I’m still here…

I know, I know.  I did that thing where I got so far behind in writing that I just didn’t know how to start again.  I think the last time I really meant to write was when Bo turned 15 months.  And now he’s more than 16 months…

So, I’m here.  I’m ok.  We’re taking some vacation time this week and hanging out at the farm so I’m hoping to get a bit of alone time (haha, ya right!) to catch up on some writing.  But for now, here is brief status update:

  • Bo is finally walking!  He took his first real steps a couple of weeks ago and just this week, he’s finally realized that walking is faster/better than crawling.  Good timing, because it’s damn hot here and I couldn’t put him in shorts when he was crawling because his poor knees were getting all butchered.
  • Summer is so much better than winter.  We are spending tons of time outside and, when I’m on my own with the kids, we’re all so much happier when we aren’t stuck indoors.
  • We bought a bouncy castle.  It’s just a small basic one but the boys love it.  Money well spent!
  • Work has been a bit rough lately.  I have a challenging employee (who was hired for me when I was on maternity leave).  I’ve been trying so hard to be open-minded but it’s getting really hard.

I’m feeling like our vacation couldn’t have come at a better time.  I know I’ve only been back at work for four months, but I was definitely starting to burn out.  I’m hoping a nice break, with time spent out of the city with my guys, will help refresh me.  Now I’m going to crack open my eReader and enjoy a few moments of silence by the pool before the baby awakes and the other boys return from their work in the field.  The only company I have right now are these girls – and I’m pretty sure they’re too busy chomping on the grass to bother with me! 

   

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Horsing around

Two years ago, we were here at the farm celebrating this May long weekend. The horses had arrived back in our pasture after spending the winter at their owner’s farm. I wrote about my envy of the horses and their babies, feeling sad that I had been trying to conceive and had recently miscarried. 

Two years later, I’m here again with my two boys. The horses have returned and, this time, it’s them who don’t have their babies. Of the three mares that arrived at our farm the other night, one recently suffered a still birth and another had two miscarriages this year.  One is currently pregnant and on some medication to help sustain her pregnancy. 

I was so surprised when I heard that. And sad. I wonder what an animal feels when they lose a baby. I know horses have a really long gestational period (something like 11 months!) and I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t be aware of the loss after all that time. 

I’m not an animal person. In fact, I’m actually quite terrified of most animals (including these horses) and usually stay as far away as I can. But I do find them interesting and I’ve been amazed by what I’ve seen as I observed these creatures (from a safe distance!) I watched as the babies were separated from the moms one summer when it was time for them to be weaned and I heard their cries.  I saw the grandmother put the babies in their place when they wouldn’t obey their owners. I watched them mourn when one of their sisters died. 

Two years ago, I knew that I was being irrational when I felt a bit of anger towards the horses for having something I wanted.  Nonetheless, I still felt what I felt. 

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this except that perhaps I can learn a little lesson from these horses. If nothing else, I think this is a good reminder for me that I don’t always know the full story behind someone else’s journey. When I’m jealous that someone has something that I want, I need to take a moment to realize there may be something there that I don’t want…something they won’t or can’t tell me about.  Of course, this is something I’m going to need to work on. Just this morning, I received an email pregnancy announcement from a friend and, as happy as I am for her, I also felt a little twinge of jealousy. I guess I’m a work in progress.  

 

Gifts

Saturday morning was cold and crisp, with a clear blue sky and glorious sun. It was colder than any of us would want for late March (come on, spring, where are you?) so my dad and I decided to take advantage of Mother Nature and go skiing. 

This is my first winter skiing in over 15 years. It was something I did with my parents and sister every winter when I was growing up but haven’t done at all as an adult. Now that Littleman is old enough and has started skiing lessons, I decided it was time to get back onto the slopes. 

I skied two other days this year and rented equipment both times. My old gear somehow disappeared from my parents’ basement over the years (and, anyway, would have been totally out-of-date). Today, I decided to try some demos in the hopes of buying new skis during the end-of-season sales. 

I tried four different pairs of skis and, I have to say, it felt amazing. First of all, I’d only skied on crappy rental skis so far this year. And then, there’s the new technology. I felt, at first, like the man was handing me kids skis because they were so short (I vaguely recall skiing on 175s or something in the past). As it turned out, the short skis felt so great. I was skiing really well. 

My dad and I spent a couple of hours skiing together at the nearly-empty ski hill near our farm. I guess people have given up on skiing for the season since it’s the end of March because we pretty much had the slopes to ourselves.  It felt wonderful to get some exercise and fresh air, without worrying about looking after the kids (they stayed at the farm with D and my mom). It also felt really good to spend some one-on-one time with my dad. We get to see my parents a lot when we all spend weekends together at the farm, but everyone’s focus is always on the kids. 

When I had finally chosen my favourite skis, my dad bought them for me. It was such a nice gift.  But thinking about it afterwards, I realized the real gift was getting to spend time with him.  As I get older and life gets busier, it’s more important than ever to make time for things like that. I hope that my renewed love for skiing gives us the opportunity to spend more time together and strengthen our relationship. I love my dad and I know how lucky we are to have him in our lives. 

