Wednesday, December 30, 2009

When it's all said and done....

Another Christmas has come and gone.

It was good. Actually it was great. It was one of those years when I got the one thing I wanted most and didn't think I would. Sean bought me my DSLR. Now I have to learn to use it. I'm snapping on average 200 photos a day and of those maybe 20 are keepers. Oh well, I'm having fun with it. I get a free one hour lesson at Blacks so in the new year I'll do that.

The kids had a blast. We tried to keep it a little more low key. The girls are getting older, out of the toy stage and quite frankly, I'm astounded by the sheer amount of *stuff* we gave away last year and don't want to bring more *stuff* in. Connor wasn't quite on board. He didn't like his morning ritual being messed with and it took him until close to lunch time before he was willing to open some gifts.
Next year he'll get it.

A few surprises this Christmas as well. From the two people I thought would stress my Christmas out more than anything. One was my brother and the other was my brother in law.

My brother and I are not exactly on the best of terms. He's chosen a path for his life and his come on hard times and while I feel bad for him, I also can't help someone who won't help himself.
But my brother was sober, as was his wife and before he left he made a point of apologizing to me for screwing a lot of things up this past year.

Whether or not this is a turning point for him, I don't know, but I hope so. He was always my favorite brother and I would love to be able to have him back in my life.

The other was my brother in law. Also an alcoholic and again, I expected his visit to be a drink fest.
And again, I was pleasantly surprised.
He spent more time with the kids than with the adults, playing with them, hugging them, getting to know them. It was nice to see and so nice for the kids because you can never have too many people to love you or too much family.
He also did something that will forever change my once clouded opinion of him. He offered me and my mom both his condolences.

He doesn't live close by so this was the first time we'd seen him since my dad passed away. He could have very easily ignored the obvious, swept it under the rug and not said anything, it was after all, 6 months ago. But he didn't. The first words from his mouth to me were how sorry he was for my loss, how at these times it is the strength and love of our families that get us through. And he said the same to my mom. It made her cry and he felt awful for it but he needn't. I'm sure my mom also appreciated the fact that he remembered and offered his love. I sure did.

The only thing that could have made this Christmas more perfect would have been having my dad here.

And so, we get ready for another year. I can't wait to see what it holds!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Christmas!

Christmas, christmas time is here, time for joy and time for cheer.....

I'm having trouble finding my Christmas spirit. The house is decorated, the presents are wrapped, the plans are made...but I'm only halfway feeling it.
I'm sure tomorrow night will be better, loading the presents under the tree and spending an hour getting Connor's tool bench together while I watch "It's A Wonderful Life." I see the networks have screwed my plans this year because "Miracle on 34th Street" is on at the exact same time meaning I either flip channels and watch half of both movies or stay up until 1 am to watch both. Another compelling argument on why I need a PVR.

Well, if I don't catch you before then...

Merry Christmas....everyone.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's time for the holiday illness

One of my daycare kids came down with Hand Foot and Mouth disease last week. When I was talking to her mom I joked that I wasn't too worried, it wasn't like I'd never spent a Christmas with a sick child before.
I can remember so very vividly, Emily's second Christmas. Sean bought her a really sweet burgundy dress. I put it on her and she promptly vomited all over it. Since then she's had a couple of Christmases of feeling crappy. So has Mary.
For that matter, Sean and I don't escape it either. The year I was pregnant with Emily the prenatal vitamins were doing one hell of a number on my stomach. And one year Sean was so sick I went to my mom's alone and he nearly passed out on the bathroom floor in the apartment.

Well, now it's Connor's turn to carry on the tradition. He's been a little off. He didn't get nap yesterday (more on that later) and hasn't been eating well. Today again, he only napped for 40 minutes or so and again, didn't want to eat. He also complained about his feet hurting but I thought he was stepping on toys or stubbing his toes. (bad Mommy!)
I was looking for a fever, one of the first symptoms.

No fever but as I cleaned his hands after supper I noticed the blister on his finger, and then another and another. And his lower lip is riddled with them. My poor baby.
This isn't like a flu, I don't know what to do for this. The girls never had this and I don't know anyone personally who has. My online friends have been great, many already having gone though it but I hate seeing him hurt and I can't make it better. I just hope it's not too horrible.

So, let's talk about the bed.

My little firecracker Mary Jo was at it again. Yesterday a friend came over for coffee. Her kids came to daycare here and while we were always friendly I prefer not to get too social with clients when they are clients...it's just makes things....harder. So anyway, when they moved we got much more friendly.
So the kids were in the playroom and Connor was napping. But when they all get together they are loud. LOUD. And it was too cold to banish them to the backyard. So they woke Connor. Which made him a grump.

I had a splitting headache last night and Mary Jo, not having been outside all day (she needs that time) was being loud and silly and loud. And she gets Connor going and the two of them can bring the roof down. So finally I asked her to go into Connor's room to play with him, where I wouldn't hear it so much.
I got by the room and see Mary Jo flying off the headboard and onto the bed. She knows full well this isn't allowed. No sooner do I say to her "Mary, that's enough" does she go flying off the headboard again, onto the bed and SNAP, the frame of the bed breaks right in half.

I saw red. I don't think I've ever yelled so loud.

I'm better now. Sean has fixed the bed. It's cosmetically a little ugly but his comforter will cover the crack. But at least it won't fall apart and he can still use it.

And the work on listening begins. After Connor feels better.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Karma

I have always been a firm believer in it (despite it being against my religion) What goes around comes around. You get what you deserve. Evil out brings evil in.

I should not take such pleasure in the pain and sorrow of others but I just can't help it in this case. Because finally.....after waiting so long.....

I knew that eventually the little skank would get hers. I just had to be patient. And Sean called me from work this afternoon and gave me a wonderful Christmas present. He told me that the little scuzz bucket had a jumper. (for those out of the lingo loop, that means someone committed suicide in front of a subway - more importantly her subway)

And while I feel terrible for the person who thought their life was so worthless that they needed to do that, I also take great joy in knowing that the little skank is going to forever suffer with the misery of that image. That she will be haunted forever. That a little bit of that smug joy has been wiped from her face for the rest of her life. Good. But it's still only about half of what she deserves. And, of course, I take even greater pleasure in knowing she will not be working for many many months now so I can breathe a bit easier.

I am a firm believer in Karma. And I know I will likely get it in the rear because I am taking such pleasure in her pain. But I'm sure it will be so worth it for the pain she caused me. Please don't judge me to harshly for I am really a good, decent, caring and loving person. But some people just aren't worth it.

Heehee.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Olympic Torch Relay

It's not secret I'm not a giant sports fan. I barely give the Olympics a second glance. I am proud that Canada is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics though thrilled to death it's not being held in Toronto and equally as glad that I don't live in Vancouver.

But there is something once in a lifetime about it all and we got some of that today. The Olympic Torch made its way past our house this morning. I guess that's one of the perks of living on a major street. There are few reasons I would voluntarily wake up at 5 am or worse yet, wake my kids at 5 am but this was one of them.

We waited out in front of the house and watched the police escort lights come up the street. We saw the bus drop off the torch bearer who was going to receive the pass at the corner. We walked down and snapped some pics, Emily got to have her picture with him. And at 5 am, the whole neighbourhood was still asleep, except us and some of the torch bearer's co workers.

And unless you were actually keeping track, I'm sure not everyone knew it was going to be passing by at that hour so I'm sure some of the 'hood was not impressed when the Coke trucks and the RBC trucks came by blasting music and yelling and cheering over megaphones.

So the pass off of the flame happened 100 feet from my house. Definitely not something you see every day, we'll likely not see it again,. How cool is that! It was worth the 5 am wake up call. I got lots of pics, though most didn't turn out too fabulous. Here's a few




Mary Jo being none too pleased with being up at 5 am



Emily and the torch bearer (I think his name was Ken)



The torch coming down our street


The pass off


The bump



Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas

It's going to be a strange Christmas this year. The routine will be a little off. There will be an obvious spot at the table as our family comes together for only the second time since my Dad died.



I've been wrapping presents. I'm a gift bag hoarder and use and reuse gift bags until they are practically see through. So as I'm relabeling these bags I'm coming across so many of them that say "to Jean from Mom and Dad" or "to Emily from Nana and Papa" and it occurs to me that none of the tags will say that this year. And it's stupid but I almost don't want to take those tags off, like I'm preserving the memory of the last gift my Dad gave me or the kids.

It's very similar to the blow I felt when I read Sean's birthday card. It said "love Mom C" and though my dad was still alive, she knew (we all knew) it wouldn't be long (two more days in fact) and I guess she just couldn't bring herself to sign his name.



