Monday, July 28, 2008

18 years comes to fruition today

The summer that I was 11 years old, we were living in Wiltshire, England. That same summer, I was sent away. I was to go and stay with my step-grandparents in Plymouth. I wasn't entirely sure how long I would be there, but I knew I had to go. See, my mother was pregnant and was due any day. So off I went for a time, until one day we got the call. A screaming, pooping bundle of middle of the night torture for the rest of my life beautiful baby girl had been born.

That girl, that bundle of joy now so often referred to by everyone, was named Hannah Kathleen. She....is my sister.

From the very beginning the child worked her way into my heart in the best ways. Although she was bald for a very long time, she somehow managed to be one of the cutest kids my 11 year old eyes had seen. Of course, now that I have my own children I think she has to rate third on the Cutest Kids Ever list, but I'm pretty sure she can deal with that.

Over the next few years, I became her biggest supporter and her biggest tormenter (umm...sisterly duty..duh). She followed me around, I pushed her away until I grew up enough to realise it was because she loved me and looked up to me. I was her babysitter (STILL unpaid by the way) and her defender against the evils of the world.

When I was 16 I went away to boarding school and had to leave her behind in Germany. Part of me wanted to rejoice at the thought of going away and not having to be the glorified babysitter anymore, but a bigger part of me knew I was going to miss the little rugrat. After two years of intermittent visiting in the school holidays, we all moved to New Zealand....where I promptly decided I was a big girl now and could live on my own. I could still see my baby sister though. Perhaps not so baby anymore. She was 8.

But at 21, when I decided to move back to Canada, I knew that I was making the biggest and most life altering decision of my life. Not big like "oooh I'm moving to a new country" or starting a new job, but big like "I'm leaving my little sister behind".

It's been 7 1/2 years since I left my 10 year old sister behind in New Zealand. In that span of time I've seen her only a few times.

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I am incredibly grateful for the wonders of modern technology for allowing me to keep up with the happenings of my beautiful sister. In the last 7 1/2 years she had grown from a snotty little brat little kid into a smart, elegant, beautiful, witty, funny young woman.

This girl.......no.....this woman, excels at everything she sets her mind to. Homeschooled since she was 9, she had acheived high grades and honours. She went back to school this year in preparation for university and is just as much a keener a top student there as always.

Hannah is a phenomenal musician, playing a multitude of brass instruments in more than one band. She's got a great head on her shoulders and a good sense of self. I often tell her she gives teenagers a bad name because she does her homework, cleans up after herself, is responsible and and and and and....but truthfully? I think she's awesome.

She is proud of herself (I hope), her acheivements and her devotion to her religion. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and anyone who breaks that heart had better watch out, because big sister will come to hurt you...well I would if I wasn't thousands of miles away but the sentiment is there.

My name is Meg and I look up to my little sister. She is one of the best people to enter my life and I'll be forever grateful to have her as a sister.

Hannah turns 18 today. Happy Birthday little sister. You're beautiful and I love you.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

It's a good thing he loves me. You love me right honey?

Recently Hotty Hubby has expressed some concern about the way I have represented him here on my wee bloggy. I'm not sure who he thinks is reading my drivel but he seems to be somewhat torn between laughing at the way I portray him and worrying that some RCP (that's Randomly Connected Person) will read my words and begin to see him in a different light than the one he should be viewed in - dim, preferably with a slightly coloured hue.

Until today I had laughed off his worries and told him not to be so silly. Hardly anyone reads this crap anyway, and the ones who do? Well most of them don't know us personally. Those who DO know us personally know that he is so much more than the bumbling idiot I might have deliberately inadvertently portrayed him as.

But then today, I was cruising the blogroll over at All Mediocre and one of the blogs that caught my eye was Frogs In My Formula. She just so happens to have a post up right now about how her husband is worried that everyone will think he's a jerk.

Well shit. Maybe Hotty Hubby is right? But wouldn't that mean the world was ending? And as far as I can tell, the moon is still in sky as I write this.

I haven't been doing this blogging thing very long, and often times it can be hard for me to come up with something to write about, let alone something that can be turned into a good read. I mean, I could sit here and drone on about what I did today, and how much my groceries cost and blah blah blah. But I'd like to think I have a little bit more of an entertaining mind than that. After all, the title of this blog is "Mind of a Mad Woman".

So, I've latched onto the "Mad" in said title and run with it. As a result you'll find me blathering about my spawn and Hotty Hubby. Occasionally I might throw in a little ditty about how my life would be so much better different if it weren't for the questionable actions of my mother.....or the way I got suspended from boarding school for a week when I was 16 (long story - another day). I'll even throw in a few posts here and there about my thoughts on religion, politics etc. All the stuff I hate to love.

