and missing her, I really long to give her pets and kisses. It’s hard to believe it has been 6 months since she passed away. I like that Andrew remembers her though, and I will keep her memory alive by telling him stories about her and showing him the pictures I have!

I love how we can communicate more and he understands so much. He definitely has his moments, but all in all he’s a delight!

An anniversary of sorts

Today marks 5 years since James proposed to me!

Here is the blog post (which is not on this blog since I re-started everything a few years ago) I wrote the day after the proposal, for memory’s sake:

Could my life get any better? I’m honestly thinking it’s not even possible. It’s 7:32am on Saturday, December 17, 2005 and I am wide awake and ready to begin the day. OK, maybe a little tired seeing as how I only got about 5 hours sleep last night, after drinking a ton of alcohol yesterday from 3pm onward…BUT I feel GREAT!

Let’s just get down to the nitty gritty shall we? Well first of all, I was on a natural high just from doing so freaking well (or at least feeling like I did so freaking well) on my final exam yesterday. So all seemed well in my world. We got all dressed up and made our way downtown and went to Salathai on Burrard, the greatest Thai restaurant that we know of. It’s got a very beautiful and romantic atmosphere, the service is excellent (though I have to admit, while it was busy last night, there was no excuse for the rather lame service, but anyway…first time I’ve ever felt that way in the 15 times or so we’ve been there!) Anyway, we were doing the whole ‘fine dining’ thing where you order a drink and appy’s…then another drink and a few more dishes…and it was in between dishes and drinks that it happened…
Jet PROPOSED! So now we’re officially engaged to be married, and I’m still letting it all sink in that it’s real. We were sitting there talking and staring into each other’s eyes when he says he has a present for me. It was all beautifully wrapped with a pretty little gold bow and ribbon. Yet I totally did NOT clue in that it would be a ring inside the box! I was pretty sure it was a jewelry item but I just didn’t think it was a ring for some reason. So I opened it up and there’s this beautiful ring of white gold with 5 diamonds. I’m staring at it and Jet takes my hands in his and he starts telling me how over the 7 years we’ve been together I’ve continually showed him what a great person I am and he loves me so much and wants more than anything for me to be his wife and for us to spend our lives together. I am in shock, and jokingly say, “Well, I’ll have to think about it” but then of COURSE I said YES! It was wonderful, and very romantic. OK so he did not get down on one knee but he is going to do that as well (I’m glad he didn’t in the restaurant, it would have been quite a spectacle!) He says the ring he got me is a ‘promise’ ring with the intention of us going out together to pick out ‘the’ ring as he wanted me to have some say in what I got. While part of me likes the idea of us shopping around for it etc, there is part of me that just loves the ring he picked out as the ‘promise’ and I don’t really see the need in getting another ring and spending tons of money on a rock I seriously doubt I would want to wear much (I am horrible for snagging things). So I don’t know what to do about that just yet…But we’ll see how it goes.

For now I am seriously basking in the glory that we’re officially engaged and last night was truly magical…’cept I couldn’t eat hardly a thing after ‘it’ happened. I was way too wrought up and instead had a mai tai and then we went to a cool lounge and had another drink and then a B52 coffee before heading home. The whole night was super romantic and perfect and I’m soooooo happy and I feel like the luckiest woman alive.

And I miraculously, despite drinking alcohol consistently and no water till we got home and went to bed, did not get sick (knock on wood!) and when I got up a little while ago and turned on the computer, I thought why not just check gosfu to see if any of my grades happen to be in and I ended up with an A- in my school violence/bullying class, so things just keep going so perfectly and I feel amazing. I am starting to get used to everything being perfect though, so hopefully the rest of the day and the weekend and the week and my life continue on this way. Right now, it honestly feels like nothing could possibly go wrong.

I am one lucky gal!!!

I must say, while every day isn’t necessarily peachy keen, I do have a wonderful life, and I’m so glad I’m spending it with James, and of course Andrew. Everything we’ve ever done led us toward having Andrew so I can’t have a single regret in my life!

And for the record, later that day of writing that post, we went out to Ben Moss and I picked out a gorgeous engagement ring with 3 large diamonds and 3 smaller ones on each side of the bigger ones and I have not once snagged it and I enjoy its sparkles all the time. It has paid for itself tenfold with my enjoyment of it, and I wear the ‘promise’ ring on my other hand =) Tee hee.

And seriously – out on the town, drinking up a storm, thinking it’s insane that I’m able to function after only 5 hours sleep?! Oh, to be a kid again!!! LOL

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's snowing in my head

I feel so fortunate to have such a patient husband who is more than willing to grant me the wish of ‘me time’ in order for me to stay sane. This should perhaps be something I think nothing of, because OF COURSE I should be allotted ‘me time’ – as should he (and he is!) But I have friends whose husbands are anything but kind when it comes to their need for alone time. So I thank my lucky stars I have the husband that I do! (Then again, there’s no way I’d have married him if he had proven himself to be totally self-serving and a-hole-ish about me having a little down time!)

It’s so hard to clear my head sometimes. Especially when a lot stuff is going on that stresses me out. Usually whatever’s happening I can push to the back of my mind or somehow look at and say ‘It will all work out’ but this time…Let’s just say I’ve had moments where I just go and lay on the bed and I feel miserable. I can think in my mind of a crapload of things I need to get done, but my mind says ‘Who cares’ and I just continue to lay there. That is SO not like me. Not that I don’t enjoy lounging because probably a lot of people would look at my life and think I’m a total couch potato! But I do like to putter, and if anything, cleaning and organizing and DOING SOMETHING takes my mind off negative things so I can think a bit more clearly again. But the past few days, almost week, I’ve just felt really lethargic.

No one is dying, or at least hopefully not – although stress and severe depression DO kill people, so of course there is always that constant worry. It’s a complicated, messy story and I don’t want to get into it here. Maybe one day I’ll write about it. But right now it’s too fresh and it’s still happening and things are so up in the air, which is always something I hate.

It sucks when something lame-o happens right at Christmas time. I was SO excited about xmas and felt totally into the spirit, I really did feel all giddy about it and that feeling started in NOVEMBER for me this year, which is unheard of! I’m still excited, I mean let’s face it – Andrew is going to make Christmas special no matter what. He is going to be over-stimulated for sure, and we’re guaranteed a few tantrums I’d say, because he won’t be able to handle THAT MUCH going on all at once! But he’s also going to be delighted, and I can hardly wait to see how he entertains everyone.

