Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Feeling happier + Kids update

I just realized that tomorrow is the 1st of March...Wow, this year is already flying by!  Not complaining though, since we’re getting closer to Spring which I kind of can’t wait for at this point.  As I look out the window and watch the SNOW falling...yes, snow...AGAIN...We’ve had more snow here this winter than we’ve had in many years combined.  So done with it!

We’ve had 3 good mornings before school - last Friday, yesterday, and today, and I am really noticing the difference it makes in my days over all.  I think Andrew may be ‘getting it’, too, that by being happier in the mornings Mommy is happier, too.  I’m really hoping it’s becoming a pattern.  It's true what they say - 'If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.' I can’t expect to never have rough mornings with the kids, but every day should not be the norm.  I feel so much better emotionally right now than I have in a while.  Obviously our mornings aren’t the only contributing factor, but it’s one of the biggest, I think.

On Saturday I attended a Ladies’ Night Out event with several friends.  We get together at one of their houses and drink and play games and it was just what I needed.  We played about a million rounds of Cards Against Humanity, and a bit of Catch Phrase and laughed so much.  It was great.  I only had 4 coolers, which is less than I’ve drank the other times we’ve had these Ladies’ Nights.  The other times I may have felt tired the next day but certainly not hung over.  Well on Sunday morning I was barf central and my head was pounding and I thought I was going to die.  It was bad.  I was also worried because we had plans to go to my aunt’s birthday party downtown that afternoon and there was no way I was going to make it if those symptoms kept up.  (When we got the invite to her party I was at least honest and said what my plans were for the night before, so if I couldn’t go it wouldn’t have been a total surprise!)  I knew I would feel bad if I didn’t get to go, though, because my parents and brother and sil and cousin were all going to be there, too, and I wanted to see everyone.  

Luckily I have the awesomest husband ever, and he took point with the kids till it was time to take Andrew to his dance class.  When they left I dragged myself out of bed because the girls wanted me to be downstairs with them, and I pulled myself together and even managed to make a big breakfast/brunch for us to eat before we left for the party.  I still felt off for the rest of the day but not to the point that I was throwing up.  Crazy, I have no idea what happened there but obviously I didn’t drink enough water, and maybe the fact that we all brought fairly unhealthy foods to share didn’t help my stomach either!  It was still really fun, though, and we already have another date in mind for next time.  I will be extra careful about how much I drink though, since clearly I can’t handle booze!  (And of course I don’t ‘have’ to drink at all, it’s not like I’m being forced to, it’s just fun to be able to let loose every once in a while, so I want to be able to...I just wish my body could handle it better afterwards!)

I feel like I don’t update enough on the kids and the actual details of what they’re up to and all of that.  There’s so little time to really think about the little things when living them day to day, but I wish I could hold on to all the little memories of what they say and do because they’re so delightful (much of the time, anyway!!)  

Andrew is really into reading now, he finishes chapter books so fast and I know he’s really reading them because afterwards he talks all about the stories and his favourite parts.  My cousin-in-law gave him a Star Wars book on Sunday and by yesterday morning he had read the whole thing and was taking the little quizzes at the back of the book!  He’s obsessed with Star Wars and thoroughly enjoyed going to see Rogue One with Daddy several weeks ago.  But his absolute fave is Force Awakens and in particular all things Kylo Ren.  He loves math and science and has taken up writing in a little journal on a fairly regular basis.  He’s a smart boy, and while he can be very attitudinal with me at times these days, he’s also a very sweet, and kind little guy.  I guess he’s not so little anymore, he’s actually grown up a ton already this past year, but he’s still my baby boy in some ways.  He doesn’t cuddle as much as he used to but he does still enjoy cuddles.  He doesn’t hold my hand anymore when we’re out together, although he probably would take my hand if I suggested it!  I sometimes catch myself automatically going to take his hand if we’re crossing the street or whatever, but then I remind myself that he’s 8 and he really shouldn’t have to hold my hand for such things anymore!  It’s hard sometimes, that realization that he’s growing up so quickly.  He’s still not shy to give me a kiss before he heads into his classroom in the morning, and I would say I’m the only parent getting a hug and kiss like that, but I know it’s only a matter of time before that’s a thing of the past as well!  Last year he would practically be attacking me with hugs and kisses before school, whereas now it’s a quick hug and kiss, but he’s still not shy about it!  I often drop him off and pick him up now without even getting out of the van, I just park close to where his classroom is and he makes his way to and from on his own.  Although I won’t be able to do that next year as once the girls are in Kindergarten I will be back to spending 15-20 minutes in the classroom every morning, but he’ll be having to make his way to his class on his own.  It’s kind of a saving grace now to have their age difference between them, because he’s old enough to do things on his own that way, whereas if he was a few years younger I would be stressing over how I’d get him to class and make sure he felt safe and happy while also not getting the girls to class late.  Obviously people do it and manage just fine, but Andrew was such a mama’s boy and such a little cling-on that I don’t think he’d have handled it entirely well if we’d had to do things that way!

