Grateful – #blessedin2013

What a wonderful outlook to have.
What a wonderful outlook to have.

Way too often, we let all the crap that happens in life bring us down.  Sometimes life is hard.  Sometimes it’s really, really hard.  There is no doubt that everyone today has something or other to deal with.  Something that keeps us from saying “life is perfect.”

Yes, sometimes life sucks.  And sometimes we look around us and we feel like we are alone in our misery and that no one understands.  Trust me when I say that is not true.  We all have times of despair, and if you feel bad, all you have to do is look around to find someone that has it as bad or worse, who has been there before, or will go there someday.  No one is immune.

In the meantime, it certainly helps to look around you and count your blessings.  Remember all the good things you have in life to be thankful for.  I made a New Years resolution this year, to post on Twitter every single day of 2013 something in my life that I’m grateful for.  I’m going to use the hashtag #blessedin2013.  I’m sure that some will be profound, but others may be as simple as someone thinking about me or doing something for me in a tiny little way that made my day better.

Life is hard sometimes.  As human beings I truly believe it’s in our nature to care.  To care about what happens to us, and to other people.  It affects us.  But if you stop and add up all the good things in your life it helps.  It may not take away all the bad stuff, but it may help make that bad stuff just a bit more bearable.

I wish you all the best in 2013.  I hope it is an amazing year, filled with wonderful things.  I hope you’ll join me over on Twitter and remember for yourself all the great things you have to be grateful for.

#blessedin2013

 

Countdown to Christmas

ChristmasAh, Christmas.  Truly one of my most favourite times of year.  Growing up, Christmas was always big in our family.  Pepere loved Christmas.  He really got the true spirit of what it is supposed to be about.  I am so grateful that he passed this on to us.  I know that it is because of him, and in turn my Mom, that Christmas is such a special time and that it means so much to me.  I hope that I can pass this on to my son and someday to my grandchildren, so that the spirit of Christmas stays alive in our family.

I know that some people don’t like Christmas because of how commercial it has become.  I agree that for some it has become more about what you need to buy, and what you have to do.  I also think that Christmas – like most everything else – is about what you make it.  Yes, it’s commercial, but in my home, it’s still about the same old thing:  getting together with your family, eating and drinking lots, listening to some Christmas music, and exchanging a few gifts.  The commercial part of it only gets to us and bothers us if we let it.  The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in our home as we sit by the tree and enjoy a glass of eggnog.

I also know that Christmas can be a very tough time of year for some people.  Those that have lost a loved one, those that have loved ones that they can’t be with.  Those that don’t have the money for gifts that wish they could buy tons of things for their loved ones but can’t.  I remember the Christmas of 1996.  Our first Christmas without Pepere.  That was the hardest Christmas ever.  The thought of sitting around the tree celebrating when the focal point of Christmases past was no longer with us – seemed like a crazy thought to us all.  I’m sure my mother would have taken a sleeping pill and slept through the whole thing.  None of us were ready.  So the whole family up and went to the Dominican Republic for a week that year.  And two weeks the following year.  Was it nice?  Of course.  Did we have fun?  You bet.  Was it Christmas?  Well…..kinda, but not really.  It was great, but when Christmas came around the following year, I think we all knew it was time to face reality, and to have Christmas continue on.  I wasn’t married yet, but I had started seeing Joe, and I knew that I would want my children when I had them to experience Christmas as I had growing up – and not decorating a palm tree with lights.  Not that palm trees and sandy beaches aren’t great for some, but it wasn’t Christmas to me.  I knew that if I wanted my child(ren) to experience the wonderful type of Christmas I grew up with, it was up to me to give it, just as my parents and grandparents had given it to me.

So here we are, December 2012.  Some of my shopping done (much of it online now – thank God).  I have plans to do my baking this week, I’m doing a craft with a friend this weekend and having folks over for dinner and doing a family Christmas too.  We’ve written and mailed Nicholas’ letter to Santa and the decorations are up.  I’m excited.  I’m excited to watch my little guy get excited about Christmas, and talk to him about the Advent wreath and light a candle with him each week.  I love the lights, and the smells, and the feeling that comes with finding that perfect gift for someone that you love.