Anyway, I do still have some Christmas spirit in me. I think I’m just afraid of certain things. Worried about what the not so distant future holds, and concerned about what the worst case scenario is going to do to the family. I’ll leave it at that, but suffice it to say I just feel this intense weight on my shoulders even though ultimately it’s all out of my hands.

Hopefully it all works out for the best.

Anyway…I am going to go now to help Andrew write a letter to Santa Claus! We’re a little late sending it but I only heard about it tonight on the news – I had no idea that for years this has been going on! Santa has helpers who will answer children’s letters to Santa and even no postage is required! I thought it would be a cute keepsake for the boy. He is with his dad right now drawing a picture for Santa inside the card that I will write in for him. How cute will that be?! Andrew’s first Letter to Santy Claus!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A fun age

Andrew is content (for now) watching Toy Story 2.

I’m loving him at this age! He’s so much fun. He’s a trouble maker at times, but James and I – on a date yesterday – were talking about how (knock on wood!) he really isn’t as mischievous as we’d think he’d be given his personality!
He’s talking a lot more. If he wants a sip of a drink I’m having or wants something in general, I’ve got him saying, ‘Please Mommy dearest!’ LOL It comes out more like ‘Peese Mommy deest!’ but pretty good right! He’s starting to sometimes say the word of what he’s wanting too – the other night in Nanaimo, my dad came home and he wanted a fire put in the fireplace so he said to my dad, ‘Peese Papa, fire!’ Sometimes (a lot of times) he just comes out with a word or will know something and we just can’t believe he knows it, or wonder how he learned it because we didn’t actually teach him!
There are challenges at every stage of a child’s development, I have come to realize. Just like at all stages of adulthood I suppose! So it’s only natural. But from a parent’s perspective, I think the challenge is that as soon as you get used to one thing, they change and there’s a whole new pattern to form, and then once that one seems solidified, they mix things up again! You do get used to it over time, I just find it interesting how it all happens.

Andrew still comes to our bed each night, and lately has become a total pillow hog. James and I agree that while we’d both sleep better if Andy just slept in his own bed through the night, we know it’s only a matter of time before he never wants to sleep in our bed again. So we’re not stressing over it. He slept pretty great in his crib, but transitioned to a toddler bed too early. There’s nothing we could do about that! But while I wouldn’t mind being a little more comfy in bed with room to move around, I love having my boy there to cuddle up to. I love knowing we’re all there together, the whole family (well, minus the cats through the night – they proved themselves incapable of being in the bedroom at night time! – and not just to me, to James too!)

I like that at this stage, Andrew is more content to watch one of his movies (at least in part) without me having to sit with him (although as I write this he’s wedged up right beside me – but still OK with me using the computer while he watches his show!) He is still my little cling-on Momma’s boy, no mistake about it! But there’s a certain level of ‘freedom’ in being able to leave the room for a minute or two without worrying what he might get up to. Which is also about him, not so much his age. A friend of mine has a boy who’s a week younger than Andrew, and the other day he stuck dish cloths and a few toys into the oven when it was preheating to 400! Needless to say there was a fire…Yikes! Obviously I’m very cautious of what he’s up to, and the one good thing about living in such a small space (besides not as much to clean) is that I can hear Andrew no matter where I am in our place, so if he’s ‘too quiet’ I can check on him and I can usually tell if he’s up to something! And, realistically, we’re usually in the same room anyway!

I really need to go back to jotting things down as they happen because there are so many cute things Andrew says or does and I want to remember when they’re all happening. It’s just hard to find the time sometimes, which is OK I guess because it means we’re living in the moment, which isn’t such a bad thing!

There have been some really (and I mean really) stressful things going on within my family, coming to a head this past week (not having to do with the mil, this stuff is in my own family) and I’m feeling fairly glum about it all. It’s especially hard with the holidays and wanting to just focus on the happy, jolly things but not totally being able to focus because of the blah stuff. So it’s great having the boy to focus on, he forces me to remain stable and have fun!

I just can’t believe that my ‘baby boy’ isn’t a baby anymore. He turns TWO in 18 days. In just over TWO WEEKS my little guy will be TWO YEARS OLD. It boggles my mind how fast time goes. But we’re enjoying every minute, well, most of them anyway!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I want to hire a nanny for when we travel...

Travelling to the island today was, to quote Richard Lewis (haha), ‘the trip from hell.’ It may have been the worst trip we’ve ever had together, although I suppose there have been some other bad ones, if I really think about it.

I even gave Andrew a bit of infant Gravol for the trip, hoping he would nap and not be too demanding. Not something I do every time we travel, but given I was only taking the small stroller and had a lot of stuff to carry along with it, I didn’t want him to be too ‘difficult.’

I think I was really banking on the fact that Gravol is SUPPOSED to cause drowsiness. I guess I had pushed to the back of my mind that little disclaimer on the packaging that says ‘excitability’ is another possible side effect.

Wouldn’t you know that my little boy, the one who pretty much hates to sleep and ALWAYS fights it to the end, would get the excitability side effect and not the drowsy one. Just my luck, right?!

On the bus he was distracted by this little sticker book I got him. He enjoyed it, but then he remembered his Toy Story sticker book and then suddenly he desperately wanted it. I should have known to bring it with us, given he generally stuffs it in the back of the big stroller even when we’re just going to Safeway or Shoppers Drug Mart. Because you just never know when you might want to move stickers around and talk about Buzz Lightyear or Woody or Jessie or Rex or…etc etc.

He kept going on about it and I was kicking myself for giving him this new ‘little’ sticker book and not bringing his giant Toy Story one.

Then he forgot about it and I distracted him in the ferry waiting area talking about who we were going to see. He wanted to get down and walk around and I thought that might help burn some energy so he might sleep.

But before I knew it, he was running over to a little boy, probably about 14 months-ish and when he got up to him he kicked him and then started pulling his hair.