Margaret and Emily are so sweet and wonderful (nope, I’m not the least bit biased!!)  They still play really well together for the most part.  Margaret will still bite Emily once in awhile if she’s annoyed with her for something, but it’s fairly infrequent now.  She doesn’t bite anyone else, just her sister!  Poor Emily!  She’s my Golden Girl.  LOL  She can still be super whiny every now and then which in all honesty can grate my nerves, but most of the time she is so well-behaved and just not really a troublemaker in the least.  She doesn’t like to get in trouble, and even if she’s not in trouble but a voice is raised for any reason whatsoever and she thinks it’s directed at her, she will start bawling.  She’s quite sensitive!  But she’s also very secure and happy, and just has a very sweet nature to her.  So does Margaret.  As much as she is the mischievous one and sometimes will fudge the truth a bit because she knows she’s done something naughty, she is such a little sweetheart.  Very compassionate toward others, and will even remember months after seeing someone to ask how they’re doing as she’ll remember whatever may have been ailing them the last time we visited.  She’s a people person for sure, and an animal lover (especially dogs).  Emily is more shy than her sister but is definitely opening up a lot, which I’ve really noticed recently at the school.  On some of the nicer days (cold, but sunny) we’ve stuck around after school to play at the playground and both the girls have so many friends who are around Andrew’s age.  Margaret tends to go off and, after running around for a bit, sits with some of the girls and chats as if she’s in grade 2 or 3 like they are!  Whereas Emily finds another group of friends and plays tag or hide and seek with them.  I love that they are such close sisters and do love to be near each other, but are also individually confident enough to do their own thing and have their own group of friends.

The girls love their dolls and dollhouse, Barbies and stuffies.  Emily gravitates more toward dolls and the smaller toys like Barbies and dollhouse stuff.  Or Lego, or pretty much anything she can set up.  One thing I find really cute with all 3 kids is that they call a lot of their toys their ‘set.’  Where is my Lego set, or let’s play with my castle set, etc.  Margaret loves all those types of toys, too, but tends to have a bit less of an attention span for playing with things like that for a longer period of time.  I think Emily has the best attention span of all 3 kids for staying focused on something, and her most favourite thing in the world is for someone to sit down and play with her.  Margaret is obsessed with stuffies and would own a million of them if she could.  She’s already getting close!!  We have a ridiculous amount of stuffed toys.  It’s actually out of control.  But she truly loves them, and goes through cycles of which are her favourites.  Before bed she will pick which one she will want for the night, and I am to ‘warm it up’ for her and then when I go to bed, give it to her along with ‘going right by her side and kissing her 6 times, and Emmy, too!’ :D  She expects me to sit there all evening with the stuffed animal being warmed up by my armpit, when in reality I leave the stuffy by the stairs to remind myself to take it up with me when I’m going to bed!  Margaret still often wakes up several times before I go to bed but is fairly good about not waking us up through the night even if she does wake up.  The kids would all be up by 6am every morning if they had their way, but they’re ‘trained’ now to wait for James (or me, but let’s face it, it’s usually James!) to get up, which is usually closer to 7am lately.  Even if they’re awake they just lay in bed waiting till someone gets up so they can go downstairs.  We’d love for them to just get up on their own and go downstairs and play or watch a show on their own, but it hasn’t happened yet!

The kids are pretty much up for anything, and I look forward to all the fun we’ll have out at parks and doing spring and summery stuff in the coming months.  With them being that much older now, they’re even more able to do things without James and I having to rip our hair out.  We took them to a park on Saturday afternoon and actually stopped by Starbucks to get ourselves coffee (Mmmm, Chai Tea Latte!  I only have Starbucks a few times a year so it’s such a treat and I always get the same thing!) and told them we wanted to be able to just sit and sip our drinks while they played and they LISTENED!  We were shocked, as usually even if we said that there’s no way it would actually happen.  We did push them on the swings and play hide and seek with them, but not till after we’d both actually finished our drinks and enjoyed just sitting together for a bit.  We honestly thought this day would never come, but it did!

