THE FRUCKIN' BLOG


Kid-free Should NOT Require A Guilt Trip

Firstly this is long overdue. I realize my blogging has been sporadic at best but to be honest I haven’t had much to talk about so why bore you with dull crap that isn’t fun to read. Alright so onwards to this post…

So my kids have gone to PEI for another few weeks this summer without Troy or I accompanying them. And the worst thing I keep hearing from people is: Oh you must miss them so much, how can you be without them for so long?!

This makes me want to slap you. This makes it sound like I live for my kids. This makes it seem like I can only be happy as a mom, a parent. This means I must have no identity beyond caring for my kids. This is just a dumb statement. I mean, of corse I love my kids, but do I miss them? To be honest (cause that is how I roll), I don’t. Gasp! I know, what an awful woman!

I will explain this further.

My kids live in Ontario, their in-laws and entire family on Troy’s side live in PEI. Can I spend a month every summer in PEI with my kids in order for them to bond with their relatives? No I can’t. I have a life, a business, a dog, a house, a baseball team (Go Shenanigans!), I have things to deal with my life here. Do I want to spend every vacation I have in PEI? No I don’t want that either. I would actually like to visit other places, travel around and experience that big bad world out there. Who out there would like to travel to the same spot every single year, no matter how nice it is? No one. But I can’t deny my kids that connection with their family, especially when they are young and still excited to spend the summer with their grand parents. They talk about their visit for the whole year and the cousins they have spent time with. That is my gift to them, as well as to myself.

I also am so blessed to have family that will take such good care of them. My in-law’s are amazing, my sister in law is absolutely a saint and I have no worries about my kids in their care. Where else can they arrive on a beach, take of their shoes and probably not have to put them on again until they drive back to Ontario?

So why do people assume that since my kids are gone, I am bereft and lonely? Let me tell you this, I have gone to 2 movies, out to dinner so many times I lost count, we have rode our bikes around town visiting friends with no regard for when we have to go home (and believe me we have taken advantage of this). We’re heading to the states this weekend for an impromptu trip with friends to see a ball game, and don’t let me forget to add that I went shopping the other day and I didn’t have to yell at anyone to stop destroying displays, or have to just buy a bunch of random crap in order to speed through the day before the melt downs start. I shopped, I tried things on, and then I got a coffee and went home in my own time. HEAVEN.

But one of my favourite things is that I DON’T HAVE TO MAKE 17 MEALS A DAY THAT ARE BARELY EATEN. I wake up around 9, roll around twitter, sip 3 coffees, eat a leisurely breakfast, do some work, and then when Troy comes home we decide what adventure we will partake of that night.

IT’S. SO. FUN.

So I’m just letting those folks out there who have looked at me in horror when I say my kids are in PEI and I have no idea when they are heading home that sure I love my kids, but nope I don’t miss them. I will see them in a few weeks, I will cuddle them and then we will proceed to start the hectic school year, the busy sport schedules, the incredibly arduous task of breaking the late summer bedtime routines, the effing packing of lunches, getting kids to the bus on time, setting alarms to workout at the butt crack of dawn, making meals that typically get an EW! and trying to get the kids to wear shoes again.

Writing that statement alone warrants another cup of coffee and watching a show of my choice in the middle of the day which I can totally do if I want to! Boom. Nailed it.

These are the Dads I know, I know.

A wee tribute to the Dads I know, I know sung to the classic Kids in the Hall jingle. Thank you Dads, for the awesomeness you inject in our lives :) xoxo

These are the Dads I know, I know.

These are the Dads I know.

 

Barry Lawrence. He is my very own Dad.

He likes birds and sports and cars,

I’m not the son he wished he’d had.

 

These are the Dads I know, I know.

These are the Dads I know.

 

Troy Hogan. He is a smart engineer.

He likes to steal big pumpkins,

And drink a few large craft beers.

 

These are the Dads I know, I know.

These are the Dads I know.

 

Chad Ivison. He lives next door to me.

He tells a story, about Wen-dy,

that almost made me pee.

 

These are the Dads I know, I know.

These are the Dads I know.

 

Wesley Ryan. He is a true A-Dude.

He loves football, and swims in his pool,

but he doesn’t eat cheese, that’s rude!

 

These are the Dads I know, I know.

These are the Dads I know.

 

Paul Cowan. I’ve known him a long time.

He cut his leg, with a chainsaw,

and now he’s sorta fine.

 

These are the Dads I know, I know.

These are the Dads I know.

 

Andrew Gunby. He works for York Po Po.

He’s still trying to get Troy a duck,

but I always say No No.

 

These are the Dads I know, I know.

These are the Dads I know.

 

Bryan Grenier. He’s a really great cook.

He can mix one hell of a drink,

and he always reads my books!

