23 May 2007

This morning, though only 3 hours old, has had a number of frustrations. We got a late start to the morning, I almost got sideswiped by a dumb driver, and Lily wouldn't stay in the cart at the grocery store.

After unloading my groceries in the car, though, the whole tone of my morning changed. An elderly man who was headed in the opposite direction with a cart of his own offered to return my cart for me. I'm not sure if he was prompted to perform the kind deed because it was the gentlemanly thing to do or if he was taking pity on me since I was pushing the cart with one hand and toting Lily around with the other.

Whatever his reasons, it made me happy. Small moments of kindness from strangers are very touching, and I'm a total sucker for chivalrous acts. It's amazing how one small gesture can have such an effect.

On a totally different note, I got too close to the patchouli oil when I was sniffing it and I got some on my nose. Now the whole world smells like patchouli to me.

18 May 2007

So, Nick came home from school today yet with another brochure about a summer camp. I think this is the fifth one so far. While I think some of them look kind of nifty (especially the soccer one) I haven't looked into them much so far.

The one today, however, was rather exceptional. There was the run-of-the-mill "drop off your kids each morning for a week and we'll do fun stuff" as well as a "week at the beach" camp. As I looked at the beach one, I saw that the campers are to be dropped off on Monday morning and picked up on Friday night. They're to head out to Alberta Beach and spend the nights in the dorm-type facilities. Next, I noticed the camp is open to children who are currently in grades 1 through 6.

Who in their right mind would send a six-year-old off with strangers for FOUR NIGHTS??! Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable sending Nick on any type of overnight camp without a parent there, but I'm willing to see that there are other kids his age who would be up for one night. But four nights? Heck no.

I'm totally blown away by how many camps and activities there are for kids during the summer months, most of which have early drop offs and late pickups so children can be kept occupied for up to 11 hours each day.

I look forward to spending the summer months with my kids doing fun summer things. There are beaches, playgrounds, the back yard, hiking trails, and campgrounds which are ours for the visiting.

When I look back on my childhood summer vacations, my memories are made up of eating popsicles in the backyard with the neighbor kids, building sandcastles at the beach with my brother, going camping with my family, and so much more. The days ran into each other and I delighted in not even knowing which day of the week it was.

That's the stuff summer is made up of, not getting out the door at 6:30 each day to get to camp or spending a week away from home at the age of 6. But hey, that's just my opinion.

15 May 2007

There are moments of parenting which leave me speechless. One of them just passed when Nicholas ran across the house. He was chasing Lily with a toy ark yelling "Look out! Noah's coming for you!!!"

As I wrote this, I heard him saying "But that was our only chicken!". *snort*

14 May 2007

Today was my first day on phones for the La Leche League call line. Any moms in the area who called the central line were given a message with my phone number, and I took their calls.

I was quite nervous this morning about how things would go. When I returned the first mother's call, I couldn't help but notice the scared little voice in the back of my mind warning me that any minute this woman would find out she was my first helping call and she'd realize I didn't know anything.

It turns out, I actually DO know stuff and the more I talked with moms the more I realized this. Of course, I called a couple of other Leaders and conferred with them to make sure I was on track and had offered enough information, but I was impressed with the fact that all the things I've read were actually in an accessible part of my brain. I had answers about things like frequency of bowel movements in newborns, the length of time alcohol is present in breast milk, the signs of proper milk supply, and typical feeding schedules of newborns.

So, at the end of the day I talked with four mothers (one of them twice and one of them three times), I had three missed calls who were likely other mothers, and I made six calls to other Leaders.

My kids were absolutely batty.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the way children behave while their mothers are on the phone, here's a brief outline: Mom is distracted and her hands are busy. Try to get away with as much as you can before she gets off the phone.

During the time I spent on the phone, they got into a water fight with the garden hose, Lily first dug through the mud in a flower pot and then stuck her hands in her smoothie, Nick threw foam blocks at Lily as she wore a garbage can on her head while jumping in the bed, and Lily got hold of my pen and wrote on her face, her pants, my arm, my papers, and the kitchen table.