My mom got a Christmas card last week while she was out of town. Just between you, me and the lamppost, I didn't give it to her. It was from a neighbour. She wrote in it "To Lyn and Jim"

We laughed about that last Christmas when she got my dad's name wrong. This year though it wasn't so funny. Sean and I decided to throw the card out...partly because they didn't get his name right but also because they obviously didn't even know he passed away. Had his name been right, I may have just left it there for her but it was almost like a double whammy and I didn't want something that is intended to make someone happy to bring her down.

Of course, after I threw it out I second guessed myself. But then when mom came home there was a card from the Palliative Care team at the hospital and she barely got through the first sentence before breaking down. I knew I'd made the right choice.



I did drop a note along with my Christmas card letting the neighbour know that my dad passed away. At least we won't have the same issue next year.



But it's not all sadness and gloom around here. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year and yes it will be different and I'm sure it will be hard for my mom...but I also know my dad wouldn't want us sitting around feeling shitty and spoiling Christmas for ourselves, or more importantly for the kids.

So we will celebrate this Christmas just like any other but with a new tradition. A toast to Dad.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Too much distraction!

I have tried 4 different times to write this post and something always comes up. Ugh!!

So Mary has turned the big number 7. Crazy. It's crazier to me to think that much of what I see having gone wrong I noticed from the day she was born. Don't get me wrong, because I know how that sounds...nothing that has ever gone wrong has anything to do with her and I wouldn't trade that kid if my life depended on it. It's just that the decline started there.

My Mary Jo. She is, as was described by one of her friends Dad's yesterday, one of a kind. She's energy from 7 am until 10 pm. She's got her own style, her own personality and she is an unmatched leader. I will never worry about her being led astray by friends, but I worry for her friends be led astray by her.
I love that kid like crazy and wouldn't change a single red hair on her head. It goes too well with the red plaid skirt and blue paisley blouse. heehee

We had her birthday party yesterday. It was a gymnastics party, again. 4th time now. She loves that place. I love that it's pretty cheap and the kids aren't in my house wrecking it!
She invited 12 kids. 7 showed up. 4 didn't even RSVP. That bugs my ass. How hard is it to pick up a phone and say "sorry, we can't make it" Then I have to buy pizza for these kids, make loot bags, and have enough cake on hand because you know the one time I don't, they'll show up.
I made a giant snowman cake. It looked awesome. Mary doesn't actually like cake (I know, what's up with that? See what I mean about unique...a 7 year old who doesn't like cake) and two of the kids there have peanut allergies (and while I'm sure it was fine I can't guarantee the cake was peanut free since my kitchen is not) so that left only 5 people eating cake and two didn't want any. So I came home with most of the cake. Oh well.

We're working on potty training again. Yesterday Connor peed in his royal potty (it sings when you pee in it) He was so proud and jumped up and down. This led to the discovery that if he peed in it, it would not only sing but he could pour the pee in the toilet and flush it (flushing is a very big deal) So he would sit on the potty, pee just enough to make it sing, dump it and run back (the potty was in the playroom) yelling "more pee!" He did this 12 times in 15 minutes.
I was so impressed with the bladder control. I thought for sure he'd figured it all out.

He threw me for a loop though. This morning he peed on the floor (right next to his potty) three times in 10 minutes.

Try again.

Time to get the Christmas tree unpacked.

It's the most wonderful time of the yeeeeaaaaarrrrr.......

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Well don't that put the 'wink' in co-winky-dink

Today on my way home from school I stopped at a store to buy a Christmas present for someone. I won't say where because it would be a giveaway to that person who may well read this but it's a store I wouldn't typically be in. So as I was in there I thought, hmm, wouldn't it be funny if 'so and so' just happened to come into the store right now and saw me. How would I explain my presence without giving away the fact that this person's gift is coming from here.

And on that train of thought I got to thinking about something that happened many moons ago. A random coincidence that I always thought was kind of funny.

When Sean and I got engaged we registered at the Bay. We had the usual, fancy dishes, linens, appliances. Nothing special or spectacular. Practical but nice. Now I can't remember the reason why I called but I had to call the person working the registry desk one day. While I was on the phone with her she was seeing a customer. I can still remember the conversation like it was yesterday. The customer gave her an itemized list of what she had purchased from the registry, it was several sets of bathroom linens. The woman asked her the name of the person on the registry and the person said my name! Clear as a bell and then I realized why the person sounded so familiar. It was my best friend/maid of honour!
I never mentioned it to her, that I heard her at the store buying my gift. I don't like to ruin surprises (hence the reason that every Christmas/birthday/anniversary, etc I act oh so surprised at my gifts from Sean despite the itemized list he was given a month before.

Though, I guess, Judes, if you're reading, now you know. That day, 12 yrs ago when you were buying me the lovely burgundy bath towel sets....I heard you at the store and I knew. It didn't ruin the surprise though, kind of fun for me to have a stupid secret like that. And for what it's worth, I still have those towels....and I still love them!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Letters to heaven

So, as you are mostly all aware yesterday was my dad's 63rd birthday.

We went as a family to the Imperial Buffet (Chinese/Canadian buffet); it was one of my dad's favorite restaurants.

Mary Jo had a hard day yesterday. A lot of weeping and cuddles. She misses him so much.
So yesterday afternoon she decided to write Papa a letter. She told him she missed him, that we all did. She told him we were going out for dinner for his birthday. She asked him if it was fun in heaven.

After she wrote it she asked how he would get it. So I told her we'd mail it. It's now in an envelope that says To Papa in Heaven. She really wanted to put it in the mailbox her self but I wanted to save it in my memory box so that one day when she's older she can have it back. So I told her that I had to check with the post office to see how much postage it would take to get to heaven and would mail it while she was at school.

Never to be without the challenging questions, she asked me how she'd know that Papa got his letter. She didn't think he could write back (a small blessing there, I didn't want her to be disappointed in waiting and don't think it would have been right to fake a letter) So I told her that she'd know Papa got his letter because she would dream about him.
I hope she dreams about him soon.

I called the school yesterday to find out about the Rainbow group. It's a group for bereaved children or those dealing with divorce or other types of loss. Apparently the school isn't running it this year, there wasn't enough demand. Funny, I never got a letter.
Needless to say I'm not impressed.

I think both the kids are dealing with it better but it still breaks my heart to see Mary so sad and missing him so much. I suspect these letters to heaven might get more frequent.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To close to home

One of my dear online friends lost her dad today. He was battling cancer.

My heart goes out to her and her family. I think that even though deep down we know that the battle will not be won we hold out hope that it can. People do beat cancer, all the time. I knew my dad wouldn't win his battle but that little part of me hoped I was wrong, that he could be one of those people you see in the commercials or even on the news for making some miraculous recovery.

My friends father's death hits way to close to home. Tomorrow is my dad's birthday. He would have been 63. And while we will still celebrate it as a family it won't be with him and that's the part that counts.

When I read of my friends father's death I cried and cried. I cried for her pain. I cried for my own. I miss my dad like crazy and would give anything to have been able to spend the last week fretting about what I was going to get him for his birthday because he was ridiculously hard to buy for. But this year I don't get to do that. I'm even having a hard time bringing myself to buy Sean a Canadian Tire card for Christmas because that was what we always got my dad.

My friend has been a great source of strength for me, both when my dad was sick and since he died. I hope that I have been the same for her. We met in the infertility club and travel on in the 'lost a parent to cancer' club. What a couple of sucky clubs to be in.

Hopefully we can both move on into better clubs...like the Mom's of the people who cured cancer club. With 5 kids between us I think our odds are great.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rain rain go away...

I don't want to be stuck in the house today.....

I'm trying to find a new rhythm. It's a survival thing. My little daycare friend, the one who's had issues adjusting, will be coming back to his full day schedule starting next week. See, I have a couple of months of adjustment coming up.
My little guy is going to back to full days. This brings with it hellish naptimes. (it's now 12:55 and he's only just gone to sleep - the others have been asleep since noon)
I also need to get Connor used to napping on the couch. I have a new little one starting in the daycare in January and short of having her nap downstairs the only place left to do nap for her is Connors room. (actually my little guy will sleep in Connors room, she'll sleep in mine where little guy sleeps right now.)
So for at least 2 days a week, sometimes 3, Connor will need to sleep the living room.
I'm going to make it a special, he'll get to sleep on his spiderman couch and he'll still have his pillow, blankets, doo doo and lovey. Mary Jo used to love daycare nap in the living room (though hers was no necessity, she just loved sleeping on the mat with the other kids) I'm hoping that a month is enough time to get him used to it.
Once he's adjusted I can get little guy used to sleeping in Connors room so that by the time the new little miss starts I can work on getting her to sleep here.