Which I KNOW is totally horrendous behaviour. What would compel anyone to do that, I don’t know. Except for the way his grandma reacted, because it gave me the urge to kick HER (although of course I didn’t!)

Look, I know it’s not OK for my kid to bully other children. I get that it appears he’s being mean because the boy was just standing there and he just ran up and hurt him. But it’s not deliberate in the way it is when older kids or adults hurt each other, because he really DOESN’T fully grasp the concept yet of pain and hurting others. I am teaching him. And he is getting better, I swear! Most days now I can take him places with other kids and he plays really well, like 97% awesomely. So I know he’s not just some malicious little dink who can’t ever be around other kids, he just has his moments like most kids do at some time or another.

Well this grandmother, I tell ya. She FREAKED. She caused such a scene that literally EVERYONE in the entire waiting area was turning to look at what all the commotion was. The little boy didn’t react at all, which tells me he wasn’t actually hurt. Obviously my plan was to let Andrew knew how it wasn’t OK to be mean like that (and afterwards you better believe I was talking to him about it). But the grandmother’s insane reaction just made me both angry and really upset, and then I didn’t even know what to say. I got kind of pissed off with her and let her know that she was overreacting. I said it’s not OK what he did and I’m sorry for it, but seriously – ALL KIDS DO THIS. It’s normal. You don’t have to SCREAM IN HIS FACE OVER AND OVER AND TRY TO SHOVE HIM AWAY. That’s not helping! Because now we’re all freaked out and it’s not because of what Andrew did, it’s because of her ridiculous response.

I really hate people sometimes. That event just ruined the whole trip, I was feeling like total crap after that episode. Obviously I was disappointed that Andrew couldn’t contain himself, but I also just felt really pissed off by the way that woman treated us afterward. Andrew gets bullied too from time to time, although he’s not afraid to stand up for himself…But if someone pulls his hair or hits him or whatever, I don’t blow a gasket because I UNDERSTAND. This woman needs to get her head checked if she thinks this sort of thing is never going to happen again, or heaven forbid at the hands of HER grandson.

ANYWAY. So we got on the ferry and by this time Andrew already knew he had done something wrong and I told him there was no way we were going to the kids play area because he blew it for himself. We did, however, after a little while, go to the gift shop and I got him a new Toy Story sticker book. No, it was not a ‘reward’ for his bad behaviour, and I don’t think he took it as such as he’s still talking about what he did wrong to that little boy. But I got it because he practically sleeps with his TS sticker book at home, so it was really stupid of me to not bring it with us on this trip. Now he has a new one so he can maybe have one here and one at home.

He was totally happy with that for a while, but unfortunately he had also caught sight at the store of one of those magic pen books where you write on the page with the magic pen and it reveals a message or what have you. It was of course a Toy Story one and he WANTED IT. But whereas I KNOW the sticker book will pay for itself in no time because he LOVES it, this other book is for slightly older kids and wouldn’t entertain him nearly as much and it was $7. So I refused to buy it.

And this caused a major meltdown for the boy. He kept screaming, ‘Shop! Buzz! SHOP BUUUUZZZZZ!’ which luckily no one else would have understood because of the way he says it…but I knew what he was getting at. TAKE ME BACK TO THE GOD DAMN STORE RIGHT THIS MINUTE AND BUY ME THAT BUZZ LIGHTYEAR BOOK BEFORE I KILL YOU. I swear I’m not exaggerating! He was MAD!

Would you like to welcome us to the ‘terrible twos’ now or shall we wait a few weeks till it’s official?!

I didn’t give in as obviously that would majorly send the wrong message. Instead, I had to take him outside even tho it was cold because his tantrums were getting louder and louder and I hated the evil glares I was getting from the people we were sitting near. Like as if THEY never had a tantrum at his age.

For the most part, I generally do find people fairly accommodating and understanding about what it’s like having a toddler. But other times, like today, I hate the way a lot of people make me feel like I’m somehow to blame. Like I am a shitty mother and it’s no wonder he is the way he is. Like I have no control over him whatsoever.

People need to understand that we ALL have off days and we ALL have tantrums – even as adults we have tantrums, maybe in different ways than a toddler but we do have them! So don’t look down at me as if there’s something wrong with us. This stuff happens.

It just makes for a verrrrry long travel experience, and a rather depressing one at that. So needless to say I’m feeling fairly glum at the moment. I just can’t seem to shake the blahs. And I’m beginning to wonder if maybe Andrew SHOULD be an only child. I can’t for the life of me imagine travelling with him on an off-day and having a younger one who could just as well be having an off-day. Just the thought of it makes me want to run and hide!

Anyway. We’re travelling back with my mom in a few days…in her CAR…which means if I’m lucky, Andrew will be content to stay in the car for the duration of the trip and I can avoid catastrophe. Here’s hoping!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

This post marks 10 away from 900!

I don’t post pictures nearly often enough these days. I mean to, but it always seems like such a chore to get the pics loaded onto my computer from my camera – probably because I take waaay too many of them. It had been a couple of weeks since I’d taken pics off my camera to my computer and when I did last night I saw that I had almost 600 pictures to go through. Ridiculous!
Anyway…Lots has been going on, but at the same time it’s the usual. Going about our normal every day, but with the whole holiday thing intermixed. Its been a lot of fun introducing Andy to Christmas-y things. Last year he was a few days from turning one, so while he got a little bit excited over things, for the most part he didn’t quite get it. This year he’s much more excited by it all!
For example, this is Andrew at the Santa Claus Parade last year:
And this year:
Yes, last year he fell asleep just as the police were going by on their motorcycles. Which is always the very first thing in a parade (at least around here) so…we were curious how he’d react this year.
Well, he absolutely LOVED it! He spent the majority of the parade on his dad’s shoulders, so he had the best possible view. When marching bands went by, he would say, ‘March, march!’ and when he saw people playing drums, he would drum on his chest to the same beat. He loved seeing giant snowmen, gingerbread men, reindeer, and of course Santa. He kept saying, ‘More, More!’ when it was over.
It did get very cold standing in one spot for an hour or so, but it was totally worth it. It was so much fun!
It was James and my 12 year anniversary on Sunday, too. Twelve years since our first kiss, and it sealed the deal for life =) (and beyond - yup, that man is stuck with me for all eternity!!) It’s true what I said on facebook about it – I can’t believe its been 12 years, but on the other hand, how did I ever live without my wonderful husband? I can’t believe I was ever without him! But, I never really was, because I knew deep down fate would bring us together! (And no, he doesn’t read my blog, so these sappy words are not going to score me any sort of brownie points with him! LOL)
We also went and checked out the gingerbread display at the Hyatt this past weekend. Andrew was desperate to touch the displays, which of course we couldn’t let him do, so he had a tantrum and we left. But it was fun looking at the gingerbread masterpieces up until that point! Then we took him to the German Christmas Market, a new thing that sounds like it will be an annual event now. It would probably be great at a more off-time, and perhaps without bringing a little one along. It was an absolute ZOO there on Saturday afternoon. So many people that a lot of the booths we could only see from afar but it would have taken a ridiculously long time to actually get up to them to see if we wanted to buy anything. We would have liked to have tried a mulled wine, but the line-up for that wasn’t worth it. It cost us $9 for entry (with two free mugs, thanks to groupon) and we were there for under 10 minutes! But oh well, how could we have known right. I would like to suggest to them that they only allow so many people in at a time during really busy times, because it just isn’t enjoyable when you’re crammed in like that.
Anyway, aside from the busyness of the season, we’re really into the spirit of it. Today Andrew and I made his very first ever Gingerbread House, but of course the pics for that are still on my camera so…I’ll save that story for next time!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Counting down till Xmas...

