Thursday, May 29, 2014

Adjusting

That is pretty much the word of the day month my life right now.  It feels like every day I am adjusting to something new.  That everything in my life is a little different than it used to be.

And that's because now I'm doing it all by myself.

Now before you feel too sorry for me. I am defintiely not all alone. I have an amzaing network of friends and family that would drop everything to help me if I asked them to. I am a very lucky person in that respect.

But none of those amazing people are a parent to my children. They love them...for sure...but it's not the same as sharing the day-to-day care and responsibility of the kids with a partner.

In years past I have often said that "single parents are my super heroes". The few times that my husband would go away and I had the girls on my own I would sing the praises of those that did this all the time. But I always knew back then that there was an end date to my life as a solo parent.  That one day he would be home.

I have no reassurances like that anymore. There is no end date. There is no guarantee this is not my life for good now. And let me tell you that is a very sobering and scary thought.

If we need groceries - I have to go shopping.

If I don't feel like making lunches (and I never ever do!) there is no one else that is going to do it for me.

If one of my girls has a nightmare - I get woken up and have to cuddle and soothe them back to sleep.

This is a serious adjustment for me. Because even though - in reality - I used to do all that stuff anyway when I wasn't on my own...I knew that I had a back up if I needed it. There was always the option to pass the buck.

Add to this major change the fact that I am also adjusting to being a self employed and working at home and my schedule is all kinds of messed up!

In fact...I'm pretty sure I never had a proper schedule to begin with. Me thinks that might be the problem.

I am very lucky in that when I struck out on my own in business I secured 2 great clients right away and they keep me very very busy. But finding a balance between both jobs as well as trying to meet the needs of my kids and manage a household on my own has been nearly impossible. There was no way I could do everything...

Let's just say my vacuum and I barely know each other anymore.

And I have convinced myself that the bathtub is self-cleaning.

Don't judge me...I'm adjusting.



Monday, May 26, 2014

Another Whistler Adventure

Last year we spend a weekend in Whistler as a family.  This year I took the girls up with my friends instead.

I must admit it was somewhat bittersweet...there were many moments where the girls talked about "last time when we were here with daddy..." and each time it felt like a little punch. Such is my new life.  A series of little punches to the gut as constant reminders that all is not the same.

Now...with all that said...we still had a fabulous time.  And our travel companions were fantastic company...





I'm going to give you a massage Mummy...

...and I'm going to use a grape to do it.

Okay then...first time for everything!


successful spoon hanging...
You know...I'm beginning to think that the sign of a good weekend away with the kids is proven by a lack of photos. Because this is all I had after 3 days of fun!

Not documented by iPhone - but enjoyed by all - were walks through the village in the rain, spending the afternoon at the local community pool (complete with lazy river and rope swing), shopping for gems and rocks, then breaking the first set of gems and rocks and buying more.

Thanks for another great time Whistler.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pat-A-Cake Sisters (Throwback Thursday)

My kids love watching old videos of themselves and today we found one that we had never seen before.

This has to be one of my favourite ages for both of them.  Old enough to play together but not yet old enough to get on each other's nerves.

Most ridonkulous game of Pat-a-cake EVER!



Ridonkulous Pat-a-cake from Kelly Duran on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Next Stop: Kindergarten

This week was a big one for my littlest. We went to Kindergarten orientation.

I think all of these milestone moments feel a lot more significant as I experience them with my youngest child. The first time around they were exciting and this time that excitement is tempered with just a little touch of sentimentality. Because I know I am experiencing them for the last time.

She is my last baby. This will be the last time I attend kindergarten orientation. It's equal parts liberating and sad for me.

Of course from her point of view this is the start of a whole new adventure and she is more than ready. She was ready to go last year and can't wait to join her big sister at school.

And it will be different for us this time around as well as the teacher is new to us. I LOVED my oldest daughter's kindergarten teacher.  She was young and enthusiastic and so very very good at her job. I was so sad when she left the school and I realized that my little one would have different teacher that would ease her into the world of education.

I'm keeping an open mind...but I'm also just a teeny bit worried. I want her to love school as much as her sister.  I want her to be excited to go every day.