Peace on earth…

…or at least there’s peace in my living room right now.  Our Christmas was lovely but it was anything but peaceful.  Six adults, a preschooler and two nine-month-old babies made for a pretty rowdy Christmas morning.  We woke up and opened presents at the farm with my family.  Then, D and I rushed around to clean ourselves up and get the kids ready, whip up some mashed potatoes and drive an hour and a half back to the city to have Christmas dinner with his family.  A long afternoon of gift-opening (they open gifts one at a time, oldest to youngest, can you imagine?!) followed by dinner, and then we were back in the car driving up to the farm again so we can spend the rest of the holidays out of the city.

So ya, not peaceful.

But right now, at this very moment, I am alone.  The other adults are out for a walk and the three kids are napping.  The sun is setting over the neighbouring cornfield.  No toys are making noises.  There is a turkey in the oven for tonight’s dinner (since we didn’t get to have “Christmas dinner” with my family yesterday) and it smells divine.

I will enjoy this small window of peace before the gang returns and the children awake.  And then I will enjoy the rowdiness, too.  Because, for us, that’s what Christmas is all about.

Peaceful or rowdy, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

Giving thanks

It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada and I have a lot to be thankful for. For my two healthy, happy, handsome boys. For a loving husband. For wonderful parents and our extended family (including cousins in cute matching jammies!) And for another beautiful weekend at the farm…

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Summer’s end

I love summer.  I always have.  It’s hands-down, my favourite time of year

I love the heat.  Going outside without having to think about whether or not you’re wearing enough layers.  Not even bringing a sweater with you.

And then there are the sounds.  That buzz from some insect that fills the air on those hot July days.  People mowing their lawns.

The smell of rain on hot concrete.

I know that summer isn’t officially over for another couple of weeks, but it makes me sad to think that fall will be here soon to remind us that summer’s evil stepsister, winter, is on her way.

I feel a bit guilty, though, because a teeny tiny part of me is a bit relieved that it’s September.

Don’t get me wrong, my summer was awesome.  Summer is my favourite time during maternity leave.  I love putting my baby in the stroller and heading out for walks.  I love sitting on patios with a coffee or gelato.  I love the fact that we got to spend lots of time at the farm this summer because I wasn’t working.

But I’ve also discovered that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

We spent the past week at the farm with my family.  My sister was there with her husband and six-month-old daughter.  My parents were there. D and Littleman and Bo and I were there.  That’s a lot of people and a lot of time together.  If you had asked me a year ago how my family would handle a week together like that, I would have told you that my sister and I would probably be butting heads by the end of the week.  I never would have thought that the people butting heads would be my mom and I.

But, wow, did we ever have a tough week.  My mom and I spend a lot of time together, so maybe that was the problem.  Maybe we had gone for too many walks, too much shopping, too many lunches and too many weekends at the farm this summer, that a whole week was just the breaking point for us.  It makes me sad because I love my mom and I love spending time with her.  I need her help and I appreciate that she’s willing to provide it.  I value the time we spend together.  So, that made it extra-hard when she would snap at me or barely speak to me throughout the week.  At one point, I seriously considered asking D to take me home, but I was really enjoying the time with my sister and didn’t want to miss out on that.

By the end of the week, things had settled down a bit with my mom and we were able to make it through the rest of our vacation.  But, by that point, Littleman was hitting the end of his rope with respect to being away from his normal routine.  We did tons of fun stuff with him throughout the week (swimming, campfire, s’mores, putting up a flagpole, painting a fence) but by the end of the week I started to notice that he was acting out whenever we weren’t doing something fun.  I knew it was time to get back to real life.

So, yes, I love summer.  I love it a lot.  But its final days kicked my ass.  I’m ready to get back to a regular routine where my kids go to bed a decent time, we eat less junk food and I see my parents for shorter stretches.  I’m ready.

Back to reality

We’ve come to the end of a 10-day vacation at our family farm. It was a great week but I think we’re all ready to get back to real life for a while.

Littleman had so much fun this week. But I’ve noticed, in the last couple of days, he’s become a bit difficult. In fact, this morning he was being a complete shithead. (Don’t get me wrong, I love my kid and he’s a really good boy, but he was being a total punk earlier!)

Generally, Littleman is very well-behaved. He’s a happy kid and, while he has a tendency to be a bit bossy with us, he’s usually game to go along with anything we need/want to do. I think the problem we’re facing right now is due to the fact that we just had a week of unstructured fun and lots of ice cream. Naps were sporadic. Bedtimes were out of whack. Dinner was later than usual.

All of a sudden, the happy-go-lucky kid started saying “no!”, having epic meltdowns and waking up in the middle of the night (which I obviously don’t need when I’m already getting up to nurse a 4-month-old!)

I’ve noticed myself getting annoyed and snapping at him. I have to remind myself that he’s only 3. And that he needs structure.

Today, we came home and tomorrow it’s back to daycare. Hopefully a schedule and some regular activities (and less treats!) will help get things back to normal. Fingers crossed!