Last weekend we went out to do a bit of Christmas shopping and I picked up a Toy Story advent calendar for Andrew. It was only $2.15, which was about all I was willing to spend on such a thing this year, because I didn’t have high expectations that it would last all that long, considering it’s a bit hard to reason with Andrew about opening one little door a day to find the chocolate.

I had obviously planned on hiding it till December 1st, but I didn’t get to the bag fast enough to stuff it in the closet. He could see Buzz and Woody through the bag and started chanting their names, his pitch getting higher and higher as I said, ‘No’ and ‘Let’s wait a few days!’ So, knowing how cheap the advent calendar was and selfishly just wanting the crying to stop so I could maybe have a few minutes of peace, I caved and took it out of the bag.

He was thrilled to bits, so much so that he ran with it into the other room to show Daddy. After pointing out all the characters on the box, front and back, and naming them correctly, he started saying, ‘Open! OPEN!’ I got him to say ‘Peese’ (please) and Daddy took the plastic off the box. We agreed he could open ONE slot and have a chocolate, then we’d put it away.

But it was a cheap box and just shaking it a little bit, Andrew had chocolates flying out onto the carpet! He was stuffing them into his mouth by the handful before I could get to them. A boy after my own heart, he carries on the sweet tooth gene from his Momma =)

I helped him out a bit, and I think his Dad had one…And pretty soon, the 31 day calendar (yup, this one had ‘extras’ that not only counted down to Christmas, but new years as well!) was empty. And we were still 4 days away from December 1st!

The sugar high, while fun for the first few minutes, became exhausting for Mommy and Daddy when Andrew was so wired he was up till after 1 in the morning…Lesson learned, but ‘tis the season, right?! Oh, yeah, it wasn’t yet, I forgot…Our bad!!

The box was a way bigger hit than the chocolate though. It was worth more than the price I paid for it, that’s for sure! Andrew opened and closed all the little doors about a hundred times, named all the characters inside them, and became obsessed with the four character cut-outs from the back of the box. I cut them out for him and he was so thrilled that he took them to bed with him when he FINALLY did go to sleep. They were the first thing he wanted to play with in the morning, and now he keeps them on a little ‘tree’ of his own. I hole-punched them and added twist ties so he could use them as ornaments, and he loves them!

My mom sent us an advent calendar on December 1st. It’s on the computer, looks like a snow globe and when you click on it, you go to a Christmas Village where you can ONLY click the current day’s (or previous days) button. It plays Christmas music and you see trees being decorated and Santa and Elves playing instruments…Andrew loves it and Momma loves that it doesn’t produce a late-night sugar high!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A restorative approach

I was going to write another post about how crappy I’ve been feeling tonight about the mil saga, but I’ll spare you on that! Sort of.

What I decided to write about instead is ‘restorative justice.’ Recently on a friend’s blog (you know who you are, but I’m protecting your identity!) it was stated that faith in restorative justice had been lost. And in fact another blog pal responded with that same opinion.

I feel very tied to restorative justice in that it became my passion during university. I absolutely loved what it stood for right away – a more holistic approach to justice, bringing victims together with their offenders for conflict resolution, encouraging offenders to take responsibility for their actions. It’s a peace-building way of looking at things, and arguably it can be incorporated into one’s every day life. I know for myself, it had a profound effect on my outlook.

I didn’t just take a couple of rj classes and call it a day. I also worked within the department of rj for 2 semesters, and took part in several prison talking circles. I would have loved to have worked in prisons in an rj setting when I finished university, only such jobs are either rare to find or volunteer-based (which is fine except when you need an income to pay the student loans and other bills!) Not to mention that I don’t have a car and it’s not too often that you can hop on a bus and end up at a prison (or if you can, it’s going to take hours each way to do). Anyway, I would definitely still love to work within a restorative justice framework, but as I said, it’s more an incorporation of attitude and compassion in one’s every day life, so I suppose this could lend itself to any career choice!

I’m getting a bit off topic though.

The thing is, I do believe in restorative justice because I have seen first hand how it can work. I have talked to people who have been in very extreme cases and they (not just the wrongdoers but the victims, too) have said openly and honestly that it made a difference for them. But it certainly can’t work in all situations or for everyone. While it has worked for people in very extreme cases (even sexual assault), it typically is more effective in lesser cases. In my mind, if it even just worked for one person one time, it has been worth having around! Although I know it continues to work for people in many cases.

I want to always stand by this notion of healing because I think it can be, in certain cases at the very least, a far greater approach to righting wrongs than through our traditional justice system. Or just in every day life, practicing mindfulness, trying to keep aware of how we’re all on these different trips in life, you never know what another person might have been through or be going through or WHATEVER to cause them to be the way they are at a given time.

