Monday, 30 November 2015

Big Month Moment: November 2015

Gatineau Ruins

"Someone once told me that women should do two things everyday they love, one thing every week that they treasure, and one bigger thing every month they will never forget." ~ commenter on Modern Mrs. Darcy
I love this idea, and since I only vividly remember the moments chronicled in this log, I am writing down those big things monthly.

Shawn decided to surprise me and take me away for a mini-vacation in Ottawa.  Well, by surprise, I mean he had to tell me on the Tuesday that we were doing something special on Saturday.  That was thanks to the neighbours, who he had arranged to watch the dog, came 'round all dodgey looking for him to talk "about nothing."  And then on Friday he had to tell me that it was an overnighter because my mother-in-law emailed me to ask me what kinds of breakfast foods she should stock up on "for when they come over."  But the fact remains, I had to cancel a trip I had been looking forward to, and was a little bummed about it, and he wanted to do something special for me.

It was so much fun.  He worked within a tight budget (the cost of a very, very cheap cancelled flight),  but we did things I had never done before.  Like go on a hike to the Ruins in Gatineau Park.  He's been there many, many times, and he knows how much I love decaying buildings.

On Sunday morning, we thought about going Christmas shopping, but instead we did something way cooler: the Parliament tour.  It was a edifying, geeky and beautiful thing.  My favourite anecdote was that when Sir John A. MacDonald found out mid-speech that his best friend had died, he paused, hung his head, and cried in front of the House of Commons.  Its such a humanizing story for a very regal place.

After eating light the last two meals, an early morning walk around downtown and the tour, we were ready for a very indulgent lunch.  As in: "What?  They have poutine with bacon, pulled pork, an over easy egg and Hollandaise sauce on top?  Sign me up.  Wait... what?  They have all that with tomatoes, lettuce and pickles on a burger?  Well, I suppose every well-rounded meal needs some veggies... better get that, too."  It was intense and ridiculous, but we split it.  Lady and the Tramp had nothing on us.

So there you have it.  November memories logged.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Malcolm at 11 months

malcolmcrib


Its been a tough couple weeks.  Malcolm is on the move and we are all adjusting.  If I could go back in time, I would tell myself three things:

Dear Sasha-of-three-weeks ago,

You are doing a pretty good job keeping the house baby-proofed and preventing the him from electrocuting himself or choking on Lego, but there are a few things that you may not have considered that I'd like to remind you about.

First, if you are out and use your little travel-sized highchair, remember that since it doesn't have a tray, it gives the baby a lot more room for movement with his legs.  If he is too close to the table, he can kick his feet up, push his legs off the table and swing the chair backwards.  Glancing his head off of a radiator and the floor as a result is terrifying for both you and him.

Second, in the event that one of your older children stays home from school sick, do not leave the baby alone with said child when you call the school to report the absence.  The child might decide to go into basement to play with his/her toys and forget to close the door behind him/her.  Malcolm will follow the child and fall down the stairs.

Finally, if these events were to happen within days of each other, and the baby were to start getting up crying five (or so) times in the night, take him to the chiropractor.  It will help.  It took me a week and half before it dawned on me that just because he didn't break anything didn't mean he wasn't broken.  

If you value your child or your sleep, take heed.

Signed,
Present Sasha

p.s. I'll write again in a few days to let you know how else you've screwed up.

November Attire

iphonebear

Finally!  A moody, rainy November day to get us into the season.  Some people like to get home after a long day at school or work and put on cozy pyjamas.  Others prefer giant stuffed teddy bear costumes.  And when its time for the family to go to Home Hardware, the latter like to curl up in the shopping cart and pretend to hibernate.  If my life was a sportscast, this was the Highlight of the Week.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Baby Meditations

malcolmbacklit

Aside from shavasana, I am a meditation virgin.  That is, I thought I was until yesterday.

Recently, I have wanted to give it a go.  People talk about the benefits of meditation and how good you feel afterwards, and I thought, "I need a little of that in my life."  So I've dabbled in some meditation-themed podcast listening, thought about it, told myself I was going to get up 20 minutes earlier tomorrow, and subsequently never followed through.

I listened to a podcast yesterday about a woman, a really interesting antithesis-of-hippy metropolitan lady, talk about how meditation has saved her from anxiety.  She said - as I've heard before - just start by sitting somewhere and breathing.  