I can't wait to see what September has in store for us...

 
 
 
  


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Four Musketeers (Throwback Thursday)

My girls and I spent some time recently going through all of my photo albums.  Their favourite is the one my Nana made me for my 8th birthday because they love trying to guess who the people are.

FYI...they are almost NEVER right.

Every time we go through it I love seeing all the pictures of my brother, me and my two cousins. I love to see how much time we spent together and how much fun we clearly had as a group.

And in almost every picture my oldest cousin has her arm draped protectively around me. It's so awesome. I was the baby of the group and clearly her favourite.

Even though many years have passed since these pictures were taken we are all still very close and that makes me so happy.

I think it might be time for us to stage a re-take of some of these. Especially the one where we are squinting into the sun at the US/Mexico border.

Ahhhh...memories.

 




Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Living Room Concert Hall

My girls love to perform. And I love nothing better than when an impromptu dance recital or concert busts out in my living room.

Of course it is still all Frozen all the time so I wasn't surprised when they came out with this sign...






I'm proud to say that when they were done I did a seriously kick-ass lip sync version of the song myself.  It was Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon good. And it made my girls smile and laugh which was the best reward of all.

Happy Wednesday all!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Rainy Run - My BMO 8K Race Report

Well it's been over a week since I finished my first 8k race and my legs are just starting to feel normal again.  So I figure it's about time I wrote my race report.


I have to admit I was hoping for a much better experience at the BMO 8k. I was super stoked when I signed up to push myself to a longer distance but with all the life changes I have been going through my training regimen took a hit. To the point where I had only run once in the 3 weeks leading up to the event. That didn't have me very confident...

And of course...Mother Nature decided to mess with all us runners and DUMPED rain on us. And living in Vancouver when I say DUMPED rain that's saying something.

I was up early to drop my friend off at the Half Marathon starting line by 6:30 and after leaving her to deal with the rain I made my way back to the Canada Line to head downtown to my starting line where I was meeting my running partner at 8am.

My race didn't start until 9:30 and so suffice to say we were cold and miserable the entire time we were waiting.  The only cover provided at the start line was under a giant tree.  I felt like I was part of a frat prank...how many people can you fit under this tree?

We stayed warm by laughing a lot. And generally annoying everyone around us.



One benefit of getting to my starting line early was getting to see my bestie run by at her 13km mark.  She was killing it and I was super proud to see her go by. I was so excited I totally forgot to take a picture. (boo!)

I feel like a half marathon is so far away from me at this point that I was in awe of all the people running by with smiles on their faces. Bonus: I got to see one of my friends from elementary school run by too. Talk about perfect timing.

Finally...it was our turn. And as soon as we started I knew it was going to be a long slog for me. Every muscle was tight and the air was so cold and wet I could hardly catch my breath. Still...we battled through along what was still a beautiful route despite the rain:



 




 
holy crap was I happy to see this sign!

so happy we needed a selfie to capture the moment.
 

As we neared the finish line I was so done.  I just wanted to stop moving. But of course I also realized that there was no way I could walk across the finish line.  No...I needed to run across it...hands raised in triumph...a smile plastered on my face.  So I ran the last 500 or so metres.

And that meant that instead of my hands raised in the air in triumph...they were clamped over my mouth trying to keep me from puking all over my moment of glory. It almost worked. It was just a little puke. I totally didn't even need the medic that offered me help to help me.

Alas...it wasn't the finish that I had dreamed of...but I so proud I actually finished. Actually...strike that. I think given all the circumstances I'm even more proud that I started. Because the draw of sitting in a warm Tim Hortons was strong that morning...

My prize for starting and finishing?  My first metal medal...isn't it pretty?



I was so glad to have my running partner with me for every step. She walked with me when I needed a rest and encouraged me at every kilometre marker.

Oh...and I am so super proud of my amazing friend for finishing her first half marathon that day and totally crushing it!  She was my superhero...



I can't even imagine running 21.1K. One day maybe...because that was the goal when I started this whole running journey. 