Which is not to say that I am always this way myself. I remember in one of my journal entries in one of my rj classes, I wrote about how I wasn’t sure I’d be able to forgive in certain circumstances, and my TM responded saying, ‘You’d be surprised at how you might react.’ Which is true, of course you never really know until you’re going through something how you’re going to respond.

Although I’m pretty sure, especially now being a mom, that there are certain things I would consider unforgiveable. If anyone ever did anything to my child, the repercussions for that person would be pretty severe. I can’t see forgiveness looming on the horizon there. It’s interesting though. Some of us would take the permanent grudge approach, while others seem to hold their grudge for a length of time but eventually they say they had to seek forgiveness, because what was done was done, there was no turning back. What was the point of moving forward so negatively?

And that’s a very good point. I think about that from time to time, in particular when thinking about my mil. Because I totally agree, the damage has been done, why continue on feeling so negative, so ANGRY. Ultimately, I’m only hurting myself here.

But I think the issue at hand is the fact that this is a prime example of a case where restorative justice CAN’T work. And why I can see where people would feel they’ve lost total faith in rj altogether.

The reason for it is simple: the wrongdoer is not a willing participant. In order for restorative justice to be effective, all participating parties have to take accountability for themselves. I feel I have definitely taken accountability for myself with my mil. I have done more than my share of explaining, apologizing, discussing my feelings so much it felt like a bullet-form list by the end of it. It became SO OBVIOUS what I needed back from her, so obvious that I literally did spell it out for her! But, alas, she was not willing to take accountability for herself. Always with the pattern of turning everything around to be everyone else’s fault. Which essentially does nothing more than fuel the fire and further victimize those around her.

In another relationship of mine, one I won’t go into detail about…But lets just say I was harbouring some bad feelings due to some miscommunication. I let it slide for probably about a month, maybe even a little more. And by ‘slide’ I mean I didn’t talk to her about it, but inside every time I thought about it I felt upset. Rather than continue on with that line of thinking, I knew I wanted things to be OK between me and her, so I got in touch with her and cleared the air. Just like that, I know that it was all just a miscommunication, and it wasn’t a big deal at all. It might frustrate me slightly why things happened the way they did, but basically everything is fine and ‘back to normal’ if you will. I’m so glad I didn’t just go on feeling miserable about the situation because it actually could have ruined hope for our friendship. That might not be the best example since it wasn’t really restorative ‘justice’ per se, as no justice was being sought, but hopefully you get what I’m saying.

I just see it that with my mil, no matter how clearly you lay out the facts and how you’re affected by her actions, she is never, ever willing to accept one iota of it as being somehow her doing. NOTHING. And reflecting on the past 13 years that I’ve known her, there is a definite pattern (scarily so) of this. You are always the offender, she is always the victim. If you try to say otherwise, you better watch out because now you’re reeeeally going to get it.

Of course, there are majorly varying levels of abuse and I know what I put up with from my mil is small potatoes compared to other people’s plight. Although ultimately it’s all relative to our own situation. It all ends up coming down to whether or not people are willing to face up to things. Sh*t still stinks if you simply sweep it under the rug. Wouldn’t it make sense to just clean it up in the first place? It might be messy, but not nearly as much if you try to ignore it!

The thing is, in this situation, I’ve done everything I feel I can to ‘make things right’ but it can’t go any further without REAL effort from the other party. Not in the form of pretending all is well and trying to have ‘fun’ together, but in actually owning up to things once and for all. The problem is, as my friend mentioned on her blog – sooo many chances have been given that now it seems too little too late. And that’s where I’m at right now with my mil.

I find it very hard to look at her in a peaceful, let alone peace-building capacity. I want to have compassion for her, but I don’t think I can anymore. I have in the past, I’ve tried to believe the excuses being made for her. I’ve wanted to give her benefit of the doubt and I did, time and time again, year after year. And yet the same thing always continued to happen. I decided I’ve had enough of it. Whether a proponent of restorative justice or not, I think it’s pretty safe to say that after 13 years of the same shite over and over like a broken record, it makes sense I would eventually just put an end to it. Why keep trying only to get hurt again?

More on this some other time…I could say a lot more about rj a lot more eloquently but I guess more importantly I was needing an outlet for once again trying to deal with the insanity that is my mil…

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rearing her ugly head...again

I feel like I’ve been doing a really good job of not stressing out over the fact that my mil is moving here. I guess I feel like ‘seeing is believing’ and she’s not here yet, so I can still breathe easy. The fact that she’s planning on moving here RIGHT on Andrew’s birthday/new year’s eve DOES boil my blood a little bit, because, honestly, WHO MOVES ON NEW YEAR’S EVE, whether it’s a little boy’s birthday or not?! It seems overly dramatic (but not too dramatic for her, of course). It screams IT’S ALL ABOUT ME and that’s HER talking, not Andrew. Even though of course I am making the day all about Andrew and I will NOT let her ruin it for me/us because THAT’S NOT OK.

But anyway, for the most part, other than the occasional pang of anger over her choice of day to arrive, I’ve been pretty good at just forcing it out of my mind. I have given up on trying to fix things with her, because I don’t think I am the one who should be doing the repairs. She has proven herself incapable of repairing any damage done, and if anything continues to cause further issues just by being herself. So what’s the point stressing about it? You lose a certain amount of the weight of it all when you choose to no longer care.

But, still, the reality must set in that she is going to live here. And I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to do with that. The reason this is coming up now is because a short phone call with my bil this morning gave me the heads up that she is possibly planning to live just a few blocks away from our apartment. ‘It’s just for a month’ is what he told me, but even 4 weeks in that proximity makes me want to run for the hills. And who knows where she’ll decide to move after that month is up. Hopefully it’ll be farther away, but what if the next place is even closer?!

I find all of this so unfair. Because while no, I can’t tell her where she can or cannot live, wouldn’t it have been nice of her to consider the fact that we don’t get along – James even told her more than once that she creates tension between him and I, between him and his brother, his brother and his girlfriend, and so on it goes. She causes so many problems for everyone, so why would she choose to live just a few blocks away from us?! What is she trying to prove?!