I hope you all have an amazing Christmas season.  If for some reason you’re not loving it, or you’re hurting at this time of year, or missing someone, or bah-humbuging about something, I’m sorry.  I hope that you will find joy in your own way.  Be thankful for what you do have, for the people in your life, for the joy in Christmases from the past.  I learned a very important lesson back in the Christmases of 1996, 1997 and 1998:  we all have in mind what Christmas is supposed to be.  Sometimes things happen in life that just don’t make it possible.  In order to be happy, I think we have to try to work with what we have, and be willing to accept that things change, and we need to change with them.  I know that I will never, ever have the Christmas that I had growing up again.  But that’s okay, because I’m not supposed to.  As a wife and a mommy, it’s now my job to make it the best it can be for my family.  That may not be exactly what I had growing up, but aspects of it will be there, along with special touches of our own.

Love to all this Christmas season.

Peace.

All that Thanksgiving crap…

Booze? Yeah, I'm thankful for booze. But I'm more thankful for what this bottle represents.

Ah, Thanksgiving. One of my favourite holidays of the year. I know, you're thinking – this is going to be one of those sappy Thanksgiving posts where she shares all the things in life she's thankful for. Alas, you are correct.

So where do I start? Because seriously, the list is long. I'm pretty sure it would exhaust any polite reading threshold you may have and have you clicking on to find that perfect pumpkin pie recipe, which I happened to make the other day. Try this, it was very good.

Obviously the list starts with family for me. Family of course is multi-faceted, with a few branches. The first provides my foundation, my parents, grandparents, and everyone else that comes with them. I have been very fortunate to come from a very loving, supportive family. Each and every one of them made me who I am today. My parents are the most amazing people I know. They have been there with me every step of the way throughout my life supporting me and being their awesome, amazing, generous selves.

Of course family for me has branched out to my amazing husband with whom I just celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss with last week. (See champagne, above). It hasn't all been roses, there have been times where mutual neck wringing has been considered. But I wouldn't change a thing. Every single moment of our marriage has brought us to where we are right now. Solid, happy, and possibly more in love with each other than we were 10 years ago. He is my other half, and I am so thankful for him, and the extended family he has brought into my life. Every day I wake up and make a conscious decision to work with him. To work on us. For us, and for the family we've built together.

Speaking of what we've built together, no list like this would be complete without the one thing I am most thankful in the world for: my son. Nicholas has brought so much joy and so much light into my life. I love that child so much that it doesn't seem like I could possibly love him any more. Then, remarkably, I wake up the next day, and I do love him more. He is an amazing kid, and it has been such a gift to watch him grow, and I can't believe how lucky I feel every single time that child calls me Mommy.

In addition to family, I am also blessed to have several good friends. If you're reading this, you know who you are. Some I've literally known forever, and some just a few years, and various amounts of time in between. However long I've known them, I have an amazing support system. I have no blood sisters, but I have several women who I could not love more if they were my sisters. I've learned a lot about friendship over the last few years, and incredibly lucky I am to have each and every one of them love me for who I am, no matter what.

I have several other things to be thankful for. My health, I realize how important that is. Employment for Joe and myself. In today's economy, we are both fortunate to have jobs that put a roof over our head and food on the table. I'm thankful for all the pleasures I enjoy in life, and that I'm physically able to enjoy them – cooking, reading, music, technology – all those little things that shape my life. I'm thankful for them all.

I hope you all are able to come up with a good long list of all the things you're thankful for. And if you've read this far, I'm thankful for you too.

Gobble Gobble.

;

Tired. Very very tired.

I could just totally nod off.

I’ll admit, since the end of August, I’ve been going through quite a few emotions. I had an amazing vacation, though it was very busy, and I spent much of it worrying about Nicholas starting school. September has been all over the place, we’ve been busy with friends and family, celebrating Birthdays, getting Nicholas off to school. He has been three days now (he still goes every other day) and seems to be doing okay. Considering how he normally is, the fact that he’s getting on the bus and going to school at all is a huge thing for him.

So it’s been busy, emotional, and I haven’t been sleeping well. I have no problems falling asleep, just staying that way. I’m very restless. So because of that I spend half my time yawning.

Partially, I think it’s because this has been such a huge change for Nicholas – cutting out the afternoon nap, starting school, he’s been tired and very cranky sometimes. I think being overwhelmed with this whole thing has been part of what has been causing some of the constant meltdowns that we’ve been dealing with for the last couple of weeks.