But on the whole my blog, like my life, revolves around the strange beings residing in my house. So should I be more careful about what I say about him on here lest some random stranger read it and bring it up years later at a "Husband's Widowed by their Wife's Blog" convention? Or is it ok to continue on as I have been, as long as I throw in a few sappy posts like this one .

For the record, my Hotty Hubby is a rockin' individual who loves his kids with all his heart, despite the multiple injuries they seem to incur when with him. He also happens to love me for some strange reason and I really can't complain about that. I mean, he IS hot. Like, duh.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm better than you are...neener neener!!

I am a perfect mother. No really, I am.

Doesn't every mother, every parent wish they could say that and actually have it be true? I certainly wish I could, but the most I can say right now is that I do my best, and sometimes that just isn't good enough. And I always find myself comparing my parenting skills to that of the hippy chick in the park or the hoity toity mom in the supermarket or the stressed looking mama trying to wrangle the kids into the car just so that they can get home for some quiet time.

Why do we do this as parents? I think us mothers are more guilty of it than anyone, but it seems to be a universal trait attributed to anyone who has the misfortune pleasure of have at least one spawnlet cruising around the house. I have been in groups where all the women do is talk about other moms and how awful their parenting is.

"Oh did you see her yesterday, she was letting little Timmy drink pop. MY kids won't be getting any pop til he's 30, and that's only if he can keep his basement room clean"

"I heard she let's the kids watch more than an hour of tv a day. Those are the kids that will getting remedial classes come high school"

You know the drill. We've all heard it, and I'm sure if most of us were honest we'd admit to actually doing it on occasion. I was especially guilty of it when Ash was a baby. I thought it was something I had to do as a right of passage into parenthood or something. If I didn't do it, I would be shunned by all the other mamas at the overcrowded disorganized playgroup. Truth is, the minute I got up and walked away from the group doing the gossiping...they'd be talking about me. So, as I have progressed down the road in the last 6 years, I have tried to be better about not doing those things anymore. Well, not often.

One thing I can tell you though, is that I am a much better parent than my husband. Well duh!

It's not a case of my form of discipline being better (it is), or me being more fun (I am) or even the fact that they love me more than him (they do). I know I am a better parent purely because my children get injured faaaar more often when in his care than in mine.

When Ash was about 18 months old, I decided to take advantage of the fact that Hotty Hubby was home on a weekend and go get my hair done while he took her to the park. 2 hours later, I had the most fantastic hair ever with awesome highlights & lowlights, all straightened and framing my face beautifully. I could never have predicted how awesome I'd look...ummm.....where was I? Oh, 2 hours later H.H showed up to retrieve me before I spent a couple hundred more dollars and before I could even utter a hello he was launching into a spiel about how sorry he was and it wasn't really his fault - all while shielding her behind his legs. When she was finally allowed to peek out from behind him, I understood. My poor baby girl had her face all scraped up with bits of gravel still embedded in it. Seems H.H had stood behind her on each trip up the ladder to the slide and she had no problem. So he went to sit down for the 9th try. It would be on this attempt that she fell. Backwards. Onto her face.

"But it's ok cos there was a nurse there who checked and her neck isn't broken"

Gee you think?

Or the time that I went out for a movie with friends and returned to see him standing in the hallway all twitchy, waiting for me to open the door. "I'm so sorry. It wasn't my fault. I told her to stop". She'd pulled a cupboard (that I'd asked him to secure to the wall a million zillion few times) and it had tipped, sending a very heavy candle holder down onto her head.

"But it's ok cos I put a bandaid on her and sent her to bed"

Um. Not so much honey. See that gash there? That requires stitches.

Or the time that we had friends over (about 20 of them) for a bbq party in our new house and I left to go pick up beer so that I didn't have to deal with all the kids anymore (priorities people!). 15 minutes later I returned to hear "HIDE THE BOY!! She's back!!"

Lots of scurrying, some whimpering from CJ, and "I'm so sorry! It wasn't my fault! He just FELL!" CJ fell of the kid's picnic table in the backyard and smacked his eye. Big, swollen, black & blue.

"But it's ok cos I put some ice on it and fed him some pop!"

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See? I am the better parent. When they are in MY care they just fall backwards off bus stop benches and crack their skulls, walk along the backs of couches & fall off onto hardwood floors and fracture their arms, bounce on their beds and crack their jaws on the headboard when they fall, or run out in front of cars multiple times.

What kinds of interesting injuries have your children had? And who is the better parent?

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Are we going to play with our friends balls today??

I spent much of my youth in the UK and on British Air Force Bases in Germany. Needless to say, most of the tv we watched was British. Eastenders, Coronation Street, Blackadder...all sure to entertain the adults. But what about the kids? What did the little ones watch?