This week I officially became a registered member of the College of Early Childhood Educators. Meaningless to most but for me it means legally being able to continue calling myself and practicing as an ECE. So that's one less thing to worry about.

I got my second assignment back at school. 96%. Yeah baby!

I reflect back on my high school and college days and how much I hated school. How I thought it was nothing short of a miracle that I got a high school diploma in light of how much school I skipped. I think about how much I hated college, though I did got more often, I still wasn't the best student.
I see myself now, getting to class an hour early, fretting over assignments, worrying about not missing any classes. How times have changed.

Let's talk about Emily for a minute.
Her bff's birthday is this weekend. It's a sleepover party. Em has had trouble with sleepovers (both here and at friends houses) She's a lot more like me that I ever realized. I love having company and visitors but I reach a point where I want my space back and I want everyone out. I am very routine driven and having overnight guests really screws with that routine. We don't have them often and lucky for me, Sean's family usually stays with one of his brothers when they come. That's fine with me. And as a kid, I did go to sleepovers but never slept well and didn't really enjoy them. I like my own bed.

So last night Em told me that she was worried that she'd want to come home from the sleepover but didn't want to disappoint her bff and she didn't know what to do. She was looking for a way out. She wants to save face, not look 'babyish' to her bff but she doesn't want to sleep over.
Well, I'm always good for taking blame and in this case I don't mind at all. I asked her if she wanted me to 'not allow her' to sleep over and then it wasn't a problem. She lit right up. "okay!"
So there it is. Mean old mom won't let her sleep over at her bff's for her birthday. She can bad mouth me all she wants because I know deep down she's glad I came through and saved her from a sleepless night.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Where to start

So much to talk about.

Since I had the week off I decided to tackle the mess in the crawl space (aka - toy storage room) I wanted to get some type of organization down there because A: I'm sure it was a fire hazard having that crap all over the furnace room and B: I have so many toys and resources for the daycare that don't get used in the rotation because they are not accessible to me.
So I did it. I spent three naptimes down there and by God, it's almost done. Everything is sorted, labelled and put where I can (mostly) see it. I'm a gigantic nerd and mentioned to my mom and Sean that I wanted some proper wall to wall, floor to ceiling shelving down there so I can go really organized crazy. Next is to sort the art supplies, reorganize my resource files and categorize the 200+ kids books.
Call me what you will, it's like foreplay to me.

The flu is still lingering. Connor is hoarse and whiney. I'm also concerned about the effects the tamiflu had on him. I noticed right away after giving it to him (right away being within 30 min) that he was acting weird. Aggressive and angry. I stopped giving it to him after 2 days. I didn't like what it was doing to him. I've since heard from three people that their toddlers/preschoolers reacted the same. The aggression and anger are getting better but he's hitting his terrible two strides so there's a lot of nipping in the bud going on right now.

I'm a little stressed about school. Remember me, the one who handed in both essays a week early just to make sure I didn't hand them in late (in case of unforeseen illness) I did my quiz last week and while I don't think I aced it, I think I got a strong B. But now it's time for the final assignment, aha yes, the partner assignment. My partner is not as ..... how do I word it ....crazy as I am and is not exactly sending the info along to me in the timeliest of fashions. We have two weeks until our presentation and in my perfect world I'd be done and ready to go now.
So I'm relinquishing my control, doing my half and hoping for the best.

One of the ladies I've come to know on FF lost her baby boy last week. I don't know the details but I do know she was full term.
When ever I get cynical or adopt my jaded 'the world and everyone in it suck' attitude I only need to spend a few minutes reading that site or talking to some of those ladies.
I know I've said it before but I am in awe of just how much perfect strangers can come to care for one another and can count on each other to lean on - and not just for infertility and parenting issues but life in general. I felt it myself when my Dad was sick and died. I've offered it to some who've lost family or have loved ones suffering. I know that for many of the ladies there there are things talked about that they don't even discuss with their family and friends in real life. It's a safe haven of support.
So this woman who has suffered the unthinkable told us that she lost her son. And in the blink of an eye everyone banded together to make plans on what we could do to offer her the support and love she needs to get through this time. Something more than the virtual hugs and condolences. Geography is an issue, we are scattered literally throughout the world and while I know that if each of us could, we'd be at her side, we are trying to do the next best thing.
I know I get many eye rolls from people who are not part of this group (or one like it) I know they don't get it. They see it as strangers tapping away at their computers, lonely, calling out for someone. They think it's weird, a little strange. And I'm sure at one time I might have too. But truth be known these 'strangers' have enriched my life in so many ways and though I don't know them in real life, when I see and am able to contribute to the efforts put forth in trying to help another 'stranger' I feel truly blessed to know them all.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

speaking of irony

I have friend who has been having some marital troubles. She's asked me for my opinion and advice from time to time so I help when I can and I'm happy to listen when she needs to vent. It what friends do. She has done the same for me.
So recently she came to me with a problem, of which I won't go into because it's her business, but in that asked me how I was able to move on after the problems Sean and I had a few years ago. I said it took a lot of time and work on both of our parts but that I am 95% there. There is a bit of me (that other 5%) that isn't quite back to where I should be but I suspect it never will be back. That's just the new normal for us. Warts and all.

So I open a local paper today and who's smiling mug do I see but skankarella herself. Yep, the queen of skuzz staring out at me. She's playing the devoted, caring, loving wife while her husband deals with some very public demons. It makes me want to vomit. And truth be known it's lucky the same story published online did not allow for reader comment because I may not have been able to resist.

So I suppose sometimes that 5% gets elevated a bit. Like now. And the day that started out sunny and happy and full of promise has just gone straight to the shitter.

Oh well. tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Irony

We got the H1N1 flu shot last week to protect Connor since he can't get the shot.

And now Connor is sick with flu like symptoms.

I usually enjoy the ironic but this just sucks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Brrrrr

We're still freezing. Still no furnace. Apparently the furnace guy will be here between now and 1:00 to fix it.


So we've officially taken Connor out of his toddler bed and moved him to his twin bed. We were hearing him crash into the side of it when he rolled over at night.
We have a captains bed, it was Emily's before she got the bunk bed. It's been down in my dad's room.
Being the smart girl I am I posted his fire engine bed for sale online before going to the trouble of taking it apart. I found a buyer and made arrangements to have it picked up on Saturday.
Because of Sean's shifts last night was the only available time for us to take the bed apart and bring his new bed upstairs so we did it. And yes, I probably could have made due with the sheets we have and a spare blanket but I wanted his awesome new bedroom to be awesome. So i went out and bought him a new comforter and sheet set that I'd been eyeing. It cost $50 which is pretty decent.
The thing is, I didn't really have the $50 this week but thought, it's okay I can pay it back (the grocery money) when the buyer comes on Saturday.
Well, the buyer backed out.

Yeah, lesson learned.

I'm pretty pissed. I mean the excuse I got was lame as hell and truthfully I would have been happier to hear an honest, "I've changed my mind" But like I said, lesson learned.
So now I'm hoping to off load this bed soon.

The other thing that is killing me is that because Emily has been sick I haven't had any daycare babies since Tuesday. So there are two families who are getting a refund for a total of 5 days between them. More money I'm out.

And lets not forget the furnace, another $300 today.

And next week I need to register for my class for next semester. $250.

Oh, and let's not forget Christmas. Thankfully I'm done my shopping for everyone outside the immediate family. This is one of those times that I wish Santa was real.

I could throw it all on the visa but the thing is, I need to have enough room on it so that in March when our bill for the windows comes in I can throw it on the line of credit at an interest rate a full 21% less.

And then I've got 2 years to pay the line of credit off so that when I want to open my daycare I have enough assets and no outstanding debts so the bank won't just fall down laughing at me.

This is one of those times when I am seriously considering going back to work in a centre again....or getting a second job. Two clients going on mat leave early next year which dramatically lowers my income. One client is now in school full time and only three days a week. I can't raise my rates- they are already on the high end of normal for my area. So early next year my bread and butter, so to speak, is one full time baby.

I guess it's just one of those days.

Hey, anyone need daycare?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Waving to Yukon!

I noticed on my map the other day that someone in the Yukon stopped by to have a read. It's funny, I get occasional readers from around Europe and Australia but I was so excited to see Whitehorse on my map. (Not that you readers from the US, Europe and Australia are any less awesome...)

So yesterday morning as I tapped away on the computer we all heard this ungodly sound come from the basement. It sounded much like the rumble you hear when you get air in your pipes only it was much much worse. It shook the house.
Not long ago, Connor flushed something down the toilet. We don't know what though I speculate it was a Littlest Pet Shop. When it went down we got a very similar rumble and yesterday we assumed it was whatever that was passing further through the pipes. Though, I was here on the computer and the furnace room is right below me and the sound did sound like it came from below. But the heat stayed on so I chalked it up to pipes.