Things should improve though. Nicholas is getting a little better every day with school, I’ve got some time booked off in October for a little mini-vacay to Niagara Falls for Joe and I to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. 10 years! Wow. I see a blog post in the making there.

Not much else to pass on, just providing a little update on how things are going because I know I haven’t checked in for a while. I have to start making some amazing food or reading some fabulous books so I have more to talk about than my boring old life. 😉

Hope you’re having an amazing Friday, and have a wonderful weekend. I’ll leave you with an amazing video that I first saw this morning. It’s from the X-Factor UK, and it’s a guy named Christopher Maloney, who is so nervous he can hardly audition. His story, and his audition make me want to give him a big hug. He’s so talented, and so humble. What a wonderful story.

Calm Before the Storm

Content at one of my favourite places to be – the beach.

What an awesome vacation I have had.  Relaxing, calming, amazing.  I’m on Day 7 and I have spent 5 of them so far by a body of water – either the beach or a pool.  It’s not over yet, so there could definitely be more.  I’m actually counting on it.  To say I’ve got a tan is a bit of an understatement.

The best part has been the time that I’ve spent with my son.  We’ve always been two peas in a pod, but this week it seems like we’ve gotten even closer.  He starts school next week so as you’ve read before, it was very important to me to make this week amazing, and I think I have.

Sometimes I find that after a vacation, I feel like I need another vacation.  Usually I feel that way.  This time, not so much.  I’ve spent time cuddling, laying on the beach, reading, floating on a pool raft, stretched out on the sand staring at the water rolling in.  I feel relaxed, I feel content, and I feel like I’m ready for what lies ahead.

The storm is coming.  That storm is called: Nicholas Goes to School.  He says he is excited, he says he is looking forward to school, to the bus ride, and all that stuff.  But he doesn’t get it.  He doesn’t really grasp what is coming.  That he is going to be out there on his own.  No Mommy, Daddy or grandparents to cling to.  He is such a shy little boy.  We go anywhere and he meets new people and he literally clings to me until he warms up.  We were at the beach the other day with Joe’s parents and I literally moved ten feet over from where he thought I should be and I heard him yell “where’s my Mommy??” as he ran up to where his Nana was sitting.  Once he realized I had just moved over a bit, he came over and put his arms around me and said: “you’d never leave me, right Mommy?”

Talk about breaking my heart.  Because I have to tell him that of course I would never leave him.  Then I have to go and betray him as I make him get on the school bus by himself.  Make him spend the day at school without me.  I try to explain to him that of course I would never leave him alone without someone there to look after him.  That even when I’m not there, there will always be someone to turn to if he needs something.  That even when he goes to school and I’m not there, he will have the teacher, and all the other kids there with him.  He won’t be alone.

But come the first day of school, I know he isn’t going to understand this.  He’s going to be absolutely devastated.  I know that he’ll be fine.  I know that once he gets used to school and gets into the swing of things, that it is going to be amazing for him.  He’s going to make friends, he’s going to grow in so many ways – socially especially.  It makes me so excited to think about all the things that he is going to learn.  The world is laid out at his feet and it’s all there for him to possess.  He’s so lucky.  We just have to get over this little hump called the first day – week – month – of school.

But now, it’s Friday night.  I have three more full days left of my vacation.  Lots of time to soak up some more sun, and some more cuddles from my little guy.  I’m not going to dwell on that first day until I absolutely have to – on that day.  I’m not going to ruin the rest of my vacation worrying about the inevitable.  I’m going to make the absolute best of it.  For all of us.

Vacation – Day 4 – Update 1

I could set up a hut and live here.

Officially, I guess this is day two, if you don't count the weekend. But considering I was on vacation starting on Friday at 4:31, I count the weekend, so today is day four.

As most of you know, my four year old son is getting ready to start school next week. So it's very important to me to make this week awesome and spend lots of quality time with him because it is his last pre-school summer. He'll never be a not-gone-to-school-yet kid again after next week. He doesn't really realize it, but there are huge changes coming for all of us. So it's extra important that we have a great week.

So far, so good. Saturday we went up to Port Franks and spent the afternoon and evening with family at their cottage. Nicholas had an awesome time playing with his cousins, two of whom he's going to be attending school with. We spent the afternoon at the beach (pic above) and it was really really great.

Frolicking in his grandparents' pool

Sunday we went in to spend the afternoon with Joe's parents and go swimming in their pool. Another great day in the sun, in the water, with family. We've certainly gotten our share of vitamin D this summer, and we're loving it.