I don’t trust her or her motives. I don’t want her to live a few blocks away. Yes, she’s James’ mother, so I expect her to have some kind of relationship with Andrew. But I don’t want her to be a huge influence in his life. She’s too unpredictable, too emotionally charged. I don’t want him to get hurt. I also don’t totally trust her when she’s alone with him. For example, would she do things to spite me, such as feed him meat when he’s unknowing about vegetarianism and why we’re on this particular path? (In my presence she almost ‘accidentally’ fed him animals THREE times on her last visit here, so who’s to say she wouldn’t do this when I’m not around – when no one is there to ‘remind’ her that it’s not ok?) I don’t just have false concerns here, I have very valid reasons for worrying about this kind of stuff. Her head is scattered, up in the clouds. Even if she’s not doing some of the things intentionally, the outcome is essentially the same. When she was visiting last and was supposed to look after Andrew for us, but then made plans to get stoned and watch movies instead – she acted like it would be ok for Andrew to be present for that. That a less than 2 year old could be in the room while she tokes up and watches videos. Perhaps that is your lifestyle choice, but it is not mine. There may be a time and a place for recreational drug use, but it is not when my child is in your presence and you are supposed to be looking after him and spending time with him. I am totally not cool with that. Call me straight-edge, call me some sort of a prude, whatever, I don’t care. I’m not OK with drugs around my kid. End of! And I am totally entitled not only to that opinion, but enforcing it.

Ugh. Just the thought of her living in this city. Like I said, I’ve been forcing it out of my head the past while, pretty much since she started on about moving out this way. She lived here early in James and my relationship and it was never a good thing having her too close. She was constantly just popping in to stay with us and was quite forceful at times about things being her way or no way. Obviously I’m older now, stand my ground more, and have a worse relationship with her than ever so I won’t put up with crap. But still, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be ‘easy’. Sometimes the country’s distance between us doesn’t seem far enough. A couple of BLOCKS is going to make me feel stifled.

Time to check out Craigslist for apartment listings again.

Monday, November 29, 2010

New hardware

James got me an early Christmas present yesterday. It’s a NEW COMPUTER!!

I’m so excited about it. My old one has been fighting to hold on but lately she just hasn’t been keeping up. Programs would freeze and I’d have to reboot. If the cord accidentally got unplugged for a millisecond from the wall, there was an automatic shut down. We’ve all been there. I kept making excuses for her, and I’d sort of gotten used to how slow certain things were. Take Photoshop, for example. It wasn’t till tonight when I loaded about 10 super high resolution pictures into the program in about 1.5 seconds that I realized, holy sh*t! I’ve been wasting SO MUCH TIME…FOR SO LONG! Seriously, while yes I would feel a rage coming on while waiting and waiting…and waiting some more, I had begun to think it was ‘normal’ for it to take minutes on end to load about 15 pictures in decent but not super high resolution. Given the vast amounts of pictures I tend to batch-edit in Photoshop, all I can say is OH MY GAWD.

Anyway, I’m still a PC girl. Probably always will be. That in large part has to do with the high cost of Mac’s – especially given what I use my computer for generally. And also I like PC’s, deal with it. It’s a Compaq something er other and all I can say is I’m in love! So far so good, anyway. I try not to trust any computer as they haven’t always been faithful to me! But so far I’m enjoying Windows 7 and most of all the speed in which I can do things! It’s going to be a luxury to not always have to be plugged in, too. You have no idea (or maybe you do) how frustrating it is to have you computer accidentally get unplugged right when you’re in the middle of something and then have to wait, like, 10 minutes for it all to reboot.

Anyway! Wow, best early Christmas present ever!! I’m totally OK with Christmas coming early for me this year. James was going to wait to give it to me, but the box would be too big to carry with us along with the stroller and gifts for everyone else – I already have anxiety when I think about how in the hell we’re going to get ourselves and all our stuff over to the island right before Xmas…So he’d have been giving it to me early anyway, and he couldn’t contain himself to hold out another couple of weeks till right before we leave. I think he made the right choice!

Now to get everything sorted from my old computer to the new and so on…There is work to be done!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Personalized Christmas shopping

We’re really making headway on our Christmas shopping. As a rule, I like to TRY to have it as close to finished as possible by December 1st if I can help it. I can’t stand how crowded it gets at the malls, I feel ragey when dealing with so many people all looking for that ‘perfect’ gift.

We (and when I say we, I mean mostly ‘I’ since I take care of most of the gifts for people!) did a lot of our shopping online, which ultimately is the best way to go about it, if you ask me! And rather than just buying ‘things’ we’ve done our best to give experiences or at the very least ‘things’ with a more sentimental value than just being an object.

One of those ‘things’ – and I am going to say the best one of all that I am 100% sure everyone getting will LOVE – is a book on Andrew’s Life in 2010. (I feel safe talking about it on here before Xmas actually arrives, since I’m fairly confident no one receiving this gift would be reading my blog).

I checked out a couple of different sites for making this project, but I admit I didn’t do a whole lot of research. The night I started the project I knew I wanted to get going on it right away, and I don’t have a ton of ‘me time’ to work on these things so I just had to hope for the best. I can’t say how good other sites would be, but I ended up using ‘Mixbook’ and I highly, highly recommend it.

You can make all sorts of things, and in varying price ranges. But my basic mission was to make a sort of scrapbook of Andrew’s life this past year. It ended up being 37 pages and I wrote it from his point of view. So basically each page consisted of some pictures – some pages a lot of pictures, others just a few, and then some writing (in his ‘voice’) detailing his little adventures and things.

It turned out FANTASTIC! But do not underestimate how long a project like this will take you. No, it certainly won’t take nearly as long as if you were making 10 scrapbooks from scratch – as in, with a lot of cutting and pasting and stickers involved – but it’s time consuming because you want each page to be just ‘so.’ And when you take thousands of pictures of a particular someone of which the book is about, it’s hard to scale back to just a certain number of pages – a lot ends up not getting included that you would have liked to have had in there!

But all in all it was probably the best idea I’ve had in a long time and I am soooo happy I followed through with it. The time consuming part was putting it all together, but that was also the fun part! But from the moment I hit the Confirm Payment button and the moment I received the package of 10 books in the mail was about a week. Which to me is pretty impressive. I know they ‘only’ have to print the books, package ‘em up and ship them out, but it’s amazing quality and I love that they did it all so quickly.