I've now sent out e-mails to three of the moms I talked to today and I'm thanking my lucky stars I only signed up for two phone days this month. It's satisfying, but very intense.

On that note, my aching jaw has an appointment with some scotch and some ice.

13 May 2007

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!!

My day has been fabulous so far. Liam took Nick downstairs at 6:30 and they returned sometime after 8 with breakfast for me. We discovered that Lily follows in the footprints of all true Johnstones and has a great love for bacon. Mmm...bacon.

11 May 2007

Liam's coming home today. I'm just a tiny bit excited.

Ok, that's a lie. I'm hugely excited.

Between Beaver camp on the weekend and the business trip this week, I basically haven't spent any time with him since last Thursday evening. It's the longest we've been apart in the almost 4 1/2 years we've been together, and it really really sucks.

I've realized a few things during the week, aside from the typical "Oh, I really do depend on him" and "I value his company a lot".

Firstly, I've never really been on my own this much before. I've never lived on my own. I went from living with my parents to living with a loser boyfriend and back to living with my parents again until Liam and I were married. I've been the only adult in the house for 7 days, other than friends and family who have visited. It's very strange and I think I'm really not the type of person who would enjoy living on their own. Granted, if I were single I'd be out working or going to school during the days so I wouldn't be as alone as right now, but the evenings are a little too hollow for me.

I've also realized how much of my cooking I do for Liam. Not in that he eats all the food I cook, but I put effort into cooking meals as a way of taking care of him. This week I've been cooking plain veggies for the kids and popping frozen meatballs in the microwave. I've been picking at leftovers and whatever the kid's aren't interested in, and many of my "meals" have been eaten over the sink or at the computer. It's really kind of pathetic, isn't it?

I've had a return of my independence this week. I've been doing things like getting Nick to the bus in the morning, washing the dishes, taking out the trash, and other jobs that Liam always does. It's nice in a way to be reminded of the fact that I can be reasonably self-sufficient. I was much more stubborn about being independent early in my relationship with Liam and over the past few years I've come to depend on him to do more and more for me. While it's good to know that I can do these things for myself when I need to, it makes me happy to be cared for in these little ways and I get a lot of satisfaction in taking care of him in return.

09 May 2007

I have nothing intelligent to say at the moment and I need some giggles, so here are some pictures to share.

06 May 2007

On Friday night, Lily and I stayed overnight at my parents' house. I was helping out with our LLL Group's garage sale until 8pm then I had another shift starting at 9am, so staying over made more sense than driving back and forth.

Being out here (yes, I'm back out at their house again today!) has brought up so many memories. Sleeping in my old room and sharing my old bed with Lily was so similar to when Nick and I lived here that it made me a little sad for how much he's grown up and our lives have changed. As I took a walk around the subdivision and pushed Lily in Nick's old stroller, I was brought back not only to five years ago when he was her size, but also way back to 17 years ago when my family and our old dog took our first walks in this area.

So much has changed and new people have entered our family, but retracing my footsteps brings those memories back with an almost painful clarity. Remembering my dog running in the ditch, I can't help but also remember her final moments as she rested her head on my feet. Thinking about playing outside with my brother, I suddenly feel the distance between us as he and his family live out their daily lives in another province. Watching videos of his daughter last night only made the gap seem larger.

The biggest moment of nostalgia, though, came for me when Lily and I joined my parents at mass on Saturday night. This is the church I've attended since it was built, in 1988 or so. My First Communion, Reconciliation, and Confirmation all took place within those walls. Nicholas was baptized on the altar, and Liam and I stood not too far from that spot when we made our vows to each other before family, friends, and God. During mass, I looked around the congregation and my heart was so filled with love as I saw the familiar faces of so many friends and acquaintances. While I may live in houses, that church is truly home to me.

I spent much of that hour holding back tears as I processed so many memories while feeling the loneliness of being separated from Liam. I felt so out of place without him by my side. In the past, I stood with my parents. In the present, I stand at Liam's side. In that moment, though, he was out at camp and now he's gone to San Francisco for the next 6 days.