Last night when I was on my way to school Sean called to tell me the furnace crapped out. Again. We've been in this house for 7 years and they've come 5 times for the furnace. Usually it's a quick and painless fix but this time it's going to be the weekend before we get heat back and to the tune of $600. Yay. I am thankful it's not colder but 10 degrees is still pretty chilly when you don't have back up heat. I'm not comfortable with the space heater from the garage. My mom has an electric fireplace downstairs but she'll need that. It's cold down there when the heat works so I'm sure it's downright frigid now. I'm wishing we'd forked out the money for a chimney sweep so we could get a fire burning in the fireplace upstairs. I'm thinking I'll budget that in so we can use the fireplace this winter. In the meantime it's sweaters for us. (and I know I shouldn't bitch because I'll bet my reader in Whitehorse already has snow.)

We got our H1N1 shots yesterday. It's funny that I was the one who initially said there was no way we were getting the shot and then I was in panic to get it before anyone got sick. I try not to fall for the hype but hearing stories of people who've already been sick with it scared me. It sounds awful!
We fall into the priority risk group because of Connors age and his egg allergy. He can't get the shot so they give it to us to protect him.
Poor Mary cried and cried and cried. Emily was a trooper and me and Sean, well, let's just say we're pretty sucky. My arm is killing me and I heard him whimpering last night when he rolled onto his.

Emily has been complaining of feeling sick this past week, sore throat she says. But we hear that often, she like Halls. And her BFF is off school sick so we chalked it up to "I wanna stay home because my best friend is" No fever, go to school
Yesterday, not 3 hours after getting her flu shot Emily was running a temp of 101. (on a side note see how I do air temps in Celsius and body temps in Farenheit. Weird huh?)
So a call into my daycare parents to let them decide what to do with their kids today and my fingers crossed that she's not too sick.

This morning is better. She's got a low fever but not too bad. She's also got a wet cough and a snotty nose, which I am almost certain are not H1N1 symptoms so I am relieved. My daycare kids are all staying home today so I'm going to make the most of the day and clean out the crawl space.....so the furnace guy can get me some heat back.
I think my computer screen is starting to frost up.

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's the dawn of a new era

Alright, that might be a little dramatic but I'm trying to hype myself up.

See that pretty little weight loss ticker to the right? Well, it's a little deceptive. I think it says I've lost 7 lbs. Well, in honesty I had, when I updated it last, lost 7 lbs. I haven't weighed in a while but judging by my pants those 7 lbs are back. Most likely due to the influx of chocolate that's been here for the past few weeks. See, we buy halloween candy to put away for halloween and then end up eating it so we have to buy more...you see how that goes.
And now there is a pantry full of coffee crisps and kit kats calling out to me.

But I'm determined to lose 20 lbs by Christmas. That gives me just 53 days. So, no more junk and much more exercise. I even made a plea for an elliptical trainer on my local freecycle network (every now and then someone gives one away but i just don't seem to reply to the emails fast enough. Hot commodity I guess.

I found one on Kijiji but I'm not sure that I want to shell out money for one with it being the Christmas season and I won't ask Santa for one because I might get that instead of the much desired Canon DSLR.

I have a really good skipping rope and could skip in the garage but I can't find it. (the rope I mean...the garage is right where I left it)

Maybe tonight I'll suck it up, weigh myself and adjust my ticker accordingly. I don't want to but maybe if I do it will encourage me to get my butt in gear to get that ticker moving again.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

only one child left

Is it possible to have empty nest syndrome while your kids still live at home?

A couple of years ago when the girls school was closing they scheduled an end of year trip to Cedar Park. I asked Emily if she wanted me to go and she shut me down cold. Nope, she didn't want me to go. Give me money for the snack bar and stay home.
It crushed me but I understood. She was getting older (grade 3 then) and didn't want Mom hanging around. I still had Mary and Connor so I was okay.

Mary brought home a note for a trip yesterday. And as it turns out I can go. It's on a day when there are no daycare kids here. Woohoo!
So, all excited I said "Mary, I can go on the trip with you!"
And I got a flat "No thanks, I'd rather go alone"

The show is a presentation from Sharon and Bram (of Sharon, Louis and Bram) and it's called Skinamirink. Apparently she's afraid that I'm going to sing (since I sing that song to Connor all the time)
Despite my best efforts to reassure her that I would never, ever consider singing outside the house, where regular people could hear me....I am still not allowed to go.

2 kids down, one to go. And it happens earlier and earlier. At this rate I'm sure by the time Connor is in kindergarten he's not going to want me to go on class trips.

I have some Facebook friends who are former daycare kids. They are young adults now and they always go on about how cool I was and how much fun they had with me. I think maybe I need to have them speak with my kids and let them know that I'm not the dropping the kids off at school with curlers and slippers kind of mom.....I'm cool!

Oh well, I guess this is just one of those rites of passage in parenthood. It sucks.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let's talk H1N1

Never before have I been so frustrated, in the dark and confused about what to do.
Let's classify me shall we. I am a pro vax, on schedule Momma. That (for the not so in tune with the lingo) means I get my kids all the recommended vaccinations when they are recommended. We don't delay them, I don't buy into the MMR causing Autism theory and if there is a vaccine out there to protect my kids from a disease (even a normally mundane one like chicken pox) they are getting it.

I went through all sorts of stress when Connors vaccinations were delayed because of his egg allergy. He's all caught up now though so yay!

Now comes swine flu. In the beginning I said, quite adamantly, that I was not getting the shot. We are not a flu shot family, never have been. Usually, during flu season, Sean will get the flu and it will knock him on his ass but the rest of us don't get it. We figure we are a low risk group, we're all otherwise healthy people and a flu is not biggie for us.
But this one is killing people just like us. And that scares me. What scares me more is that even if we decided to get the shot, Connor can't because of his egg allergy. What scares me even more more, is that Sean is exposed to literally thousands of people a day in his job, hence the reason he gets the flu every year. And while he's very conscientious about hand washing etc, no one is that good. He's breathing recirculated subway air all day. So the riddle is, how many people sick with H1N1 does it take to cough on his train before he gets sick too. And brings it home to me, and our kids and the daycare kids and the two pregnant daycare moms......

And the simple fact of the matter is, if there weren't so many conflicting opinions from the Dr's themselves I wouldn't be torn but for every person I talk to who says their Dr says get it, I have another who's Dr says don't. It would seem the professionals don't even know what to do.

My brain is fried. Wake me up when flu season is over.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fascinating

I like cruising around blogger, finding other interesting blogs to read. Some of the blogs I follow belong to friends. Some are suggestions from friends and some I just stumble upon.
A while ago I stumbled onto this blog. I think it's interesting and enjoy reading about the things he finds.
Reading his blog not long ago led me to this blog and specifically to the post it's linked to. It's all about how the guy from the first blog found someones baby book from 1926 and wanted to return it to the family and how the guy from the second blog helped. I've been hooked to the story and it's been so fascinating. Can't wait to read the final installment.

So, what's new.
Well this past weekend was probably the best weekend I've had in I don't know how long. I managed to get my laundry and shopping done on Friday while the kids were in school. This freed up the weekend completely. So on Saturday we went to the mall and walked around. We played in the toy store, we oooh and aaahed the animals in the pet store and we shared fries in the food court. And we managed to get out of there without spending a dime (except on the fries) and with no whiney, cranky kids.
Sunday we went to the zoo. It couldn't have been a better day for it and we got there before the zoo even opened, which meant not only was it deserted but the animals were also still pretty active.
I got some great pics and when I enhanced them with some editing software they looked even more fantastic.
But then this morning I showed Sean the camera I'm lusting after and took some pics with it. He now sees how much better the quality is and I've got my fingers crossed that Santa will bring me one.
Anyway, it's the first time in I don't know how long that I've actually enjoyed my weekend.
Let's hope the week is as good.
















Thursday, October 22, 2009

Oh so discouraged

Each time I go to class or each time I take a workshop I come out of it feeling so much closer to my dream. I have so many ideas and I'm so excited about the future and the prospect of owning a daycare.
My timeline initially was 10 years. I wanted to make sure the kids were old enough that my constant absence wasn't as missed. My timeline then shortened to 2-5 years. Connor will be in school full time at most in 4 years - at best in 2 years, it just depends on where the province goes with their all day kindergarten plan. And by then, Sean will have enough seniority that he can chose work that will have him home when the kids get home from school (at at least shortly after and Emily will be old enough to babysit in interim)

In my enthusiasm I've been trying to gauge what kind of money I'm looking at putting out to get going. See, once I've committed to this plan I can start buying the necessary supplies and equipment slowly and store it. That make the financial strain of that portion of opening a little less. I've also been trying to gauge what the actual property will cost.