Birthday Celebrations

Despite not getting to go out on my ‘birthday weekend’, my parents came over for nibblies and cake on my actual day.  The cake was a DQ cookie dough blizzard ice cream cake!  YUM!  It was done completely with pink icing and black lettering so it looked really beautiful, it was unlike any DQ cake I’ve ever seen.  I was just happy it all worked out that we weren’t eating ice cream soup, as the power went out the night before and if it had stayed out like a lot of other people’s power had, it would not have been so pretty!  Luckily it was only out for an hour and a half.

A few days after my birthday I put the last bit of cake into a smaller container and put the big plastic DQ cake plate and lid outside our front door.  I sealed it up before doing so, and told James he could deal with it in the morning.  It still had a bit of icing inside and tiny bits of ice cream that I didn’t scrape off the bottom, but it was sealed with the lid so I figured it was no big deal to just put it outside.  Wrong!  Around 11pm I heard a loud noise outside.  At first I thought it was the icy rain that was in the forecast, but as I got closer to the front of the house to investigate, I knew that wasn’t it because the noise was coming from right outside the front door and the door area is covered so rain wouldn’t hit against it even with heavy winds.  I looked through the peephole but couldn’t see anything, but realized right away that it had to be an animal trying to get into the ice cream container!

I was too afraid to open the door for fear that whatever it was would get into the house and/or attack me, so I quickly flicked the outdoor light on and off and I saw just a hint of something run off beside our van.  Then I heard the noise again of the cake plate moving around but still couldn’t see anything, so I turned off the lights inside and peered out the front window.  From there I could see one of the biggest raccoons ever,  madly licking the last bit of icing off the cake tray over by our van.  LOL!  It was kind of hilarious.  It definitely didn’t look like it was his first experience with cake.  I can’t get over how big it was!  He finished up and left, and luckily James was still up so I was able to get him to go out and collect up the garbage and bring it back inside for the night so it wouldn’t be strewn over the carport for the neighbours to see in the morning!

Luckily the snow melted with all the heavy rain we got and last weekend James and I were finally able to get out for a date night.  My parents came over to watch the kids, and they brought some treats for them and we ordered pizza so they wouldn’t have to worry about dinner.  We also got the movie Denace the Menace (from the early 90s) so they had a new movie to watch (which ended up being a huge hit with the kids!)  James and I decided to transit to our destination so that we could both have some drinks.  We skytrained to New West Station and originally were going to eat at El Santo (which we’ve both heard is good) but then saw Hops Pub right at New West Station and decided to go there instead.  We liked the idea of being able to sit outside under the heat lamps, despite how wintery it still was outside.  It was so toasty warm under the lamps that we had our jackets off, so it felt like a warm summer evening!  We shared a plate of nachos and drank beer and it was just wonderful to be out just the two of us.

After that we headed over to Lafflines for the 8pm show.  We got there right at 7 thinking it would be crazy busy (we’ve only ever been to the comedy club downtown, where it IS super busy as soon as it opens!) but it turns out we actually had plenty of time to arrive and the place never filled up entirely.  We got a great little table right near the stage but off to the side, which was perfect, and we ordered drinks and chatted and it was just a really fun time.  The show itself was good, there were 3 people before the main act and one of them in particular was HILARIOUS.  I can’t remember his name but he was a black guy who was going blind and he talked about his blackness and his blindness and his delivery of everything was so funny.  It was worth it to go just to see him!  The main performer was John Beuhler and while I did find him funny at times, I could have left part way through and been fine with that.  Comedians are really hit and miss for me, and he’s 39 and single and goes on a lot about that, which just doesn’t really resonate with me.  He went on a lot about being single, the online dating world, how he feels about other people’s children, and so on...which is fine to a point, but after a while it just gets annoying and I couldn’t help but think to myself I know exactly why you’re still single!  It was just plain annoying to me after a while.  But not to the point that it was ruining my evening out, I had a great time with James and I’m so glad we went.  I wouldn’t pay to see his act again, but it was a great night out nonetheless!  It was just so nice to have an actual date night, and feel like we were out for a decent chunk of time and did something we didn’t normally do.  I also had a 2 for 1 coupon for Lafflines from the Entertainment Book, so that was a bonus, too!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Winter's almost over!

The sun is actually peeking out through the clouds this morning.  I’m really hoping the winter is behind us now, although rumour has it that it might snow again this Friday.  I’m choosing not to believe it.  

I’m so looking forward to the nicer weather, and a bit of weight has lifted off my shoulders knowing that we have the entire Spring and Summer right around the corner.  Winter is almost over!  Hallelujah!