Yesterday I took a couple of hours for myself and met a friend for breakfast. We had a nice visit, lots of laughs (as usual) and I returned home feeling refreshed and content.

Today was the busiest so far. Nicholas had a dentist appointment, and sat in the chair like an angel while the hygienist cleaned and polished his teeth, and the dentist came in to have a look. No cavities for him, and we were so happy that he seems to enjoy the dentist almost as much as his parents do. Yeah, we're weird.

After his appointment we went into London and had some lunch, and then strolled around the mall for a bit before going to see a movie. We saw Ice Age: Continental Drift. It was cute, and funny. Nicholas fell asleep, but mostly because he had been up early and was pretty tired.

After the movie we did some shopping, including some school shopping for him. A very productive day all in all.

I've got some plans for the rest of the week, including a couple of beach days. I want to take advantage of the amazing weather we're having. I hate to say it, but winter will be here before we know it, and the beach days will be over for another year.

My big plan for reading for the week was to start an finish Steve Jobs' biography. It's been pretty busy, so I haven't had much time. I'm only about 50 pages in. I'm hoping I'll get some reading done on the beach this week.

I hope everyone is having a great week. I'll check in with some more tidbits later. I feel you all trembling with anticipation. 😉

 

Burn…Baby Burn!

Meh…

The picture above was from the fortune cookie I had yesterday at lunch.  It kind of struck me when I read it…how enthusiastic am I – about life?  Lately it seems – not very.

I mean, I’m happy and everything.  I am content with the way things are going.  What have I got to complain about?  Not too much!  I just sometimes really feel like my get up and go – got up and left.

So here it is – past mid August.  Here’s my mid-August resolution: find the excitement again!  Grab life by the ba….uh…horns, and don’t let go!

Part of it might be that I need a vacation.  I have my much anticipated first week of vacation the last week of August.  I’m starting to feel a bit burnt out I guess, and need some time away from the day to day.  Hopefully that helps.

Hope everyone is having a good Friday, and a wonderful weekend ahead.

Peace. 🙂

The Next 10 Things About Me

Earlier I posted an entry called 10 Things About Me.  In it, I indulged myself in my love of lists, and my sheer self-centeredness, by posting 10 random facts about me – cause everyone must be interested in that…right?  No?  Oh.

Well, I was looking over that list and I realized that there were a lot of random facts about myself that I missed!  Heaven forbid!  How will you all sleep at night not knowing what they are?

So for the mental health of my readers, and to indulge myself even more….without further ado…all breathe a collective sigh of relief….here they are – The Next 10 Things About Me.

11. I love tennis.  I don’t play it so hot, but I love watching it.  I didn’t know a thing about the game until I met Joe.  Wouldn’t cross the street to watch a game.  Then I got into watching it with him and once I understood the scoring, got to know who the players were and understood the game on a whole, I love it!  I’m so glad I gave it a chance.  I particularly enjoy the mens tennis.  Nothing against the women, I love watching them play too.  I just slightly prefer the mens.

12. I am obsessed with personal hygiene/beauty products.  Soaps, body washes, bubble bath, lotions, creams, facial cleansing products, make up, polishes, scrubs, sprays, gels…on and on and on.  Get me in a store like Bath and Body Works or Sephora, and you have to drag me out.  Ask my husband.  It’s an addiction, but I smell nice.

13.  I seriously love giraffes.  Seriously.  They have to be the cutest animals ever!  Have you ever seriously looked at one?  What amazingly cute faces they have!

14.  It is my dream to one day volunteer to teach adults to read.  Reading is such a huge part of my life, it boggles my mind to think of the adults out there in the world that are making their way through life without knowing how to read.  To be able to give someone that gift, even late in life, would be a true gift to me as well.

15. Speaking about books, I’m really weird about mine.  If you’ve ever borrowed a book from me – which doesn’t happen very often – you’ll know.  I usually provide a ziplock bag and bookmark for the borrower to use.  When people break the spines on books and fold over pages to keep their place, or place a book open face down on a table – it drives me crazy.  Look after your books people!  I’m also pretty particular in that when I have 4 or 5 books in a series, I like them to be the same – either all hardcover, or all paperback, the same cover version on each as well.  Odd, I know.  Just me.

