Wednesday, October 30, 2013

To Friendship...

I started writing this post several months ago and during that time it has undergone several transformations and changes of focus. Which I guess - when you really think about it - isn't that odd considering that is how friendship works as well.

Always changing and evolving. Sometimes dissolving and other times intensifying. Some require hard work and constant nurturing. Others can go months without any attention at all and still bloom at a moments notice.

My friends are incredibly important to me. For love and support and laughs and hugs and reassurance and truthfulness.

And I have to say it's very cool to have friends that represent all the stages of my life: elementary & high school, college & retail careers, first jobs, second jobs, parenting groups & school committees. As well as my friends that also happen to be my family...and well we just go way back.

As half of a couple I must say that one of the most elusive friendships to cultivate is one with another couple. It's nearly freakin' impossible because you have to account for the opinions of four people...two people too many. There is generally one half of the couple that the other one doesn't like. And so after a few half-hearted attempts at double dating the relationship fades out.

But I have broken that trend. Blown it to smithereens in fact. Because we now have not one but TWO other couple friends that we enjoy spending time with. And they like us too (I think).

Our kids get along. The girls get along. The guys all get along. This has got to be some kind of miracle. 

It's a pretty special thing to have found friends that are so important to me at this stage in my life.  I mean I know I'm not that old but I am pretty set in my ways now (as is hubby) and so I had kind of ruled out the possibility of making new friends that would be in my life forever...I was wrong.

I seriously love these people. They are my people. And in the short time they have been in my life they have made a profound impact. As I hope I have had on them as well.

And while I don't want to take anything away from the guys - because they are seriously all kinds of awesome - these two ladies...seriously...there are no words.

Until recently we all lived in the same complex and met - as many women do - at the playground.  Our kids are all about the same age and a common bond was formed.  Playdates were arranged ostensibly for the kids but also to give us a chance to chat.

Eventually those playdates started taking place after the kids went to bed and sometimes with wine. Always with cookies.  And now...I can't imagine my life without them in it.

When I was going through my recent difficult time (god that sounds cliched) I relied on both of them heavily for support and reassurance. They were there for me every step of the way - my biggest champions. I don't think I could have made it through the past two months without them.

This statement...send to me by one of them today...pretty much sums it up:

The six of us took a trip together this past weekend.  We left the kids at home, purchased copious amounts of alcohol and laughed until our sides ached.

We sat on the deck of our rented lake house looking out on views like this:

All of us relished the quiet and the fact that we got to sleep in and feed ourselves first.  And that no one was asking a stream of random questions  or asking for something to eat or calling "I'm done!!!!!" from the bathroom.

It will not be the last time that we do this. And I am already looking forward to the next one.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Power Shift

There are so many stages in parenting it's impossible to know about all of them in advance. And since I'm a planner that's been one of the toughest adjustments I have had to make.

Right now we are in the midst of a power shift. This was has been gradual and probably really started when my oldest turned 6 and started wanting to have more of a say in family decisions. Like what to have for dinner or what extra curricular activities she did or who to spend time on the weekends with. 

It's completely understandable of course and I encourage her to speak her mind as long as she doesn't throw a tantrum when it doesn't go her way. But as we make our way through this process I can now see how easy we had it before. When we just decided everything and the kids went with the flow.

I'm dealing with one of those situations now. Up until now Halloween has been a family affair....with family coming over for dinner and joining us for trick or treating.  Last year we managed to also include some of the girls closest friends in the trick or treating part.

This that oldest is 7 and her friends are pretty much the most important thing in her life...she  requested that we do dinner and trick or treating and post trick or treating hot chocolate and candy sorting fun with just her friends.  It's a decision I support but it put me in the uncomfortable position of having to break the news to those family members that would usually spend the time with us.

That hasn't been fun. Especially since I am a people pleaser. I want the people I love to be happy. I wish there was a way to ensure everyone gets what they want and no one is disappointed.

I know that's a utopian concept but what can I say? I am who I am.

That said - ultimately my most important role is mother to my girls and my most important job is raising them right.  And that means encouraging them to make choices and ensuring they know they are being heard.

And while I won't always let them choose friends over family or change long standing traditions to include friends there are times where change is called for.

So to anyone who might feel left out or forgotten or replaced when I have to make these tough decisions I am sorry. It's all just part of the process.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

84 days and counting

I have an app that tells me how long I have until I run my first 5K in January. The reminders pop up every day but I rarely actually look at it because it's makes it all too real. This morning I faced my fears and when I saw the number I did a double take...where has the time gone?

I am desperate to get back into my regular running routine. This damn hip injury is proving just annoying enough to keep me from doing that. Despite me doing my physio-recommended exercises before AND after each run I'm still sore.

My fear is that if I just 'push through' the pain I will do more damage and won't be able to run at all in January.  So I've decided to take it easy on myself and just do what I am able to do.

Last night the last thing I felt like doing after a busy day at work and an evening full of errands was run. Especially since it was foggy and cold and my running partner was unavailable. But I knew it would make me feel better so after reading another chapter of Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets with my oldest daughter and tucking my little one into bed I donned my running gear and ventured out into the mist.

Since I was running solo I passed on my usual route - which skirts close to a forested golf course and isn't all that well lit - in favour of the very busy oval track in the centre of town. There is a soccer field in the middle of the track that is always busy.

I plugged my headphones in, cranked my tunes and set off. I'm running 2 minutes intervals and was actually feeling pretty pleased with my pace last night. Running through the fog I was pretty much soaked right away. But I was powering through it.

And that's when the soccer ball hit me. Square in the side o' me head. To say I was surprised is an understatement.