Today, I'm back at my parents' house again for a community event and I've spent the past two hours in silence as I've been waiting for Lily to wake. I'm not quite sure how I'm feeling. I'm not happy, but I'm not unhappy. I think I'm just feeling awash in so many emotions and memories.

And now I hear Lily's voice telling me she's awake. Back to the hustle and bustle of reality.

04 May 2007

If you're reading this and you're the praying type, please say a prayer today for a friend's baby. As I type this, she's about two hours into surgery. She has a heart defect and is receiving a donor heart valve today. Another surgery will be done at a later date to correct the rest of the problems.

Her name is Allie and she's such a precious little baby. She's looking at a long recovery and two months in hospital after this surgery.

03 May 2007

Somehow, things seem to happen all at once.

Today, for instance, I'm packing up and dropping off stuff to donate to our LLL garage sale, taking the kids out to my parents' place, and leading my first LLL meeting which I'm still not done preparing.

Tomorrow, I need to pack Liam's and Nick's things for their Beaver camp, send them out the door, pack my overnight things, and work the LLL garage sale.

On Saturday, I do another shift at the garage sale and pack Liam's things for his business trip to San Francisco. Sometime around midnight the guys will get back from camp and Liam will try to squeeze in a few hours of sleep before heading to the airport around 5 am.

To top it all off, Lily has decided that sleeping is for chumps. The past few nights have been filled with a lot of wiggling, crying, and screaming. All things that make for frazzled moms and dads. Yee-haw.

01 May 2007

While some people consider being an at-home parent to be boring (or at least potentially boring), I don't find it boring in the least. Maybe it's because I don't have time to get bored, or maybe it's because no two days are ever alike and it's often difficult to predict how the day will play out.

Today, for instance, I had plans to buy groceries and then come home and clean the heck out of the house. My Mom was coming over for the afternoon, so it was the perfect opportunity to get work done while an extra set of hands occupied the munchkin.

I started off pretty much how I'd planned. I got the guys out the door, Lily and I had breakfast, then we got ready for our day. I then spent some time doing some meal-planning (as a side note, I've vowed never again to leave this task until grocery day when Lily inevitably ends up wanting all of my attention). I combined my meal-making shopping list with my previous running list of all the things I'd thought of during the week. As another side note, I realize that I'm totally anal about my grocery shopping lists. I use an entire sheet of paper and divide all my items up into what section of the store they're in. If you've ever been grocery shopping with a toddler you'll understand.

We were off to the store at 8:45. The next hour and a half was filled with stuffing things in my cart, crossing things off my list, and keeping Lily entertained so that she'd stay in the cart. To her credit, she did amazingly well for being in a normal cart. I always get one of those funky carts with the steering wheels for her, but I went with a regular one today in order to pack in as many groceries as possible. It was, after all, 15% off Tuesday and I had to take full advantage of the discount.

Once we made it back home, Lily and I snacked on the groceries as we started putting them away. She discovered that some of the rice crackers were very spicy and I re-discovered the beauty of corn nuts. After getting enough food in Lily to make me happy, I bundled her upstairs and convinced her to sleep.

I took a lunch/computer break for a bit then went back to the kitchen...again. I spent an hour putting food away and re-arranging the fridge and pantry to my liking. My Mom showed up shortly after bearing gifts of spelt flour, nutritional yeast, and coleslaw (the flour and yeast had been on my list but weren't at the store).

The next 3ish hours, minus a short break to pick up Nicholas from school and the soccer jerseys from the soccer office, I spent cooking supper and cleaning up. The outcome was fantastic, as Liam's eyes so clearly said at the supper table. It made it worth all the work. I made BBQ pork chops in an impromptu marinade, garlic mashed potatoes with kale, spaghetti squash with stuffing, and coleslaw. The kids bounced between our food and their alternate supper of rice, veggies, and turkey (some days it's just not worth the fight!) and Lily ended up devouring half of my pork chop.

So, out of the 12 hours I've been awake, purchasing, preparing, and storing food has taken up about 8 of those hours. Whew! I wonder how much I'd be making if being the family chef was a paid position...

One more hour until the kids have bedtime snack. It just never ends, does it?

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