But for now my 8k accomplishment will have to be enough. At least until stairs are no longer my mortal enemy.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

Today was my first Mother's Day as a (currently) single parent and although a large chunk of it was actually spent with my husband and other family...it felt decidedly different.  And I figure that's because I am decidedly different.

Last Mother's Day I got my first tattoo. The word "love." on my wrist.  And 12 months ago that word had a completely different meaning to me. I thought I had all the love I needed and would have it for all eternity. The love I was thinking of as the word was permanently etched into my skin last Mother's Day is love that I no longer have or that has at the very least evolved into something much much different.

And so it was - as a result of the evolution of my life and my love - that I found myself waking up solo this Mother's Day to the sounds of my girls watching TV in the other room.  After getting chastised for waking up "too early" and thereby interrupting the Clone Wars marathon - they told me to return to bed so they could prepare.
I had low expectations of what they would do for me as they would either be attempting something on their own or asking for my help in my own Mother's Day pampering.

Once again I underestimated my kids. I had set the coffee maker to auto brew and my oldest used oven mitts to pour it when I warned her it might be hot. Youngest poured me a HUGE bowl of cereal and even remembered the milk and the spoon and they served me up a right proper breakfast in bed...all on their own.


Complete with handmade Mother's Day cards and crafts it was everything I could have hoped for and more. 

The rest of the day was spent with family - both our own little family of 4 and my extended family - and there were some really lovely moments:






This is my favourite picture of the day...four generations:


As I tucked my little girls into bed they both showered me with kisses and I love you's and I realized that no matter how much I may change and grow through my journey...being their Mummy is the most important thing in my life.

And I should never forget that...

Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing women in my life! Those with kids of their own and those that treat my girls as if they were their own. 



Saturday, May 10, 2014

From you I learn...

There have been so many times when my kids - through their words or actions - have taught me a lesson.  And yesterday my oldest daugther did that in a big way.

It was talent show day at her school and my dear girl had gathered up the courage to audition with a friend to sing "For the First Time in Forever" from Frozen.  She was thrilled when they were chosen to perform at the big show.

And was even more excited when another friend asked her to be a back up dancer in what was chosen to be the closing number for the show. 

She practiced everyday.  She carefully chose her outfit and asked me to braid her hair so it would be "curly and beautful" on performance day.

She showed no signs of butterflies on the morning of and couldn't wait to perform.

We arrived early to get front row seats and I saw in the program that she would be 17th out of 24 acts. And so we patiently waited through the first 16 acts for her turn.

As soon as she took the stage I could tell something was wrong. I thought it was stage fright. She wasn't her usual exuberant and dramatic self. She sang with a kind of monotone and stood with her arms at the side.

And then she started to do the dance....

Every parent knows this dance well. She was shifting weight from one foot to the other. She had to pee. And she was only halfway through the song.

I felt so incredibly helpless. I know my daughter. I know that as soon as the dance starts she needs the bathroom immediately. Not in a minute or two. I knew what was about to happen and I could do absolutely nothing to stop it.

And sure enough - 10 seconds from the end of the song - it happened. She left the stage in a quick walk and I made a beeline for her.  We headed straight to the washroom.

She was in tears...red with embarassment.

"Mummy...I peed on the stage. I couldn't hold it. Did everyone see? Does everyone know?"

Oh how I wanted to turn back time.  To make it so that my girl wouldn't have to deal with any of the fallout from this.  I tried to reassure her. I told her that I was sure no one knew. I told her to wait and I would go and get her change of clothes from her cubby.  (thank god we had a change of clothes)

As I exited I saw the principal and told her what happened and begged her to clean it up as discreetly as possible. She said she would.  But when I returned with the clothes and looked into the gym there were two boys on stage with mops. So much for discreet.

I took my girl her clothes and saw she had managed to pull herself together and then she surprised.

"Mummy," she said in a very clear and determined voice. "I need to get dressed quickly so I can dance in the last number. I can't let my friends down."

And in that moment I knew she was much stronger than I had ever given her credit for. I would have run in shame. Begged to be taken home right away. There would have been no way you could get me back on that stage. But she was better than me. She had promised her friend something and she wasn't going to disappoint her.

So she dressed, washed her face and we headed back into the gym.  Where she ran straight over to her friends and waited patiently for her next performance.