In a few weeks Andrew will be off for 2 weeks for Spring Break.  I’m hoping it will be nice enough that we’ll be able to get our outside stuff out from storage and start thinking about using the backyard again.  I can’t wait to have our living room and off-the-kitchen room extensions back again!  So much to look forward to when Winter is done.

The girls are at preschool so I’m footloose and fancy free for another hour.  It doesn’t last long.  But it’s a little breather that makes me feel a little more refreshed for the rest of the day.

Today Andrew’s class is doing a ‘multicultural luncheon.’  We had to make something ‘from our culture’ to share with the class.  Our favourite food (aside from veggie tacos!) is Thai so Andrew joked that we should make a Thai dish and just tell everyone we’re from Thailand.  LOL!  It’s true, what is Canadian food?!  Seriously couldn’t come up with anything for that, so I made mini carrot cake cupcakes.  I even made homemade cream cheese icing that omg is DELICIOUS.  It turns out it’s unknown where carrot cake originates from, but it’s certainly popular enough here, so that’s what we did.  I’m just hoping Andrew won’t be hungry at the end of the luncheon, as from what I heard a lot of the dishes were going to have meat in them.  I told him if all else fails, he can load up on the cupcakes!  But I’m sure there will be vegetarian foods, too, and not just desserts!

Yesterday after school Andrew convinced me that we should go to the park, even though it was freezing out and I could have quite nicely just stayed home.  We were walking to a park a little farther away but then he decided we should go to the smaller park that’s closer, so we did.  The kids had a great time playing.  We were the only ones there.  I was really cold just sitting watching them, but they were warming up, with Andrew down to a t-shirt and Emily without her jacket, too.  (Margaret kept her cozy fleece on, though!)  I ended up running around with them to warm up, and we played a fun game of hide and seek, even though there weren’t all that many places to hide.  It was great to get out for some fresh air and not spend all of the witching hour stuck inside where more than likely bickering and fighting would ensue.  When we got home I found the kids quite good about playing nicely together while I got dinner sorted.

I’ve still been feeling ups and downs in terms of the blahs, but maybe it’s not as bad as it was before.  It seems to come and go.  I’m hoping as the nicer weather comes and we get out more I’ll feel even better.  

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Almost 37...

Tomorrow I turn 37.  I was chatting with a friend the other day who’s just a few days older than me, about how crazy it is that we’re already this age...In our minds we still feel like we’re so much younger, the years have just flown by so fast.  On the other hand I pointed out that one day many years from now we’ll think about being this age and it will seem so young to us, so it’s all relative!  I really don’t ‘feel old’, and I don’t think 37 is super old or anything!  But still, it feels weird to say I’ll be that age.

I want 37 to be a great year, and I want to start feeling more positive and happy and excited about life.  I feel like I’ve been in such a funk this past little while, and I have felt a bit better this past week but definitely not where I’d like to be.  

I was really looking forward to this weekend because after the leap year, I lost having my birthday on a Saturday, so this year is the first in many that I’ve had a weekend birthday.  James and I had plans to go on a date just the two of us tonight, while my parents watched the kids, and then tomorrow we’d have them over for dinner.  But instead it decided to snow like crazy, and it’s still snowing now as I type this, and so we didn’t feel comfortable with the date night (my parents are basically snowed in at the moment even more so than us since they live on a hill) so that’s that.  At this point we don’t even know if they’ll be coming over tomorrow, it all depends on the snow gods!  

I am so tired of this weather, and feeling cooped up inside all the time.  The girls and I went out front today for quite a while and I got lots of shovelling done because our complex does absolutely no plowing whatsoever and it’s just getting deeper and deeper and we don’t want it all turning to ice like it did last time.  So the girls played while I got some of that done, and then James took over.  I feel like they got some play time in the snow (Andrew is already over it since he can play in it during recess and lunch at school, and even at that tries to avoid it wherever possible!) so it’s not like there’s even any point to a family snow walk or something.  Next year I want to get a toboggan or something so we have something fun like sledding to enjoy, but for right now it’s just not happening.  

I feel like I’m at home WAY too often, I’m sick of it, and bored by almost everything at this point.  Which I know is RIDICULOUS, obviously there are things for me to do, and I’m not saying I don’t do anything.  I’m just kind of sick of the same thing all the time.  Also with the girls getting Andrew’s cold this past week, we had to break all the plans we’d made, so we weren’t even able to socialize when we’d planned to.  