And this is where the bad news comes in.
I had planned on looking into a retail type centre, a storefront. The cheapest I've seen in an area that would be even remotely useful was.....wait for it......almost $14000 a month. Are ya shittin' me?! I can see it being doable once you've opened your centre, you've established your clientele and all that but how in the name of God does one pay a lease of $14000 a month while renovating the space to suit the DNA and therefore not actually making any money!? And we all know contractors...a job that should take a month takes 4.

Needless to say, I'm a little, okay a lot, discouraged.

I'm now looking into how feasible it is to either A: buy a house and renovate (I've got few converted houses/daycares that I'm going to tour next week under the guise of looking for care for Connor) or B: buying an existing daycare.

Back to the drawing board.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Miss Sensitivity

I used to make fun of my mom and how she'd cry over tv shows or commercials.

As I got older I became the same way. Nothing gets the tears flowing faster on me that watching the final episode of M*A*S*H, especially the part where Hawkeye and BJ salute Colonial Potter.

The other night I was watching Castaway (Sean calls it a three hour FedEx commercial - be that as it may, I love Tom Hanks so I don't care)
Anyhow, the girls came in halfway through and were asking me why he was talking to the volleyball. I explained the premise of the movie and that "Wilson" was his only friend for 4 years.
So the scene comes up where Tom Hanks is on the raft escaping the island and gets caught in the storm. It cuts then to the scene where it's morning, the sun is shining and he's asleep on the raft. Wilson is bobbing around and falls off, Tom Hanks wakes up, sees it's gone and tries in vain to swim out to get it. Then is shows him on the raft crying hysterically because Wilson is gone.

Mary Jo burst into tears. She cried and cried because Tom Hanks was sad that he lost his best friend.
And even though she knows it's a movie, she's seen Tom Hanks in a number of movies and she knows he's not really sad, she felt terrible for his character.

If she's got this much empathy at 6 I can't wait to see her as an adult.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Did you hear the one about the skunk?

I drove past a freshly dead skunk today and it got me thinking about something that happened when Sean and I first started dating.

Sean moved to Ontario from Newfoundland in the winter time. We met shortly after and began dating the following August.
Our first few dates were group dates, us, his brother and sister in law and a co worker of mine and her husband (I worked with Sean's sister in law and this other girl) Anyhow, our first real alone date was August 13th. We went to a drive in up north. ( don't remember what movie we say, he does though and he also remembers what I ate because he was impressed. I'm not one of these salad eating on a date girls and I had my fill.)

Anyway, on the drive there we must have passed a dead skunk because the whole car filled up with that horrible skunky smell.

Sean later told me that at that moment he'd decided our first date would be our last.

I said "Oh wow, that skunk must have just got hit!"

Sean breathed a sigh of relief and decided maybe it wouldn't be our last date.

You see, they don't have skunks in Newfoundland. Up until then he'd never smelled a skunk. He thought I farted and was mortified that something that smells that bad could come out of someone.

Nice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Neglect

I'm so sorry my dear blog, I've been neglectful. Call it a combination of not enough sleep, too much homework and PMS. But I'm here and got lots to say.

Let's start with my great Uncle Roy.
Uncle Roy passed away over the weekend. He was 90 (I believe) so he was blessed with a long life but it doesn't make it any easier for those who loved him most.
Connor is named for his side of the family, Campbell. Uncle Roy was my mothers uncle, her mother's brother. Now try and keep up with this. I was named Dorothy Carolyn Jean, after my maternal grandmother and great grandmother (Uncle Roy's mother and sister) got that? Emily carries on the name Carolyn which is the common thread (she is the 9th generation of Carolyn in the family. Uncle Roy was the male Campbell in the family and I wanted to be able to carry on that part of the family (my mom has so few ties with her mothers family left, really only her cousin) so Connor was middle named Campbell. We knew that would be the middle name of our first son from when we were pregnant with Emily.
Uncle Roy lived across the country so while I do have some memories of him, they are mostly from childhood.
I remember when I was 5 my mom took my by train to go visit Nana (my mother's grandmother - Uncle Roy's mother) I can remember Uncle Roy taking me to a beach (a rocky one) and telling me that pirates often hid treasure there. Sure enough we spent the day looking under rocks marked with X's and found all kinds of coins. Of course it wasn't until years later that I learned that it wasn't pirates at all, Uncle Roy had hidden all those coins and marked the rocks himself. I remember in that same trip he took me to an ice cream parlour and told me if I told the cashier that ice cream was "scrumdillyishus" I would get free ice cream. Again, I'm sure this was something on the sly.
When I was 12 I went alone to visit my mom's cousin (Uncle Roy's daughter) and her family for a month. Never having recalled meeting them before then I was nervous but with her at the airport to greet me was Uncle Roy and that made the start of my first trip away from home better, more relaxed and less nerve wracking.
And I remember, not long after Emily was born when I sent pictures of her to Uncle Roy and Aunt Baden getting a proper tongue lashing in a letter back telling me that I was an adult now and there was no need to call them Aunt and Uncle anymore.
And yet, I still do. :)

Most of all I'm sad for my Aunt, my cousins and their families. And I'm sad for my mom as it's just one more connection to her own mother that is gone.
RIP Uncle Roy.


Mary Jo is starting the process for first Communion. She'll be receiving it in April. Now here's the thing. I was supposed to go to church to register her for it. But instead we opted to do see toy Story 1 and 2. (yes I know, shame on us!) and then last weekend was Thanksgiving. And my mom was away and frankly anyone who's spent even a moment of time in the same room as Mary Jo and Connor knows that the two of them feed off each other and let's face it, the glass in the cry room at the church is not thick enough to contain that noise.
So I caved in this morning and called Father and asked if it was too late to register her. Apparently this Sunday is the enrollment (huh?) so we are going to mass on Sunday and I have to hang around after to fill out the forms. Yippee. Now I hear you asking me, why do I go through all this if I don't really like going to church anyway? Simple answer, because it's right. I might not be the best church going catholic out there....frankly I'm not even that good of a Catholic, I used birth control, I'm pro choice, I support same sex marriage, I've only been to confession once and think we should be allowed to divorce. BUT - I got that way because of who I am and what I've experienced in my life. And no matter what I still have my strong faith in God and Jesus.
So, I hate going to church but all of my children will receive their sacraments because I strongly believe that we all need some sort of religious foundation on which to build ourselves...and since Sean and I were raised Catholic, it's the logical choice.

I've made a very sad discovery recently. It would appear as though I will not get my certificate for the course I am taking. You see, the final field placement is 210 hours. That would be 5 weeks of 40 hour work. I can see how this is doable for someone who's doing a field placement within their own work environment but for me it would mean closing the daycare for 210 hours. Somehow I'm thinking that is not an option.
So, my new strategy is that I will again speak with my old supervisor and ask her if she'll mentor me. Just a few hours here and there to give me a feel of what the office stuff is like. I'm not really too concerned about the interpersonal aspects and staff management but the nitty gritty paperwork stuff that I'm not familiar with.
Hopefully she'll be agreeable to this. We shall see!

Alrighty, that's it for now. I'm hungry and need to fill my belly before the babies wake.

TTFN!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thanksgiving

It's that time again. The last hurrah before the official start of Christmas season. I just wish we had Black Friday here.



This is will be an especially unusual Thanksgiving this year. I still remember last years thanksgiving as if it had just happened. We had Connor's first birthday party on the Saturday. And on Sunday I made dinner for our family. (it wasn't a turkey - that would be this year)



My mom goes away every year at thanksgiving. She goes to visit friends in Sault Ste Marie. So last year we had dinner here, me, Sean, the kids and my dad. We went around the table talking about what we were thankful for and of course everyone says the same thing "I'm thankful for my family....blah blah blah." My dad, in true form, says "I'm thankful just to be alive for another Thanksgiving."

We got a laugh out of that. With my dad's diabetes, heart problems and recent stroke history, we knew it wasn't likely he would live to be in his 80's. We'd all kind of accepted that, begrudgingly, and though there was a grain of truth in what he said, humor was how these things were handled. Of course, we also didn't think that that was going to be his last thanksgiving.

Life has a way of getting the last laugh.



So this year it's just me, Sean and the kids. My brothers do thanksgiving with their in laws and we used to do it with Sean's family but after 13 years of always going to their places for Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner and them never coming to ours for those holiday dinners we got tired of it. Don't get me wrong, I love having other people cook for me....but once it a while it would be nice to host too.