Last night as I was rocking Malcolm to sleep as I always do, I was savouring the moment as I have come to do.  I am acutely aware of the weight of his bottom on my thigh and his head in the crook of my elbow and I just rock with him.  He is most at peace when I breathe calmly, so I tend to just try to live in that moment and think about nothing but our presence together and my breath.  And then it occurred to me: I'm just thinking about my breath and sitting in the present moment ... I'M MEDITATING!  

Of course, that's when I got all excited, and started writing this blog post in my head, and thought about getting up to tell Shawn, and worried that I would fidget, and stopped thinking about breathing, and my meditation session effectively ended in irony.  Nonetheless, I had meditated.

Which has me thinking: what other times can I sit in the moment and just breathe?  I think I am on to something here (although I'll have to not think about it to be sure).

Monday, 23 November 2015

Bath Time

scarlettsmile

Warner residence, post-bath time.

Scarlett, whilst brushing her hair: Daddy, if you were a girl, you would love brushing your hair with this brush.  It feels like its scratching your brain.
Shawn: You like that feeling?
Scarlett: Yeah.


bathtimefun

Monday, 9 November 2015

Borders

artwall_003

"Mom, I've made a border out of lego in my room!" Nevin said.

A border out of Lego? I thought.  All the way around his room?  It was a bizarre project to take on, but it says something about his personality that I didn't think that this was entirely out of the ordinary.  I forgot all about it in about eight seconds.

It wasn't until two nights ago that I came into their room to read stories and Nevin said, "Look at my border!  Isn't it good?" that I thought Ohhhh, we've done it again.

***

Hanging on our wall, we have fantastic art.  The kids made two canvases last summer and the paintings speak volumes about who they are.  Scarlett's painting is full of colour, abstract and, for the work of a three-year-old, it is really pleasing to look at.  Nevin painted a police SUV driving on a road.  It is an imaginative object rendered literal and specific.  Trying to get him to expand his horizons a little (and to add a little colour to the very-white-not-a-part-of-the-police-SUV edges of the canvas), I suggested "why don't you draw a border around it?"

"Great idea Mom!" he said and he proceeded to draw a giant navy blob on top of the SUV with a too-small navy rectangle above it.  Weird kid thing, I thought.

It took me until October to figure it out: he literally drew a USA-Canada customs border gate.

***

So, in Nevin's room there is currently a large USA-Canada customs office with a gate for Lego cars and trucks to pass through; NOT a row of Lego encircling his room.  And it only took me a week to understand.

Monday, 2 November 2015

The fear of what might happen

woods
"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself."
~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
I have a little over 6 weeks until I return to work.  This has been the a second chances kind of year.  I have had the opportunity to enjoy an infancy one last time, an opportunity that I wasn't sure I would get.  I have savoured it.  I feel centered and like I've fulfilled what was meant to be.

But Work is coming.  As centered as I feel right now, the realities of running a household and working full time can be crushing.  I feel the pending doom.  The loss of quiet moments, the shift of chores from day to evening, rushing through supper preparations... I know what is coming and I am discouraged by it.

To deal with these emotions, I am trying something new and it seems to be helping.  I am imagining the very worst, most busy week, accepting it, and moving forward.  When I start to feel the dread of what is to come, I let it play out in my mind, ask myself "whats the worst that can happen?", imagine the consequences of those secondary events, and then I move on.  In my head I have yet to dream up a scenario in which dirty laundry, uncooked meals, or lackluster lesson plans lead to a child dying.  Most days it helps.

I first read about this strategy on A Blog About Love, and then read a passage that reiterated it in The Alchemist.  The former focusses on putting relationships first in your life and recognizing that in every moment there is greatness.  The author is a living example of following your dreams, while remaining rooted in the beauty of the present moment.  The latter has the universal theme of following your dreams, but also points out that the journey is as important as the destination.  They compliment each other well and for this girl, who struggles to focus on people instead of tasks, they are insightful gifts.

So I am going back to work in a little over six weeks and things are going to be challenging.  But its not my job to make everything perfect; I only have to tend to people and deal with the tasks as they come.  Phewph.  I might have to make this post my homepage.
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