Obviously, there was the normal cartoon fare that we all grew up with, but the British also have a flare for adding a little something special to the tv listings. Nowadays there's the creepyover-inflated Teletubbies and Barney, both of whom would be better off as roadkill reel in the kidlets like a moth to a flame. But back then, there was Rainbow.

Like many of you, I have a soft spot in my heart for the dry British humour which they seem to be able to execute with the perfectly deadpan face. They are also pros at injecting the sexual innuendos and double entendres into everything they say and do. Apparently, when they weren't shooting the kids shows, they needed something to occupy their time so they shot episodes that, well, weren't altogether PG if you knew what their meaning was.

And so, without further ado (and to take the place of the witty post I had intended to write before extreme fatigue and writer's block struck me down like lightning to a tree, I bring the 18A version of Rainbow.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oh what a journey...

Dear Ashlee,

I first suspected I was pregnant with you for the normal reasons....which will be explained to you at a more understanding age. I wandered around the grocery store's pharmacy section for almost 30 minutes before I gathered the courage to actually touch the shelves holding the wide variety of pregnancy tests.

When you're older and get to see the movie Juno, you can picture your mother in that same role, just a few years older. I pissed away, quite literally, about $60 in preggo tests. That a big huge you're pregnant dumbass plus sign appeared on the first one was not evidence enough for your mommy. No sirree Bob. I needed to take at least 5 more to make sure some asshat in the next stall over wasn't putting some weird mojo over on me in some extraordinary attempt at a joke.

Having finally accepted the fact that there was indeed a bun in the proverbial oven, I then needed to find a way to tell your father. As proven with the multitude of pee sticks used, I can take awhile to get to the end result. Consequently, I have officially known you for 3 days longer than Daddy has. There are days when I wonder if this is a good thing or not, depending on your attitude to life in general.

You have made life incredibly interesting from the get go my dear. This last year has proved no different.

It was incredibly difficult for me to send you off to kindergarten in September. To hand you over to another person and trust that they would care for you, teach you and not kill you when you screamed at them for looking at you the wrong way for the umpteenth time in row, was one of the hardest things I have had to do since birthing you (which by the way hurt like a mofo). I consider myself incredibly lucky that you ended up with Mrs. Shortt for a teacher, the woman has the patience of a Saint.

You have grown from a Dora loving, Treehouse watching pre-schooler with a temper to rival that of Beelzebub himself into a girl who worships Hannah Montana and has a temper to rival...oh yeah...Beelzebub. Your relationships with everyone around you are deep and profound. You care for your friends with all your heart and go out of your way to see them happy. Even your relationship with your little brother seems to be blossoming in some ways. You have graduated from the pinching and scratching when he looks at you, to just hauling off and punching him directly in the head. His screams of protest seem to give you great delight and even a stern warning from me is just a drop in the pond of words to you. The boy follows you around, worships the very ground you deign to tread on with those big boat feet of yours, and on the odd occasion you acknowledge his presence while in public (because heaven forbid any stranger see you interact with him), that mere act sends him over the edge.

I sometimes worry that there is a teenager stuck in your small body. When you roll your eyes at me and sigh for the third time in as many minutes to really emphasize the fact that you do not in any way care for what I am telling you. When you stomp up the stairs and slam your door to the sounds of my "If you slam that door one more time I'm going to haul it off it's hinges". When you scream that you hate me.

Those worries are all overshadowed by the beautiful, smart, loving girl that you are growing to be. Yesterday when I heard you reading "Room on the broom" to your brother, I caught a look on his face that was just pure awe. His big sister was reading to him, spending time with him....slumming it for just a few minutes. You have caught the reading bug from me, and it makes me so happy to see you sitting with a book, soaking up the knowledge and using your imagination to fill in what the pictures don't show you. Somehow you inject princesses into almost any story, and it seems almost plausible that the witch on the broom might have come across a princess who can kill the dragon.

You recently had your very first sleepover which caused me to lose sleep for the days leading up to it. It just couldn't be possible that I had a child who was old enough to sleepover at anyone's house that wasn't direct family. There was nobody that old in MY house. I had babies for cripes sake! You and Hope were up very late that night, constantly coming down to both Auntie Tif & Uncle Dan. It made me smile to know that you were so very happy and having fun.

I'm still rather in denial about this day. 6 years ago today I was holding you in my arms and snuggling up to the most beautiful baby girl I had ever had the pleasure of seeing. Today, you are still that baby girl. You always will be.

I wish you the happiest of birthdays today. Daddy and I love you so very much. I wish I could bottle up the energy and joy that you carry with you every day, if only so that I could keep up with you.