16. I really hate gardening.  One of the first things I would do if I won the lottery tomorrow would be to hire a gardener.  I love flowers, but hate the work that goes along with it.  I’m hoping that as I get older I acquire a love for it….

Moving on…

17.  While we’re on about what I hate, I really hate carrots.  I really REALLY hate cilantro.  Both of these things I have tried to eat, over and over.  I see other people enjoy them, and I want to enjoy them too.  I buy carrots, have carrot sticks, baby carrots, dip, the whole bit, and I just can’t stand them.  They’re even worse cooked.  Ugh.

Then there’s cilantro.  Even the slightest bit in something makes it almost inedible for me.  I can’t handle it, I can’t swallow it.  Ironically enough, I love salsa.  I have no explanation for this.

18.  One thing that really pisses me off – the bottled water isle at the grocery store.  WE HAVE PERFECTLY CLEAN DRINKING WATER RIGHT OUT OF OUR TAPS.  Yes, I get a water bill, so I pay for it, all the more reason to drink it!  I use a Brita filter and reusable glass or stainless steel water bottles.  Sometimes I will buy water from a service, mostly as a back up in case of a water main break (we have had 2 in the past couple of years) but only with returnable bottles.  You go to the store and buy a case of water for $2.50, that came out of somebody else’s tap, somewhere else, just for the sake of convenience, and you think you’re getting a deal?  What about the waste??  Those disposable plastic bottles pollute the air to make, and even if you do recycle them, there are so many that don’t.  Want the full story? Take 8 minutes and watch the video The Story of Bottled Water below and see if you still feel the same about buying your case or two of water from the supermarket each week.

19.  I NEVER carry cash.  So if you’re planning on mugging me, don’t.  It won’t get you anything, except perhaps a fabulous handbag.

And number 20, in case you didn’t know…..

20.  I’m hot stuff.

I’m always hot.  I don’t handle heat well.  If it is kind of hot or humid in a room, my body seems to absorb all of it and pour it out my sweat glands like crazy.  If someone in the room is going to feel the heat, it’s going to be me.  I love being cool.  My favourite thing is to walk out of a really warm building or room outside on a day when it’s like 14 degrees Celsius, with a t-shirt and jeans on.  The relief I feel is unparalleled.

So that’s it.  That’s 10 more things about me.  You must know everything, right?  There can’t be more….or can there?

Stay tuned. 😉

Sometimes I Just Wanna Hang Out With Me

Just my own tootsies in the sand

What I'm about to say might make me sound like a horrible person. It may, but it's the truth, so here goes….

Sometimes, I just wanna be alone.

I have a wonderful life. I'm fortunate to have an amazing husband, a healthy, smart, active 4 year old son, phenomenal parents and extended family, and some of the worlds best friends. I have a job that isn't exactly my dream, but I enjoy it, I know it well, and it's close to home, which allows me to spend more time with my family. My bosses have been good to me, and in return, I try to give everything I can.

I know that my life could be a million times worse. Just take any of the things that I mentioned above and reverse it. So what the hell have I got to complain about? In reality, nothing.

Except one little thing…and here is where I become a horrible, selfish person.

Sometimes, I just wish that I had a few hours all to myself, where I can do what I want, and not be responsible for anything. To sit and read my book without having to yell at my kid to leave the dog alone. To not hear: “Mommy, I need _________.” To not have to jump up to let the dog out because she's barking at the door to go out or come in. To sit and read my book, or blog on my iPad without my husband choosing that exact moment to tell me what happened in his day or ask me a million questions about mine. Don't get me wrong, I know how incredibly lucky I am to have these things. To have a wonderful child, and a husband who wants to share his day with me and hear about mine. I get that. I really do.

I just want a few hours. In bed, by a pool, on a beach, in a park, wherever. I have an active social life. I get out. I spend time with my friends, I have a book club meeting once a month. But during these times I'm with people. The thing I'm craving is ALONE time. Just to be me, be with me, do me things. Then, after those few hours are over, I want life to go back to exactly the way it is now. I'm cool with that. I'm more than cool with that. I want my life to stay as it is, I just need a little bit of solitude every so often.

That's it. Not bad, all things considered, if that's my biggest complaint. I think, talking to other women, that I'm not the only one who has these feelings. I imagine that there are men out there that feel the same way as well. I'm pretty sure that some time alone with me will make me a better me, a better Mommy, a better wife, a better friend.

I'll test that theory and get back to you. 🙂