So, we just do our own thing now.



So I've been thinking a lot about what I'm thankful for and yes, there are the big ones like my family and friends (don't mistaken that for me minimizing the importance of all of you, my family and friends - but for the sake of this blog, we're going to just to for granted that I love you all and am very thankful to have each and every one of you in my life.



But here are some things that I'm also thankful for.



I'm thankful that I've been given the opportunity to be a work at home mom. Strange coming from someone in my line of work but I am so thankful that I am able to be home to raise my kids. I missed so much of Emily's early years and I hated that. I see the new and funny or cute things Connor does everyday and I am so glad I didn't miss them or hear about them second hand.



I'm thankful for the internet. Being a wahm means being cut off from adults. I don't have the same luxuries that some SAHM's do because I can't join playgroups and stuff, I have the daycare kids to consider. So if it weren't for internet I wouldn't have any adult conversation in the daytime. That little bit of time I can tweek out a nap time or snack is just enough to remind me that I have a vocabulary outside of "Do you need a new bummy?" and some through provoking conversation.



I'm thankful for those little 100 calorie snacks. They give me that little zip of sweetness when I need it most. Of course eating a whole box in one day is a little counter productive for the weight loss journey.

I'm thankful for Freecycle. There is nothing better than being able to purge clutter and not have to go anywhere to get rid of it or feel guilty for throwing out something perfectly useful....just not useful to me.

I'm thankful for craisins and mandarin oranges for without them my salad would suck.

I'm thankful for some of the awesome clients I've had through the years. They are the reason my job is as easy as it is. There can be some real duds out there but I've been lucky enough to not get many.

I am thankful for all the help and advice people give me, even if I don't want to hear and even if I don't follow it. The simple fact that it was offered shows you care.

I'm thankful for Universal Health Care. I never worry about taking my kids to the Dr. And without it my dad probably wouldn't have lived as long as he did and my parents would likely be bankrupt.

And okay...I'm thankful for all of my friends (both up close and in person and those on the other side of my computer screen) You guys all rock and you all mean so much to me for too many different reason to mention here. So lets just say you know who you are and why I love you.

And of course my family. No matter how much I gripe or complain or roll my eyes or want to hide under the bed, I would be nothing without my family.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I AM SUPERWOMAN!

Yes, I know, my title is shouting. But seriously I am on one hell of a streak and I'm enjoying the ride. Of course, I know just by posting this it will all crash down but for now. WOO HOO!

So, I got my essay done for school. I'm quite happy with it. I lucked out and Connor and his cohort both napped for three hours two days in a row so I knocked out the essay. I handed it in last night (one week early - yeah, call me an ass kisser, I don't care. I'm making my very first Thanksgiving turkey on Sunday, there is the distinct possibility I'll have food poisoning and not be able to go to school on Tuesday and then my assignment would be late!)
Also, last night in class we picked out topics for assignment 3 (this is the partner one I was stressing about) Well, my partner and I got to pick our topic third which meant we got our first choice. The assignment is to do a mini staff development workshop for the class. Our topic....wait for it.....school age programs. Now the reason why this is so freakin' awesome is because I was a school age coordinator/teacher for 6 or the 8 years I was in one particular daycare. It's MY thing. And what's even better, my partner is a current school age teacher. So yeah, we're going to rock that assignment.

Today is the first day that I've got the little daycare boy all day (the one who was having trouble adjusting) He's been doing fabulous with his part time schedule and I was worried about how today would go. But do you hear...the quiet....no crying....yep, he's asleep. Can I get another AMEN!

Most of yesterday and even worse last night I was feeling totally crappy. I had the aches, the chills and a fever. I thought for sure the flu was coming. Well today the aches are gone, the fever is gone and I feel fantastic. Go figure.

Now, like I said, I've gone and screwed it all up. I'm going to get a C on my essay, we'll bomb on the workshop assignment, I'm going to be horribly ill over the long weekend and guess who just started crying.

Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

Monday, October 5, 2009

All the recent haps...

It's been a busy few days to say the least.

We had Connor's second birthday party this weekend. His birthday isn't until next Monday but that is Canadian Thanksgiving so needless to say it's a little harder to round up the troops for a party when everyone is in turkey overload.
We had the start of his party at a local fun farm. I love this place, especially at this time of year and the owners really do go all out. Connor had a great time running through the corn maze, climbing the giant hill, painting his pumpkin and petting the bunnies. It rained a little on us but that just made playing in the sand pile more fun.
Afterward we headed home for hot dogs and cake. It really was a nice day.

On Friday I went to see my old boss at the daycare. I haven't been to see her since February '07 and thought I would grease the wheels a bit. I want to do my field placement there when the time comes. I thought, what better learning experience than to practice my supervisory technique in a centre with staff I already know. Plus, I'm hoping for a little mentoring with regards to opening my centre. She's been very successful with her centre and I'd like to learn as much as I can from her.
I was a bit worried though. While I did leave the job on good terms (I quit after my first miscarriage) there has been the passage of time and I wasn't sure how I'd be received. But, Emily went to daycare at the centre only months after she first opened and I worked there and Mary Jo went to daycare there for a year so I guess that gave me the little bit of loyalty points, as it were. It was nice visit. I saw several of the girls I worked with and had a nice chat with the owner/supervisor. And the best part was that she was very receptive to me doing my placement with her so as soon as I get a few other classes under my belt I get going on that. I'm pretty excited. For the first time in so long I'm really excited about what the future holds for me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Freedom

Thanks to everyone who's already answered the survey. I'd still love more input so if you haven't already, please humour me and read the post below this one.

Don't tell Sean but my kid walks with a leash.

Connor has discovered the joys of walking. If we go out somewhere in the car the first word out of his mouth when we're getting out is "walk?"
When we're taking the kids to school, he's not content to sit in the stroller, he wants to walk.
When I take the daycare kids outside (it's too wet/mucky) to go in the backyard, he lasts two minutes in the 'rumble seat' of the sit and stand and then he wants to walk.

Now in all fairness when it's just me and him or me and the girls and him, he doesn't wear the tether. He holds my hand. But if I'm pushing the stroller with 1 or two other babies in it, I can't do that with one hand so I fashioned a little tether to put on his wrist. He's got lots of leaway to explore but not enough to get into trouble. And I only did it because the other day (before the invention of the tether) he thought he should run into the street to step on the sewer grate. (more on that in a minute)
From there we had a screaming fit that last the rest of our walk (about 5 blocks) because I made him get back into the stroller. Now at least, he can explore and he can't get to the road.

About the sewer grates. He's got a thing with them. Some of them rattle when he steps on them and this is pretty awesome apparently. But we are sometimes required to go out of our way in parking lots because he spots one that he absolutely must step on. I know some of you are saying "really, you go out of your way?" Yeah, I do. I've learned the hard way that it's easier to walk the extra 25 feet to step on the sewer grate than it is to buy a weeks worth of groceries with the tantruming toddler. Some battles aren't worth fighting.

Running is the new fun thing to do. When we go to pick the girls up from school he like to run in the soccer field. And he wants everyone to know what he's doing (in case there is any question) He'll run back and forth the length of the field yelling "Running! Running!"

My little man is enjoying his new found freedom. I'm not sure I like it so much though. It means he's growing up too fast.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A survey

I'm putting out a little impromptu, informal survey. Just collecting my thoughts and ideas regarding my plans for my future daycare centre.

So for all you random readers, both regular and occasional, please do me a favour and answer some of these questions for me. I know that some answers might be affected by the region you're in but no matter where you are, the common thread is parenting and wanting the best for our kids.
So if you'd be so inclined to answer the following questions and email them to littlechickadee@rogers.com (please put daycare survey in the subject line so I don't mistake unknown email addy's for spam)

Here's what I'd like to know. (These questions are based on the idea that those answering have children (any age at all) however, if you have no children feel free to answer based on how you think you would feel about it when/if you do have kids)

1. What is the more important thing you would look for when choosing a daycare (quality of staff, program, menu, hours, price....anything at all)

2. Would you prefer your daycare to be closer to home or work? What about when your child is older, preparing for school, would it be important to you to have a daycare that was closer to your home school?

3. If your daycare offered extra care/clubs or activities that cost additional money (for instance music lessons for older children) would this be something you'd be interested in and would it lead you to chose that daycare over another that was otherwise equally as good.

4. Would you like your daycare to offer things like 'date night' services or weekend care?

5. Would you be more inclined to chose a daycare that had cameras for parents secure online viewing?

6. Would you prefer a daycare that had indoor gross motor space (a gym) available for the kids use over one that did not?