I looked over at the field and saw all the players were making the "oh shit - heads up" face.  Clearly they had all been yelling at me but I couldn't hear over my music. I kicked the ball to the nearest player, shrugged a little to say "I'm all good" and kept going.

When I finished my run - 4.18km with an average pace of 8:36/km thank you very much - I had a moment where I thought about how ridiculous I must have looked as that ball hit me. Running along, no idea what was about to happen, likely lip syncing (with appropriate facial expressions) and then boom.

The universe really does have a twisted sense of humour.

Speaking of funny things I have started my research into what I'm going to wear for the Never Land 5K.  This is a runDisney event after all...I need to princess myself up.

I've been spending quite a bit of time on Pinterest looking at ideas...leaning towards this one at the moment.

via This Mama Makes Stuff

I have always liked Snow White...I mean she's the OG of the Disney Princesses. But I mainly like this one because she is the only princess that doesn't wear a tiara. And there ain't no way a tiara will stay on my head for a full 5 kilometres.

Stay tuned...more costume details to come.

Linking up with Running Bloggers for the first time with this post!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A trip to the pumpkin patch...

Fall brings along with it many traditions. One of the first that we get to enjoy is our annual trip to the pumpkin patch with my youngest daughter and her daycare friends.

We have an amazing pumpkin patch in our town. It's so much more than just a field full of pumpkins. And this year - for the first time in my memory (or at least since we had kids!) - it wasn't raining!

A great time was had by all...

I was under attack in the hay area. Wound up with 6 kids coming at me and burying me in the hay. Mine was the ringleader.

Dancing along with Korny Korn and Polly Pumpkin.

so many to choose from!

She tried valiantly to pick this one up...

...and just gave it a swift kick when she couldn't do it.

Best. Apples. Ever.
We left there with 2 lovely little pumpkins that are all ready for us to carve.  I'm still pulling the hay out of areas where hay should not be.

See you next year Country Farms!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Giving Back

This Thanksgiving was a little odd for me.  The rough times I have gone through over the past few months have made be both a little jaded and also extremely aware of the things I have to be grateful for.

As well...for the first time in a very long one in my family was planning a Thanksgiving Dinner.  And so it was that we entered this Thanksgiving long weekend with no plans and no turkey to look forward to. What to do with ourselves?

It felt like a perfect time to do something selfless. To give back and remind our girls that Thanksgiving means more than just turkey.

We decided to do a completely renovation and retrofit of the daycare Staff Room. In the Spring hubby and I (well mostly him) spent countless hours repainting the daycare that our youngest daughter attends. And at that time we were both pretty horrified at the condition of the staff room.

This was supposed to be a space where the hardworking staff that take care of our kids could spend a few quiet moments. But I have no idea how they ever managed to relax.

The couches were old and broken down. The lighting was non existent save for a florescent light above. All of the pictures were broken.  The lone window was covered by a curtain made of...wait for it...denim!

So hubby started the process of hunting down new(ish) furniture.  He put the call out to friends and coworkers and managed to score 2 couches in excellent condition, a new TV, DVD player, stereo and other decorative items. So all we needed to do was paint, buy a few other necessities and move in the new stuff.  Easy peasy right?

What we thought would take us a day...maybe a day and a half...wound up taking up our entire weekend. Thank god we were at a daycare because at least the girls had a lot to keep them occupied.

Here are some before pictures:

And the amazing afters:


The kids contributed a little artwork to the cause:

And one of the other families purchased a brand new laptop for the staff to use:

We hadn't told anyone at the daycare that we were doing the renovation over the long they came in on Tuesday morning to discover a completely different room.

A few cried (how awesome is that?) and they were all incredibly grateful and thankful. They have all said that they look forward to their break time a lot more now.

Giving back feels pretty good. I recommend you try it yourself...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The leaves are falling...

I LOVE Autumn.  It's my favourite season by far.

It brings with it sunny days where you can see your breath. Sweater weather. Wood fires on the hearth. And falling leaves.

So many falling leaves.

One of the things my kids were the most excited about with our new house was the yard.  And the fact that in the fall they would be able to collect piles of leaves and jump in them.

Sadly...our lone maple tree has not been cooperative. Dropping it's leaves at the rate of about 4 per day.  And all of those have landed on my car.

So...what to do?  Find another tree of course.  And we did just that by spending the day at my youngest daughter's daycare where the leaves were plentiful.

Oh what fun...what joy...

Welcome back fall...I'm going to go put another sweater on...

Friday, October 11, 2013

High Five for Friday - All about the kids...

Another week is in the books. Friday is here and I couldn't be happier about the fact that this is a long weekend...

According to the pictures on my phone (aka the journal of my life) this week was all about the kids. Actually...when is it not? But that is what made the highlight reel this week:

Determined Kisses:
Once little one has you in her are not getting away.

Front Yard Fun:
All you need is a little sunshine, some dry grass, an exercise ball and some pool noodles.

Sunny Days at the Park:
We tagged along to watch daddy's soccer game and of course one of them desperately needed a bathroom as soon as we got there. Luckily for us - our search for a bathroom took us to this park and it's lovely fountain. Sometimes you just get lucky...

Bloggers and Tea:
I'm slowly getting myself back into the blogging game and part of that is reconnecting with all the lovely Vancouver Mama bloggers. This latest event - all about monetizing your blog (my head is still swimming with ideas!) was held at the Neverland Tea Salon and I am officially in love with the space. Can't wait to take my girls with me for High Tea...they have a dress up trunk for kids!

Just the girls:
Ah my lovely little blondies. We are getting pretty good at this selfie thing.

Happy Friday all!

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