 

These are the Dads I know, I know.

These are the Dads I know.

 

Serge Gallinero. It’s hard to spell his name.

He’s a cool actor, but when he drinks rye,

he forgets his own cool name.

 

These are the Dads I know, I know.

These are the Dads I know.

 

Craig Cordiner. He’s my bro-in-law.

When he calls me, and chewbacca roars,

it makes me go HA HA!

 

These are the Dads I know, I know.

These are the Dads I know.

 

BOOM. Nailed it.

 

Summer Stuff

So I’m home after spending a great week with my fam. Well, I suppose ‘great’ is relative these days but any time I have with my mum is time that I love so boom, I’m saying it was great! Plus I got to see some awesome cousins and take my mom yard sale-ing with them, which is my absolute worst nightmare, but they all made it tolerable which is saying a lot for their company! I bonded with my brother in law over chewbacca ring tones, adored my sister for watching my beasts while I conquered the J Crew outlet, and had an actual lunch with Troy that didn’t include hauling 14 coloring books, stickers and yelling at kids to stop bugging other diners … which was heaven.

Finn’s best time of the week was swimming with his second cousin (or third, or like twice removed, or really who can recall how we name kids of cousins?) and Wren was in a haze of polly pocket mayhem (which mom scored for 3 bucks) which was a GOD SEND for keeping her happy.

Got Cliff back from Camp Gunby today, my ‘absolutely grateful I have you to unload my dog on when I have to drop everything and leave town in a flurry friends!’ … and he is obviously currently depressed. I mean a week with 2 other dogs, on a farm, swimming in a pond every day and eating fucking fresh chicken eggs for every meal? I mean, I’m sorta depressed for him, but I’m so happy to hug his stinky body and kiss his equally stinky head.

But today is not about sadness or stinky dogs. It’s about shopping! Summer is right around the corner even though ‘horrible mom me’ sent her kids to school in wee sweat shirts when it was actually 7 degrees out but I told them to just run around the play ground to get warm so it’s all good.

I thought it would be a good post to get me rolling towards some summer purchases and inspiration to put a smile on my face. Here’s to quirky shit that I LOVE which will make me (and hopefully you) share a giggle during a time in which laughter could indeed be the best medicine.

OK so think Disney Land, Wonderland, or hell probably the park … who doesn’t need a little nip now and then when you are knee deep in hangry melt downs, relentless games of ’20 stupid questions’ and surrounded by exhausted, bitchy kids who are SOOOO BORED? A camera flask is a BRILLIANT addition to your summer repertoire. 

camera flask

I’m not sure you noticed but Pineapples are THE high fashion of the summer. I love this print from Fab.com.

Pineapple

Most are aware of my weird decor, but this pillow is my fav thing right now. A wee nudey Hello terrarium…I mean, this is amazing.

Nudey Pillow

I love things that light up. Prob you would get that if you saw the lights on my bed post, my living room mirror, my kitchen chalkboard, my bunkie walls … I guess twinkle lights are my thing. So this lightbox that you can design is like the heavens have opened up for me. You can post what’s for dinner (nothing), make jokes, use for party menus, list drink options, I mean, I love this.

Cinema Lightbox

My ‘buy me brunch‘ jesus tank is one of my go-to clothing options so obviously I would hop back to them, and see some new stuff while figuring out my summer wardrobe. Here are a few I love …

 

Buy Me Brunch

hangry

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So let’s not forget to ‘summer up’ your tech. A great resource is Design Love Fest which is one of my gurus and go to site for amazing decor/fashion inspiration. She offers up free wallpapers for your desktop, iPads, phones … whatever, so there is no excuse for a boring white background or pics of your kids. Ok that was harsh but you have enough of them on instagram, there is no need to plaster every device too. Enjoy!

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Lessons From a 7 Year Old

Sometimes it’s the big bombs that kids drop very haphazardly, infused with candor and innocence followed immediately with a fart joke or fart noise which obviously sets off a stream of belly laughs. I suppose my kids might get that part from us, recalling a certain conversation late Saturday night about body part slangs that had myself in uncontrollable giggles.

But there’s something about a kids resiliency that has sparked todays post. It’s been a long time since I felt I had something to say. I didn’t want to sound all Debbie Downer all the time so I’ve taken a bit of a self imposed hiatus, but I think it’s OK to talk about this now.

THE BACK STORY

For … shit, 2 years? 3? Both my ‘rents have been battling the big ‘C’, Dad is in a semi remission, I guess, with residual chemo to keep the animal at bay, but it will never be cured. Mom had an operation after radiation, last April, which eradicated her nasal tumour. But with the awesomeness of this disease if gives 2 fucks about whether you’ve had enough. This spring, things changed with an extremely aggressive mass in her nose and throat which had grown back with such force and speed that, if left untreated, provided a 3 month timeline.