7. Ideally, what would you feel is a fair fee for full time daycare services (and please include age groups with this)

8. Would you prefer a daycare that supplied food (either with an on sight cook or catering) or a daycare in which you provide all snacks and lunches.

9. If there is anything else you feel is important or something that would make you especially drawn to a daycare, anything at all you'd like to add, please do so.

I'll be interested in hearing the answers that come in.

Thanks a bunch!

Monday, September 28, 2009

A bundles of nerves.

I'm really not a confrontational person but when I feel strongly about something I face it head on. It isn't without stress though.

I have a little guy in the daycare who's having a lot of trouble adjusting. He cries a lot and is genuinely unhappy. That's not my big concern though because I can work with that, I can get him more comfortable with us and I am seeing progress there.
But the sleep issue, oh my! He was asked to leave his other daycare because he didn't sleep (I should mention, he's only 15 months old) I am too stubborn to give up that easily but I've discovered that he doesn't actually need to be at daycare, he's more here for the socialization aspects. I think that's great but if it's the case why cause undo stress on him (and me) by leaving him here for (non) nap time to scream and cry. Send him half days and pick him up after lunch. He socializes but benefits from having a good sleep at home, where he's comfortable.

I reached the end of my rope on Thursday when he cried for 2 1/2 hours and didn't sleep at all and called dad to pick him up an hour early so that he could go home and sleep. I emailed his parents on Friday and put forth the part time suggestion to them, told them to think about it and talk to me today.
Well, it's today and Mom is coming over this morning to talk with me.
And now I'm a bundle of nerves. I don't want her to be angry or upset. I am genuinely interested in the best interests of her son, as I'm sure she is, I just wonder if we are on the same page on how to achieve that.
In a perfect world my suggestion will have been met with a positive attitude and we can move forward.
Worst case scenario, mom blows her haystack and pulls her son out and encourages her friend (another client) to pull her daughter out. Then I'm screwed.

I guess I'll know by 9:15. Wish me luck.

I went to a workshop on Saturday at school, it's part of a series of workshops for opening your own childcare centre.
It was very informative but I was really surprised at a few things. There were several people in my class who were not childcare professionals who were interested in opening daycares.
I realize that it's a business and not every centre is owned by a childcare professional but I wonder if that should really be allowed. At the beginning of the class we went around the room introducing ourselves and telling why we were taking the class. There was a very obvious division. Those of us who were childcare professionals talked about how we'd worked in this place or that and that we wanted to open a centre that could offer what we individually felt was the best possible care.
The people who were not childcare professionals talked about how daycare was a goldmine and that was why they opened.

In light of this, I suspect that if I looked at commercial centres and their owners I would find that most of the ones with the reputation of being stingy would be owned by non childcare professionals whereas the ones owned by childcare professionals might not be so much so. Something to think about.

The girls have got their Halloween costumes already. (yep, already) Mary Jo wears hers everyday after school. She's a rock star (which means pink cheetah print pants and a black shirt that says "rock star" on it with a black boa collar.
Emily is also a rock star but hers is more of a punk looking thing with a hat and dress (yes, Emily is wearing a dress - but plans to have black leggings under it)
Still haven't figured out what I'll put Connor in. It will depend on the weather the day of, I'll pick something out of the dress up box for him.

Connor has started swearing like a sailor. He's actually just talking but shirt is 'shit', socks is 'cocks'. The other day my mom and I went to the Samko/Miko toy warehouse and being on the highway we passed a lot of trucks. He used to call them 'bus' but he's since learned they are trucks. So most of the drive was spent with him yelling "ooooh big fuck!" It's cute now but I'm sure when he's 15 and yelling it at me I'm not going to be smiling like this.

And so the day begins.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Papa's coat


A few years ago, for Christmas, we bought my dad a coat. It was a blue lumber jack jacket that was lined. It was specifically for him to wear in the garage. My dad smoked in the garage and it was cold out there in the winter. He also liked to tinker with the cars (he wasn't physcially able to fix them anymore but tinker he could still do) and he wore his coat for that too. We called it his garage coat.

As Connor got older and started talking one of the 'games' he would play with my dad was the put on your coat game. My dad would come upstairs to head out to the garage. Connor would tell him 'tote' (coat) and my dad would say "I have to put on my coat? Okay" Sometimes, if Connor was in his high chair he'd tell Connor to come help him get his coat off the hook.


When my dad got sick, he told my mom one day that she'd have to take his garage coat, wash all the smoke out of it and save it for Connor. Well, my mom did one step better. She took the coat apart and made one for Connor with it. I thought she was going to save it for his birthday but she surprised me with it this morning.


I love it. And even though the material is worn and the ribbing doesn't have much stretch left, it's the best coat there ever was. It's Papa's garage coat. And now it's Connors.


Yay Me!

I've said it many times before (and I know there are many of my online friends who find it hard to believe) that I am pretty shy in real life. I don't make small talk well and in groups with people I don't know I tend to be very quiet and reserved. It can often be mistaken for being snobbish or stuck up.

But when it comes to my work I am pretty good. I meet strangers all the time and in essence, make a job of selling myself to these strangers. "Hi, you don't know me from Adam but please trust me and my skills enough to leave your child in my care"
I'm pretty good at that because I have confidence in my skills and my abilities as an Early Childhood Educator, I'm passionate about my work and though I sometimes get worn out, I'm not anywhere near burn out. (which is great considering this is a high 'burn out' profession.)

So going back to school has been a challenge for me. I'm in an uncomfortable social situation, talking with people I don't know but we do all have on thing in common, we are all ECE's which gives me that little bit of confidence because when all else fails, I can talk shop talk all day long.

I've been stressing since the first day of class because there is an assignment that requires a partner. So, I'm forced to pair up with a stranger and though it's work related it's still an awkward social situation for me. So since the first day I've class I've scoped out my classmates, observing, making some chit chat and trying to figure out who I'd like to potentially pair up with. I had three people in my class of 16 in mind. The first I knew was a no go because she's in the class with a colleague. Chances are, they'll work together. The other two are both new to the course, like me and either one seemed like they were the type I could work with, smart, enthusiastic but not overbearing. But then it happened. After the first class the two I had put on my mental 'possibly' list exchanged phone numbers and email addys. So I was back to square one.

There was another girl, she sits in front of me. I want to slap her. She spent the second class doing the following; gluing on a broken acrylic nail, powdering her nose, texting a friend, complaining that she hated power point presentations and arguing with the class about how a supervisor handled an issue with two staff members when it was clear that she was on the only one who felt it was handled wrong. One word comes to mind when I think of this girl. Bubble. I don't want her as a partner because A: I'll pull my frigging hair out and B: I suspect I'd get all control freak and do it all myself.

So last night in class one of the girls from my initial group of maybes sat next to me. We chatted (yep, I made small talk!) and we went through class.
As we were getting packed up to head out for the night she said to me "Do you have partner for assignment 3 yet?" I said, "No, not yet." She said "Want to be partners?"

It's like not getting picked last in gym class. Not only do I have a partner for my assignment but it was one of the ones on my possibly list. Woot! And now, I can be less anxious about my class. All my ducks are in a row. And I'm loving it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

100!

I'm a bloggin' fool. This is my 100th entry. Who'd have thunk it, way back when I started my first blog (and then my second and fifth and what number is this one?) that I'd stick with it long enough to actually have 100 posts. I'm growing.

I'm finding myself in a strange place in life. The patience I've always prided myself in having is wearing thin. I'm an emotional wreck most days and frustration, tiredness, impatience and general crankiness seem to creep in almost daily.
It's been suggested that much of this is due to my dad's illness and passing catching up to me. I've spent so much time focused on helping the kids learn to adjust and helping my mom cope that I've neglected to take the time to grief properly myself and I'm sure that's probably true. I dream about him almost every night.

I'm also feeling the effects of mothering not just a toddler but a boy toddler. I've been around the block before but I'm older and before having a son I would have argued the nature vs nurture theory until I was blue in the face, in favor of the latter, because, after all, before Connor was born we used to joke that Mary behaved like the boy we never had. How entirely foolish was I? Let me count the ways. Connor is so boy in his behaviours, his interests and his development. And it's not due to nurture because he is being raised the same way the girls were. (dollies, strollers, dress up shoes and all.)
And all that aside one of his first words was bus. He is also the only child I've had that I've had to lock doors and install countless safety devices for. He climbs, he wrestles and he throws just about anything he can pick up. And by 7:30 when I'm putting him to bed I am worn out.

Add to this the distinct pleasure of having two toddlers in the daycare. My days are spent with two other 15 month olds, both who are teething and one who is a little high needs. Needless to say this adds to my stress level.

I could take heart in knowing that both of the toddlers mom's will be going on mat leave next spring which will mean they are both reducing their daycare hours. And to celebrate this, I signed on a new client, a 13 month old to start in January.