You are an amazing little girl.

I love you

Mommy

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Vampires, long weekends and kissing girls....

It was brought to my attention recently that I am currently living life rather like those of the undead persuasion. At first, I couldn't decide whether or not to take offense at this, but have since decided that given my current career choice and the effects of the weather of late, that these people could perhaps be correct.

In case I have forgotten to mention in the past, I work at night. When all of you are tucked safely in your beds dreaming of whatever it is that rocks your boat (for me it's a cross between Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy right now), I am hard at work performing my duties as a Night Auditor for a local hotel chain here in sunny Victoria. Alright, "hard at work" might be stretching the truth just a tad but I'm working for at least part of the night. I arrive here at 11:30pm after a mere few hours of evening napping time, and I do the financial balancing act that is required of me and fax in a few reports. This takes me til about 2am and then I find myself actively searching out things to do. Often it is harder than one would think. Ideally I would like to tuck myself into a corner and sleep, and logistically it is possible. Problem is, all I can hear is my mother's voice in my head telling me how incredibly wrong it would be for me to do so. And so instead I prop my eyes open with toothpicks and listen to CMT all night in an effort to stay awake.

When I mentioned to friends that I was taking this position, I think it just confirmed in their minds that I am indeed insane. Why on earth would any smart, non-crazy person take a job like this when they have children at home? Especially with summer vacation coming up?? Um, because now I don't have to pay for daycare of course. That's the stock answer I give everyone. And it's true....mostly. No more paying $1200+ in daycare fees every month. Instead, the only thing I am paying is the devil. I had to trade in my beaten and battered soul to be able to stay awake for the peanuts I'm making in a business I did not go to school for. Is it worth it? Sure. I sit on my ass for 8 hours a night and get paid for it. I watch tv, I read my books (vampire themed oddly enough) and I blog away. It's 5:30am right now and here I be.

So, I am up all night and attempt to sleep during the day - tres bloodsucker no? Another point in favour of that theory is that I burn when the sun comes into contact with my skin. I kid you not, today I took the kids to the playground to run off some energy and in the first 10 minutes of being there, despite the copious amounts of sunscreen I had drowned myself in, I was a beautiful shade of crimson that rather reflects the intense screaming pain that I am feeling in my back on and off. The spawn, on the other hand, had hopped out of the car and shedding their clothes as they ran, had promptly gone about 10 shades darker brown and now look as if they could pass for the child from the Jungle Book.

Clearly they get their colouring from Hotty Hubby and I have to ask how fair this is. Why could my mother not have thought 30 years into the future and married someone who might actually provide me with some sort of gorgeous skin pigmentation to compliment my naturally blonde hair and blue eyes? Would it be too much to ask? Harumph.

In other news from the land of the bloodsucker (that'd be me, for those who are a bit slow)....it was Canada Day weekend here this past weekend. This means tons of tourists come up here with their fanny packs and their socks & sandal combos (MAJOR fashion faux pas people...come on!) and they walk as slowly as possible around this city of mine, and take in the sights. Victoria is a beautiful city to visit, and this weekend was glorious. The Tall Ships were in town for the first time in 2 years, and the sun was out for all 4 days. The street performers were raking in the dough, and the vendors who populate our inner harbour peddled their wares to the unsuspecting crowds.

(**side note...if you ever come to Victoria in the summer months, be sure to keep an eye out for the Darth Vader violin player....you'll have really seen it all then**)

A note of advice for all you folks who might be planning trips, to anywhere, in the near future. If you are going somewhere for a weekend...especially a holiday weekend....and plan to stay in a hotel - BOOK A ROOM IN ADVANCE. Now, I'm not one to complain (much) as quite honestly some of these people gave me something to do at 3am....but wouldn't you think that if you knew you were going to be somewhere and need a hotel room that you'd reserve one? Just a thought. Every single hotel in town filled up fast and some of the high end places were charging upwards of $400 a night for their rooms. Bloody ridiculous, and yet people were paying it because they hadn't had the foresight to reserve ahead of time. Well, consider me your foresight!!

On a final note... have you heard this song? Katy Perry is a rather, umm, eccentric girl to say the least but the vast majority of her music is pretty decent. Her most recent song is getting a LOT of air time here and has become the new fave song of my soon to be 6 year old daughter, temporarily replacing Hannah Montana. As she belted this out at full volume in the backseat of the car the other day in the grocery store parking lot, it prompted a round of glares and "tsk tsks" from the old ladies waiting for their taxis. The old me would have turned the radio off and told Ash to stop singing, for fear that I be judged on my poor parenting skills. Now? I turned it up and sang along with her. Look at me! All growed up!


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