She is attempting chemo now, which is a painstaking battle, but we will encourage and hope that it will manage the beast and give us more time. It’s this whole ‘time’ thing which is the kicker. Time is a funny thing for me right now. When people ask about my summer and what ‘fun’ things I have planned with the kids, what day camps I’m doing, what holidays I’ve planned, I reply with ‘weellllll, it’s May 30th today and that’s as far as I can manage, so nope, I got nothin’.

I don’t even want to plan anything, in fact, I find it hard to even think about planning something without feeling massive exhaustion. At this point you are thinking: but how does this jump back to the kids? I’m getting there, I promise :)

PRESENT DAY

So jumping back to this morning, I mentioned to the kidlets that I wasn’t feeling 100% and if that is the case then we have to delay the trek to yonder Ottawa to visit Nana in a few days. Wren is too little, but it’s Finn, that I look to for explanations. I know he is listening even when he’s fused to the TV. He’s zoned into minecraft but tandemly aware of the shift in our family dynamic.

The mini breakdowns and hushed conversations with Troy in the kitchen. The extra long hugs and puffy eyes that you try to hide with sunglasses. He’s only 7, but he’s watching me very closely. I battled with telling him anything, but in the end, he is already watching and the confusion was evident.

He began acting out, stomping, yelling, melting down, spewing self deprecating statements (‘I AM A BLACK HOLE!! was one of my favourites which I tried really hard not to laugh at), hitting his sister … VERY unlike Finn. I sat him down one day to explain in a high level way what was happening, and he cried. He cried in a doubled over, wailing type way which lasted about 5 minutes. We hugged it out and within 10 more minutes he was watching TV with a large weight off his shoulders. He just released, told me his fears, and yup, he was up and back at life.

So this morning when I mentioned we might have to delay the trip, Finn’s response was very matter of fact. It was ‘yup cause Nana has cancer and we can’t catch that but she can get sick from us. So hopefully you feel better mom and then we will go!’ and then he’s back to the animal alphabet game.

This has been a big lesson for me as an adult, as we brave face it up, hold it together for the sake of not making others uncomfortable. That’s just not me, and I think most of you know that by now. I’m a talker … I know, big shock with my reclusive nature, extreme dislike of crowds and people in general, but when I am with friends and family, I like to get it all out. Talking about things is the way I deal best, so never be afraid to ask me anything about my parents health.

But as I watch my kids, and their open expressions, and simple explanations to serious subjects, I am taking a lesson from them. They wear their hearts on their sleeves, they play each one of their cards, and then dust themselves off and move forward … and then try to make a fart sound from their arm pits … I mean, that’s ALWAYS funny. Regardless they accept and move on with their life.

As adults, we stress over a mountain of expectation. Scoring a great job, making buckets of cash, being super mom (or dad) all while looking good, keeping fit, having a nice house and hosting amazing parties. It’s fucking exhausting.

We fear death and the unknown. We like to control things, ‘handle’ things. We don’t like to show weakness, appear like we don’t have our shit together, and what I have learned many times over in the last few years from my own as well as my friends’ experiences with pain and loss, is that WE DON’T CONTROL A DAMN THING. Life is not in our hands, not really, it never has been and it never will be. You might think you have a good thing going and then boom, there goes that rug from under your feet.

Our fate is sealed in some other envelope that we will never see, and we can only control how we react to our stresses. Kids don’t think like us yet, thank god, they hear something shitty, they cry, they accept it, they might dwell a little, but then they up and run around a sprinkler in their underwear because that is all you can do.

I just re- read this post and I’m thinking – does this make me sound like a hippy dippy douche? I hope not. I’m not saying you have to be all serene and calm about your stress, but wouldn’t it be a better idea to be real about your feelings, don’t pretend you DIY all the things you post on pinterest, or that you family is a god damned miracle on facebook. No one believes you. No one even likes you when you do that.

I mean the bottom line in is this: you get some shit news, a crappy shitty fucky hand, you cry about it, talk about it, hug it out and then you have a hot dog and ice cream and say fuck, who’s gonna tell me a dirty joke and make me laugh?

I thought I’d include some snaps of my fav kids being goofy doing what they do best.

Let’s just lay in the freezing snow – it’s always a good time!

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So Wren likes to shove animals in her pants. Yup, there’s that.

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The king of expressions.

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My mom’s 70th birthday moustache breakfast … and yes Troy’s is fake.

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What could be more amazing then orange pants for communion? NOTHING.

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Mom and Wren at her mother’s day tea at school. Nana is the shit according to my kids. She can do no wrong :) xoxo to you mum.