And she nailed it. Smiling and dancing and performing like nothing had happened.

It was one of my proudest mummy moments. And much to my joy I realized when I got back that most people didn't realize what had happened.  They all thought she felt sick from nervousness and ran to the bathroom because she was going to be sick.  And because the mops didn't come out until two acts after her most people didn't even connect it to her.

After the concert ended the principal told her how proud she was of my girl getting back up on stage and bouncing back.  And we all echoed her thoughts. And I told her that if anyone had noticed and said something that she should brush it off.  And we agreed that she would make sure to use the bathroom before any future performances. 

I still don't know if there will be any fallout from this...time will tell if she will be branded as the "girl who peed on stage at the talent show." But I know we can deal with anything that comes.

And honestly I'm just glad this happened in grade 2...and not high school.





Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Teacher & Student

As my girls and I adjust to having more time on our own together there are times where I need them to occupy themselves so I can get something done.

At first this led to more arguments, etc. as they tried to assert themselves as the boss.  But lately I have noticed they have gotten into a much better rhythm.

Little one is learning that her sister sometimes just needs her "alone time" and is actually giving it to her. And my oldest has discovered that her little sister can actually be a pretty cool companion.

Recently I left them at the kitchen table with markers and paper and stickers while I finished off a work project. And instead of hearing them argue over the crafts I heard patient instruction and words of encouragement.  When I poked my head in this is what I saw...




They worked on that book together for almost a half an hour without any arguments. And it's in moments like these that I feel like maybe I got this parenting thing right.

For a few minutes of peace at least...


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Playing hooky (well..sort of...)

One of the best perks about being my own boss is the ability to set my own schedule. When I first started talking about starting my own business I knew that I had no problem working 8 (or more) hours a day.  I just didn't want them to have to be from 9-5.

And so that is how I found myself playing hooky in order to spend a random Wednesday with my girls and one of my besties at the Vancouver Aquarium.  And it was wayyyyy better than sitting in front of a computer.

The girls were thrilled when I told them that we were going to skip school and daycare for the day so J could make good on her Christmas gifts to them.  Sea Otter Experience for my oldest and "you can buy anything from the gift shop" for my youngest...who was too young to accompany her sister.

I love days like this. Where you feel like you are kind of breaking the rules (but aren't really) and you let your kids think that they are total rebels...



We arrived at the Aquarium thinking it would be super quiet. We were wrong.  Apparently Wednesday is a hot day for school field trips.  Lucky us.

But we were in no rush and meandered our way through all the exhibits.  And boy was there a lot to see.





FYI...in all my years of coming to the Aquarium I have NEVER seen the octupus this active.  He's usually tucked away in a corner looking like he's sleeping off a good meal. But not today...oh no...he was moving like crazy.  At one point he shot himself directly headfirst into the glass.


We figure he's testing the glass for weaknesses as he plots his escape.  I wish him luck...


Eventually it was time for M to head off for her behind the scenes tour of the world of Sea OttersAs she was learning all about what Sea Otters eat and how they interact and how much hair they have on their bodies...my youngest and I headed out to the enclosure to stake out a good spot to watch her feed the animals during the show.

And a perfect spot we did find.  And the smile on her face never wavered. Even when she had to pick up the slimy, stinky "fish parts" to throw to them.




It was hard for anything to match the excitement of the feeding after that...but the penguins, sharks and alligators helped a little.



 Then we found a place in the "amphibian" area where you could put  yourself right in the heart of the action.



Finally...it was time to leave...but not before youngest got to make her "big purchase".  I had a feeling we were going to be bringing home a new stuffie...and she didn't dissapoint.

Welcome Waddles to the family.

Side note: as we made our way from the car to the Aquarium we came across the old Polar Bear enclosure and I was immediately taken right back to my childhood.  I loved coming to see the Polar Bears...



All in all...a good day was had by all.  And after bed I was sitting at my computer with a hot cup of tea and some great memories...doing the work that totally could have waited for me all day.

This working at home thing and me?  I think we are going to get along famously...

If only I could remember to eat lunch. One step at a time...


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