I was excited that James and I would finally get some time just the two of us to go out together and I can’t help but feel blah that it’s once again not happening.  Seriously, 3 months and no date?  I just can’t believe that.  It’s lame.  It’s sad.  I don’t know how else to put it.  We do spend time together, obviously, but always being at home hanging out is getting boring.  I feel really sad that we have zero opportunities these days.

I’m blah, what can I say?!  I don’t want to be, I’m trying not to be, but it is what it is.

I hope this year proves to IMprove and be a good one.  I just need something to look forward to!

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Fiona, always in our hearts

Last night shortly after getting Margaret tucked into bed, she started sobbing.  This isn’t necessarily out of the ordinary.  (In fact, if I recall correctly she started off sobbing because she wanted a piece of cheese brought up to her and we refused to cater to that).  She’s constantly using stall tactics when it comes to bedtime, because she takes after me and has trouble falling asleep (whereas Emily loves her sleep and nods off very soon after her head hits the pillow, lucky girl!)  Margaret has even said a number of times when I’ve gone in to see why she’s not asleep yet, ‘I’ve tried and tried, but I just can’t stop my thoughts from running through my head!’  Yup, that’s me pretty much every single night, too...

So at first her sobbing was easy to ignore, but when she just couldn’t seem to stop and was muttering things between sobs that we couldn’t quite understand, James went up to see what her problem was.  (I was playing with Andrew at the time, as it wasn’t quite his bedtime yet).

I heard James ask her what the matter was, and Margaret’s reply was completely heart-wrenching.  She said (between wails), ‘I miss Fifi!’  And then I heard her explain that she was thinking about Fifi and then it hit her that she’s dead and we’ll never see her again, and it made her heart hurt.

Seriously, this is what my 4 year old is thinking about when she’s supposed to be sleeping!  I felt so bad for her, but at the same time found it amazing that her little mind is able to comprehend something so big in the same way an adult would.  Grief is hard at any age, although I know it’s not till 7-8 that it’s really supposed to hit a person (like it did for Andrew when Fiona died).  Margaret is very intuitive though, and she is so compassionate and her heart is huge.  Emily’s is, too, I’m not meaning to not include her here (twin problems - it’s always going to be a challenge making sure it’s known I’m not only praising one and not the other!  Emily also has a big heart and loves and misses her kitty cat, but Margaret does tend to think about it more deeply).  

After James consoled her for a while I went up with a little cat stuffed animal that I made for Margaret recently and told her if she was missing Fiona she could hug her stuffy.  She ended up sleeping with Pearl, our ‘Perfect Pet’ cat that looks like it’s breathing, which seemed to be a bit of a comfort to her, but she was definitely still dealing with some sadness as she went to sleep last night.  We talked a bit more about Fiona, and our happy memories of her.  We imagined what she would have done that very moment if she was still with us, and we agreed that she would probably be having her crazies, where her ears would go back and out of nowhere she’d race upstairs and into the bedrooms and then back downstairs and moan and meow.  Margaret saw the humour in that and through her tears she was also able to smile and laugh.  

She still can’t grasp where Fiona is now, which is something Emily also struggles with.  Emily will sometimes announce that we used to have a cat but she died, and that now she’s at the vet.  I keep having to explain that she WAS at the vet, because they will inevitably ask me what she’s doing at the vet and if she’s happy there.  I feel I always have to correct them on that, because I don’t want them thinking our cat got sick so we took her to the vet and left her there to stay so we wouldn’t have to look after her anymore!  I don’t know how to properly go about explaining death to 4 year olds, but I’m as open about it as I can be without totally freaking them out.  I tell them that she was at the vet, and she died there, but that after she died her body was gone.  They wanted to know where it went and in reality she was cremated but how do you tell a young child that her body was burned to ashes?  I don’t even like to think about it, in fact I feel very disturbed no matter how her body was disposed of.  It makes me feel terrible, and also completely freaks me out in relation to my own eventual death and what will be done to me, and all of us for that matter.  I’m not ‘one’ with death, let’s put it that way!  It terrifies me and makes me feel sad.  Which obviously I don’t want to instill in my children, as it’s a part of life and I know that.  I just felt uneasy about the idea of the girls focusing on this image of Fiona’s body being burnt up.  I said that when someone dies their body disintegrates over time and goes back into the earth to help other life grow.  Luckily we were able to leave it at that and they didn’t ask any more questions!

It’s been just over 6 months now since Fiona died, and while it has gotten easier in some ways, we clearly all still miss her.  The finality of death is so hard to deal with, my heart does feel heavy when I’m reminded that we’ll never see our sweet little Fifi again.  But it’s true what I told Margaret - she is always in our hearts and in our memories, and we can talk about her to keep those memories alive.