It's not all bad. I have the day off on Friday and though I'm supposed to go for my yearly physical I'm going to go shopping instead. Therapy for a tired mind and soul.

And I'm sure on Monday I'll feel better. But if not, there's always beer.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Playing around

Sean was watching a video montage I'd made of the girls a few years ago on One True Media and had bought a DVD copy of.
I started a new one that included Connor and had forgotten all about it. I found it again though so now it's posted on the bottom.
I also took out the music thing. It was just irritating me.

Really?!

I exhausted.

We seem to be on a crazy phase and it's killing me.

Connor has learned how to open the doors. This meant going out and buying those door knob things that prevent him from opening the doors. Let's just note that with my other two children (and all the daycare kids that have been through here in 7 years) I have never had to have those on any door except one (because it leads to stairs) But Connors incessant opening and slamming of the doors is wearing on my nerves and he's going to lose a finger. So on Friday we he decided to forgo the nap in favor of opening and closing his bedroom door 500 times I thought it was time.
We're also starting to potty train. I'm not going full force at it but if I catch him mid poop I put him on the potty and beyond that we have seat every half hour or so. Baby steps. He pooped on Friday night but it was with mixed emotions. He cried hysterically when it came out and when I cheered for him he cheered too but he was clapping and saying "Yay" through tears.

Emily is making a bid for a dog. She really wants a dog. She can want one til the cows come home, the simple fact of the matter is, I hate dogs. (well, I like dogs when they are on leashes and in other peoples house) I'm just not a dog person. I'll be crazy cat lady, fill the house with cats, I'll be thrilled, but I will not have a dog.
At any rate I'd said to her "Why in the world would I consider getting you a dog when you don't even take care of the cat?
So every now and then she'll feed the cat. Even better though, she's also helping with chores. She's helped me do the dishes three times now. Of course, I called her on it, asked if it was play for a dog and she said yes. So I reminded her that even if I was going to get her a dog, it wouldn't be until Snickers died and she's only 6 so she's still got a good 8-10 years left in her. Emily then realized by then she'd be almost an adult and could move out and get her own dog.
She hasn't helped me with the dishes since.

Mary got a note sent home from the principal the other day. Apparently she and two of her friends were playing "dog" at recess. One of the boys thought it would be funny to sniff butts, the way dogs do. Needless to say, this 'game' didn't go over too well with the principal.
The thing is, the note only mentioned unacceptable behaviour. I had to fish this out of Mary. She's normally the child who will openly admit that she's done something wrong and will tell you exactly what it was. She's an 'in your face' trouble maker. Well this one, I had so much trouble getting out of her that I had wild thoughts in my head about her playing doctor or swearing or bullying some kid that when she finally told me what it was I had to leave the room to laugh because it was just so ridiculous. Oh, to be 6 again.


I'm counting down this week - only four days of daycare babies and Friday is shopping therapy day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hi out there!

I'm finding all these nifty gadgets to add to my blog while reading other people's blogs. My most recent gadget is the little music thing on the bottom. I wanted to add more songs but I can't figure out how and frankly, I get one hour of quiet at naptime to fit in my lunch, tidying and email checking so I haven't got time to figure it out.
But for what it's worth I suppose a little explaination of the songs is in order. I have 'Halo' by Beyonce on there. I don't have any special reason for it except that I like it and when I was figuring out the music player that was one of the most used songs so it was right there. I have 'Song for Guy' on there by Elton John. I've always really loved the song just because it's a beautiful melody and if you listen at the end he sings very quietly "Life, is a delicate thing" . It now has an even more special meaning for me though because it's the song I used in the video montage of my Dad for his funeral.
I also have 'The Rain Song' on there by Led Zeppelin. Yeah, take me back to my rocker chick days, I know. But if you take the time to really listen to the words of the song, especially the last verse, it really carries a lot of meaning in it. It's always been my favorite song (not just Zeppelin, but altogether) so I had to include it.

Another nifty gadget is that map --------------------->
(I wonder if the arrow is actually pointing at it)

Every now and then I click the map and it shows me where in the world my readers are. Now some, I know - I have some relatives down east who pop in and some of the ladies from FF. But there are some there....I have no idea who they are. Kind of neat really. There was someone from Australia reading the other day. And someone from Spain and another from Germany. (come to think of it, they could be from FF too....)

I think it's kind of cool that I have someone out there reading. I realize most times I'm not really saying much of anything but sometimes even saying nothing can say a lot. So if you're reading for the first time or the 50th time, thanks for reading!

And now, I'm off to do make a new daycare sign for my van (any advertising is good advertising) and I'll add in a little happy dance because despite little screamy man's fit yesterday, I still managed to land a new client! Woohoo!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Things can only get better right?

Wow. I am officially stressed.

I've been struggling with this essay for my class. It's my first essay in 15 years so I want to do it right. I have to write about a leader (past or present) their leadership style and why or why not I think this person was a great leader. I've chosen Gandhi. I'll be honest, I knew very little about him except that he was big on fasting until I started reading about him. I chose him based on a quote of his I read on a website. "We must become the change we want to see in the world." Words to live by. He was an interesting man and I'm learning a lot and I'm not stressed about the content of the essay, more the technicals like footnotes and citing. I don't do failure well.

I'm also stressing about the daycare. I have two parents going on mat leave early next year so their kids, at best, will drop down to 2 days a week, at worst, withdrawn completely. I have one child who's moving in the next month or so and will be leaving. I still have my anchor child, little M, who's been here since before she could talk but now that she's in school full time so her fees aren't very much.

So I had an interview today with a client for January, a baby. Couldn't be better timing with both the other babies dropping down to part time around then but here's the thing. Today was the day that one of the babies decided not only was he not going to take his morning nap but he was also going to cry inconsolably. This triggered the other little one to cry, who probably would have napped but she's working out of the morning naps so it would have messed her up for the afternoon. To make matters worse, the interview showed up right at lunch time, when everyone (myself included) was beyond meltdown and feeling fowl.

Thank God Sean was home today, he gave lunch while I spoke with the parents but I'll tell ya, I will not be the least bit surprised if I never hear from them again. Great.

My week started so well, ended on a sour note yesterday and just keeps going downhill.

Calgone, take me away.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Feeling down.

I've been missing my dad a lot lately. It's just little things, like I'd be in the backyard with the kids and he'd come out and say hi. Or I'd take Connor downstairs to do laundry and he'd go to my Dad's room and give him his remotes and shoes.

Connor's birthday is coming up and I know my mom is making him a coat out of my Dad's coat. Everytime we were in the dining room and my Dad would come up Connor would tell my Dad to put his coat on and go out the door (my Dad would smoke in the garage so his coat was always hung at the back door) That conversation was 'their' thing.
When he got sick my Dad told my Mom that she'd have to wash out his 'garage coat' and save it for Connor. It's one of the few items of clothing my Mom kept of his and she's got it all cut into the pattern for a coat for Connor now. I saw it down there the other day and I think that is why I'm feeling so down.

As adults my Dad and I were not really really close, despite his living here. He wasn't one for chit chat but I still remember the last real conversation we had together, about 3 days or so before he died. It's his presence that I miss most of all. Just knowing he was there was enough and I miss him so much.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bye bye buckies

Wow. My baby is 10. I can't believe it. Okay, so my post is a day late, her birthday was yesterday (that's right, all 9's. She was born 09, 09, 1999) She's grown into quite a girl too. Smart, funny, kind and yep, just enough attitude to remind me that the teen years are fast approaching. I wouldn't trade her for the world and though I know that we've reached the stage where I'm not cool anymore, I'm only useful when she wants me to buy her something or take her somewhere, every now and then I'm still good enough to play a game of Life with or watch a show and eat chicken wings with.

Mary had a big day yesterday too. She lost her other front tooth. Now this wouldn't normally be a huge deal, she's already lost three other teeth but here's the thing...
Mary was a thumb sucker from the time she was 4 months until about 6 months ago. So 6 years of thumb sucking have reshaped shaped her palate and her two top front teeth protruded just a bit. I would secretly call them her "little buckies" (Sean hated me calling them that, though I never said it to her face and I do mean it in an endearing way, they were so stinkin' cute - not nerdy)
So the first top tooth came out and she looked the same because the other one was still there. But then the adult tooth under that one started pushing it to the side, almost like in the middle of her mouth and it was getting longer as it got looser so she started having a 'can opener' look. Still adorable but when she closed her mouth it would still stick out a bit.

Well last night we gave that tooth a yank. And now my baby has no top front teeth and by God she doesn't look like herself at all anymore. She's still adorable but I miss those little buckies.