One warning I would give is that the cost can add up pretty quickly. It’s a set price for a particular number of pages (I think 20) and then each additional page is $1. Which sounds super cheap, but adds up when you add, say, 17 extra pages! Because that’s $17 extra PER BOOK! And when printing 10 books, well, the price starts to become a bit mind-boggling. BUT if you purchase within a week of signing up, you get 20% off your entire order – and it just so happened that when I was working on my project, they had a deal for 30% off everything so of course I went with that instead. So essentially each book was in the neighbourhood of $30 (including shipping), which to me is a fair price for a totally awesome, completely unique Christmas gift for family members who love nothing more than looking at the sweet face of none other than Andrew!

I even wrote on the back of the book to make it sound like it was a real book, calling it Andrew’s ‘book debut.’ It’s a great keepsake, and of course I made sure to order one for us as well. Andrew will have fun looking through it when he’s older!

All this to mention a cool gift idea, or even just to make keepsakes for your personal use. It’s like a whole new way of scrapbooking, without all the mess and clean-up you have when scrapping ‘in person’! LOVE IT.

Check it out (and no, I’m not getting anything for this advertising, although perhaps maybe I should!)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A fall snow day

Today we had our first snowfall here in Coal Harbour! It was kind of exciting. I’d say it was probably a few inches deep at least. My grandma bought Andrew a snowsuit and all the gear to go along with it (puffy jacket, toque, mittens, boots) so I was itching to get him outside in his winter clothes to play with the snow. I begged and begged him to get suited up so we could go out but he flat out refused!

Usually it’s the kids begging their parents to go out in the snow, and there I am pleading with an almost-two-year-old to pleeeeeease go outside with me and play! LOL We never did venture out in it, and now it’s starting to rain so it’ll be that gross grey slushy stuff by tomorrow, that mixed with icy spots, and of course it won’t be one ounce of fun to be out in.

When we first got up, I looked outside and saw the white stuff and said, ‘Look out the window, Andrew! There’s snow!’ He came running up to the window and said, ‘Ceamy!’ (Which is his word for ‘ice cream’!!) I thought that was pretty cute. Then he started saying ‘snow’ and ‘cold’ and when I asked if he wanted to go out in it he screamed, ‘Noooo! Coooold! Hoooooooooooome!!!!!’ And that was that.

So we had a ‘snow day’ that didn’t involve the actual snow at all, except to look at from inside our warm and cozy apartment. I really enjoyed looking out at the snow, I was kind of disappointed when it stopped – even though when it comes down to it I don’t actually like the snow much. Just for the initial hey, cool, let’s go walk around in fresh snow that no one’s stepped in yet. But once it’s sludgy, which always happens so quickly here, I’m over it. I don’t have proper footwear for snow. Since it’s predicted we’re going to have the worst winter in 55 years here (apparently, although I’m hopeful it’s not true given the weather reports are generally wrong on an almost daily basis so I don’t see how they can predict any time into the future!) maybe I should get some boots, just in case. I’m wondering if rain boots might suffice…they’d also be more practical since we’ll obviously get more rain than we do snow!

Anyway, we watched ‘Bee Movie’ (Andrew loves bees, although ‘in person’ not so much – he had one buzz past his head in my parents’ backyard this summer and it freaked him out, but at the same time gave him a slight bee-obsession! – a bit of Toy Story, and a bit of Wiggles…But mostly we talked and read and sang and danced (to David Usher!) and we attempted to bake some cheese cookies together! It was kind of fun working in the kitchen together, Andrew loves to help in the kitchen! Although the cookies didn’t really turn out so I ended up instead using them as a crust for a quiche…Which sounds strange maybe but they were basically cheese biscuits so it made sense, it ended up tasting pretty good. I was going to just throw them out altogether but it would have been a shame to waste all that cheese, so I’m glad I was able to salvage them.

Now I’m having some time to myself because I literally didn’t have one second break today. Which means Andrew didn’t nap at all…which sucks for me in some ways, but is a good thing because he SHOULD crash by 9 at the latest which means for the first time this whole week I won’t be at his beck and call till around 1am due to his ridiculously late napping!

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...in November!

When it was boiling hot in our apartment during the summer, and even with the A/C cranked to its maximum I was sweltering, I would think to myself how glorious it would be when the weather cooled. But now that it’s late fall and my hands are like ice cubes even with the heat cranked (not to its maximum, but close!), I’m kind of longing to invite summer back for a while. Or perhaps it’s just part of human nature – to never be quite happy enough with what we have in front of us.

I will say, though, that as much as I could use a hot bubble bath right now to warm up, I am already feeling very nostalgic with the Christmas season approaching. I feel the excitement in the air, and even the cold air has its own set of sentimental feelings attached to it. I’m actually really looking forward to everything the holidays have to offer, in particular starting new little traditions in our family as Andrew is beginning to understand (sort of, not really) what ‘Christmas’ means. He obviously has very little understanding of it over all, but I want to be a part of building up his excitement for it all and I love the idea of creating new family traditions within our little household.

I don’t want to make it a tradition to decorate super early for the holidays because I do believe that if you have stuff up too early, by the time Christmas rolls around it doesn’t seem as special anymore. At least that’s how I am about it. But I ended up decorating for Christmas this morning with Andrew because we’ll be heading to the island a little before Xmas day and staying on till almost Andrew’s birthday. In years past, I’ve always kept from decorating till December 1st, when it’s OFFICIALLY (in my books) the ‘Christmas season.’ And often enough it has felt like we only really enjoyed OUR decorations for about 2 weeks, because we’d be travelling to the island and then the day we’d get home I’d want to dismantle everything because Christmas was over. I’ll want to put all the Christmas stuff away (maybe leave the tree out but that would be it) when we get back here after the holidays this year, too, because I’ll want to decorate for Andy’s birthday instead!

So out came the boxes this morning, and I have to admit, I had a great time showing Andrew all our little trinkets and Christmas décor. I’ve yet to put up any lights, and I wanted to wait to decorate the tree when James is home. But we got the tv unit decorated and I love how the tree looks (even though it’s still bare, being fibre optic means it looks pretty regardless!) I put up our little ceramic ‘village’ up around the tree (the buildings light up to create a very cozy feel) and even put the cotton stuff around to make it look like snow in around the village. I was wary of Andrew’s grabby little hands wanting to dismantle it as I was putting it up, but he was actually really good about it. I’ve talked to him about how breakable things are and how important it is not to touch them, and so far he hasn’t tried anything. I know it’s a gamble, obviously, but I’m hopeful it will all work out!