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Ice-Apocalypse

It’s rare lately that I get a chance to write a post. Not that I don’t want to, but this spring has been a kicker in terms of work projects that haven’t given me time to write a thing. That being said, I felt the need to write about this past weekend in order to preserve the memory and share the good times with ya’ll (watching too much Nashville, sorry).

Hind sight is the most amazing thing really. When Troy came home Wednesday night last week, we thought our only issue was convincing Finn that the new kitchen table would be just as good as the old.

He joked about the impending storm and that the kids would probably be home from school on Thursday. I laughed that a March storm was not going to stop me from driving them in the morning even though the buses were indeed cancelled. I mean I could have driven them I suppose, but the rain would not let up, mixed with ice and snow and I thought to myself: Self…perhaps you had better stay home today with the kids. Foresight is amazing too …

Our afternoon trip to Sobeys solidified that thought when I had to navigate a cart in a foot of slush while the ice pelted our faces, kids screaming and running wild. I also could not get the trunk open so instead piled all my goods in and around the kids in the backseat of the car. Needless to say I was more then happy when Troy was home early to save me from carting them all in by myself. He ALSO went to the liquor store on his way home, which could have enhanced my excitement.

Could have.

It’s so rare we eat early on a long weekend but for some reason we did, yay us!, and when the power flickered and ended around 6:30 we laughed as the kids strolled out to the kitchen wondering why it was dark. Power is a strange concept to kids. Wren kept flicking the light in the bathroom, WHY ISN’T THE LIGHT ON? No power. WHY IS THE TV OFF? No power. WHY IS THERE NO WI-FI? No power. The blank looks after each answer were enough for me to see that we need a lesson in the power grid.

As in any good power outage you scramble for candles and people come over to drink beer and talk about the darkness for hours. You also have to make a vat of coleslaw in the dark because for sure all your family will still come for dinner on Good Friday, so you had best be prepared.

When the ice began to pile up and the first large branch came down mere inches from the van, we thought, hmmm maybe this isn’t going to be a simple storm. Thankfully we moved the cars with Troy and our neighbour Chad narrowly escaping a giant fall out from our large maple in the front yard. It was around the time that a city worker came by to inspect said tree, that is about 3 times the size of our house, when a giant CRACK sent him scurrying away from us with a warning to stay inside!

So many drinks later, a whole family in one bed (because there is no way in hell kids will sleep in a dark room on their own), and a lone drifter that made it to our couch, we woke up to a crazy view. Our first statement being: perhaps we should have stayed sober to handle the crisis? Crazy hindsight.

We spent the day hauling branches, lost part of the fence, but really we were very lucky that our only punishment was hauling massive trees, dodging ice rocks falling on our heads while nursing a nasty hangover. The fresh air was much needed, for my head ache but also to keep the bod warm as the temp continued to drop in the house. We got power after 24 hours, which sent us bolting to the showers, but others faired day worse.

So I’d love to share my list on ‘Things I learned during Ice-Apocalypse 2016’:

  1. The kids fared better then adults with no tech – no TV to bribe kids with!
  2. The more the merrier when it comes to a community in trouble. Neighbours banded together to commiserate and haul wood, share showers, share wine and lots of pulled pork sandwiches.
  3. ALWAYS KEEP YOUR PHONE CHARGED (we didn’t)
  4. ALWAYS KEEP YOUR STEREO CHARGED (we did!)
  5. ALWAYS HAVE AN IPOD BECAUSE BLUETOOTH WON’T WORK (we did!)
  6. Our hot tub cover is a champ, losing only about a degree of heat after 24 hours – bravo beachcomber!
  7. It’s pretty sad to see all the fallen trees in town :(
  8. BBQ’s can cook ANYTHING – who needs stoves – pfft …
  9. Easter candies became a 4th food group
  10. Ice storms keep beer cold – side bonus
  11. They also keep fridge food in coolers cold
  12. BUY A BIGGER COOLER
  13. The legion will continue to serve you well into a power outage before you are kicked out
  14. Zehrs doesn’t have generators – like WTF??? Unless they were giving away food for the fun of it?
  15. Our town was amazing on clean up. Yesterday the city workers showed up, chipped all our branches and also trimmed the beast tree in the front so that we could start parking in our driveway again.
  16. Fire pits are mandatory when you have as many trees as our yard.
  17. When I asked the kids how their classmates and teachers fared during the weekend, it was but a flicker on the radar of their world. They responded with a fine, and the weekend excitement was long forgotten.

So in spite of it all, my company arrived, we had great food, a lot of laughs and managed to not let the hiccups set us back. You have to blow through the bad with a smile and a shrug and worry about the clean up after all the wine has been drunk.

 

when we woke up … the van looks so lonely

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our nifty pile …

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the danger zone

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our solar globe lanterns lit up the kitchen and bathroom all night

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I can’t believe the lilac bush lived through it

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