I’m curious what other people’s little traditions are, ones that would be easy for a person to start, ones that would make sense for a toddler? I want to start new traditions because I feel like we don’t really have any, or at least not many, that we stick to every year James and I. One thing I got when I was out Xmas shopping last week was this cute little elf shoe from Hallmark. It came with a little story about how the elf was helping Santa and lost his shoe, and now we have it. Basically with the idea that you can start a tradition with it – the little story thing it came with suggested putting candy in it or hiding it every day leading up to Christmas. I’m thinking I might do a bit of both! I’m going to wait to bring it out on December 1st and then we will make a game of it. I know Andrew’s a bit young for it yet, but I thought it might be cute to put little notes in it (maybe even from Santa?) and sometimes candy and different things, and it can be sort of like an advent calendar. There isn’t going to be time for it this year, but I want to make my own advent calendar, hopefully in time for next Christmas! My mom made an amazing one when we were growing up and I always loved it when we put it up and my brother and I got to take turns taking the ribbons off it each day. Yes, ribbons – no chocolate, and yet we were thrilled to bit to take part in the tradition of it! Sure, we fought over who would get to take the last ribbon off, but hey that’s all part of the fun =)

Anyway, I’m excited about the holidays, so much so that we’re decorated on November 22nd. Which is ridiculous, as far as I’m concerned, but what can I say – I couldn’t help myself. AND we actually have very few decorations when it comes down to it. I have a few more things stored at my parents’ place that I couldn’t manage with all the other stuff I had to bring back last time. But it’s probably best this way as we don’t have room here to store more stuff, and it’s not cluttered but we do have meaningful things on display. Even though I’m totally not religious at all, I want to one day get a nativity scene to have out, I guess because I have such fond memories of playing with the one we had (and still have) at my parents’ house! And the way I see it is, you don’t have to actually be religious to enjoy the whole story of it, which is what it is to me – a story. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that!

There’s a Christmas market opening up downtown in a few days and we’ll be taking Andrew to that. We also have the Santa Claus Parade coming up in a few weeks, the Christmas train in Stanley Park. So many things to do to celebrate this magical time of year! So many things to enjoy through Andrew’s fresh pair of eyes and curiosity! He was pretty darn cute last Christmas but not nearly as aware of it all as he will be this year. It’s an exciting time!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Tofino non-wedding

As I’ve mentioned already, my brother and s-i-l got married last Sunday. I also mentioned it was a ‘non-wedding.’ Let me explain!

My brother and sil were always adamant they were against marriage. Mainly because of what it stands for (traditionally, as in a man taking himself a wife, blah blah – the old-fashioned aspects that are definitely very dated). They felt committed to each other but didn’t feel the need to have it recognized ‘on paper.’ Interestingly (although it could be just coincidence), it was not long after Andrew was born that they decided they would get married after all.

We knew it wasn’t going to be a traditional wedding when we were handed our invitations – on 8.5x11 sheets of paper, with the words ‘This is your fancy italicized sham-wedding invitation’ or something to that effect! Still, I had a few tears when I found out they were engaged – and I’m not a crier – because WOW my brother and sil were getting MARRIED!! Doesn’t matter to me how they go about it, just the fact that they were taking that next step meant a lot.

A ‘sham’ wedding indeed though…It was anything but traditional. In fact, the wedding part itself…wasn’t much at all! They literally read off sticky-notes the two lines you have to say by law. The Justice of the Peace was just standing with the family as a witness but didn’t say a single word. The whole ‘ceremony’ took less than a minute. I kind of wonder why they even decided to bother having everyone stand around on the beach while they did that part, since it was totally unromantic and pretty much un-anything. But it was what it was! The main thing was getting our two families together (we’d never met one another since her family all lives in either Saskatchewan or Manitoba) to get to know each other, which was the best part of all.
We headed up to Tofino on Friday the 12th, the wedding was Sunday the 14th, and we came home Monday the 15th. It was such a nice little ‘holiday.’ I wasn’t all that taken by Tofino when I went before, several years back, so I wasn’t that excited about it truth be told. But the moment we got out of the car at the cottage and walked down to the beach, it was like heaven. Just hearing the waves pounding onto the beach, the roaring of the surf, made the windy drive there SO WORTH WHILE. I loved it! Even in the late fall weather, it was fairly mild and just beautiful. I can’t wait to go back.
It was so great to meet N’s family, too, because finally we can put faces to all the names when she talks about them. And it was neat to get a sense for where some of her personality traits come from! We really hit it off, I actually really wish we lived closer to her family because I feel as though we’d hang out and be a lot closer than I am with a lot of my own family!

We had lots of drinks (Norma’s dad was chuffed that I enjoyed the home-brew wine he brought! It really was tasty!), laughs, played Cranium one night and it was SO MUCH FUN! There were also a few kids there, in particular a 10 year old girl and a 5 year old girl, and they both totally took to Andrew. He was super cute with everyone and had so much fun (on his very first ever trip!)

All in all it was a wonderful time. In just those few short days I got so used to putting some gumboots on (they were supplied by the cottage, which was the most amazingly place to stay at in the woods – we couldn’t have had a better place to stay) and walking down to the beach for a morning stroll. My only regret is that we weren’t there longer because I loved it there so much!

So my bro and sil are MARRIED, it’s official even if they did it in a non-wedding sort of way. And I am so happy for them!
I also can’t wait to get back to Tofino. It was wonderful having Andrew there to experience the beach a little bit and to just be along for all the adventures, but it would sure be a romantic place to go for a getaway for two! I didn’t really get that before, I thought why would you travel for hours to a place where it rains a lot (although it barely rained at all when we were there) and you can’t even swim in the water (I’m not into surfing!)?? But there’s so much to do even if you choose to do very little, if that makes sense. It’s so QUIET there, so calm and beautiful. I can’t wait to stay there again and cozy up by the fire and just BE.

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