Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day Twenty Two - Self-Affirmation and Power

I'm not so sure a trip to Giant Tiger self-affirms or empowers me, but it was fun. Rosie and I went in search of little plastic flowers that have tiny solar panels on them so that when the sun hits, the flowers sway a bit from side to side. Rosie saw them at a friend's birthday party the other day and thus we went on an adventure. Something special for just her and I while William was off celebrating his last week of kindergarten with class trips, play days, water days, medals, and most importantly, the Jumbo Freezie!



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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day Twenty One - Wholeness

He liked the lions the best. Two more days of kindergarten.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Day Twenty - Action




We had a terrific weekend of library, birthday party, family and soccer which involved Rosie scoring another four goals! The picture of the kids with the books is what our house looks like once a week in the summer (who am I kidding, year round) when we come home with a full bag of new books. Notice on the left the new rocking chair Scott surprised me with that he found from Restore! The bath picture was taken this afternoon instead of at bedtime as a way for me to repent and make up up for having last bathed the kids, ummm, sometime last week. Scott and I have licorice and the last three episodes of Jekyl (BBC mini-series that's terrific!) to plow through tonight. I love how even work/school nights can become movie nights and date nights and late nights once it's summer.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day Nineteen - Courage

This blog is starting to be written ever-other-day instead of each day. That wasn't my plan. I'll be honest and say that I'm tired. This week was long and dark and rainy and I didn't jump into it and give it my all. I felt lazy and not my best as a Mom. And it happens, and it's alright, I know. But to me it's only alright if I acknowledge and work towards not letting it happen again any time soon. Maybe I need to get out of my bike after Scott comes home, go for a quick ride through the paths behind my house. And I do need to get back into yoga, it's been far too long. I need to bake more (despite the urge to leave the oven off in the humidity) and have healthier snacks on hand for myself. I went to bed late each night and besides these blogs, didn't write and barely read a word. All of it adds up to a grumpy mom. So! I'm looking forward to the weekend, seeing friends and family, maybe going out one night, planning an anniversary getaway with Scott (obviously :) that's coming up, 10 years! The weather should be (must be!!) brighter, I've got a bunch of great books waiting for me on my shelf, wonderful food from Bailey's in my kitchen and in only a few days I'm going to have my kids home and no worries about school (or babysitting) for quite some time. There, it took courage to admit all of that and I feel better for it. Now back to my book that's good but taking me far to long to read so I'll get it done and move on to something new.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day Eighteen - Awareness of Process


I'm intrigued by today's title but tonight's not going to be the night I mull over it. Tomorrow maybe.

A few tidbits of fun just to make myself type a little more.

William's getting his 6 year molars and from how excited he is about them they may as well be made out of gold.

Rosie's gang of imaginary friends is increasing at an alarming rate, friends of friends of friends. The girl's in need some schooling but I love her imagination. Both kids are doing a week of day camp the first week of July. I thought that staying in the routine of getting up and going would make it easier on them. William's doing the ESQ engineering camp at UW, so he'll be going off to work with Daddy each day, five full days, his longest time away as he's used to half mornings. Rosie, the same week, will be doing a morning day camp, with friends, organized by the city. She'll love it, some actual real people to put with some names. It'll only be two hours a day on my own for the week but it'll be writing time and I'm looking very forward to it. I'd be dishonest though if I didn't say that I'm nervous for William, but there's Lego and he knows it and it should be good. The process for things for us for the next while is going to balance a lot upon change.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day Seventeen - Beauty/Comparison

Just being happy with all the bits that make us who we are.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Day Sixteen - Expectations





I think one of my favourite things about the upcoming season is the lack of expectations. Routines fall by the wayside and the days fill up with so many possibilities when lunch doesn't have to come at the exact time every day. Bedtime comes later just because the sun has tricked us again into thinking it was earlier than it really is. Pjs stay on longer in the mornings and can even be worn as the kids forget their shoes and rush out into the backyard. Without school, my kids are stuck with each other and are already realizing how much fun they can have. I am very much looking forward to this summer and so many nights like the one in these pictures that were taken after a leisurely dinner in the backyard, bowls on laps for us and the kids eating sandwiches and veggies at the top of their play structure. When we came in for the kids' bath and story before sleep, everyone got the giggles and one crazy thing led into the next. I don't even remember if it was a school night or not, with only eight days left, who's really keeping track.

But at the same time, I'm itching always for projects and deadlines. I feel good right now with about three short range projects to keep me going for the upcoming months. I'm hoping this summer with be a perfect balance of relaxing while continuing to work towards a few goals, what I will expect of myself and my writing.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 14/15 - Living in the Present


Which today including letting Scott sleep in, kids jumping on him in bed to open his presents, sitting at the table eating cinnamon buns and strawberries while drinking cappuccinos, putting together the Lego William had been so insistent of getting for today and spending hours together in our pjs. Just hiding away for a little while to celebrate the day and celebrate him.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 12/13 - Control/Self-Awareness

I missed yesterday's blog because Scott and I had a date night and went to see X-Men, fun night. So I did forget. It's funny that the two times I forgot to blog here this month, the topic has been self-awarenness, hmm.

So the fun news, isn't anything big but it was exciting. For the past few months I've been writing off and on with the guidelines of the Storyaday.org website. The woman, J.D., who facilitates this site is amazing and inspiring and I took a mini-course with her to get me going about a month or so ago. Since then I tried to do the write-a-day May thing but didn't get far, it didn't work well to try to write something new everyday when I already had a project going. But I did get a few stories up on another blog that is connected to hers. Anyway, hope this makes sense to people other than just me! Last week the Storyaday website wanted to showcase some of the writers and the stories they had done in May. I didn't participate in it. But! One night I was scrolling through some of the writers and the stories they're done and got to a post from J.D. She had posted one story of her own and then a recommendation of one (only one!) of her favourites she had read in May and it was mine!! I had no idea she'd done that and it felt amazing! I'm really started to realize I'm much more competitive and looking for publication more than I'd ever realized, it's fun! So I've got a great plan (mini) for the summer and long-range for the fall. I thrive on criticism, positive and constructive, and this week - just that little bit of recognition - did me a world of good!

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(Wrote this very quickly on the way out for a playdate with lovely baby twins! Please excuse my excitement and rushing about for any typos!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day Eleven - Confusion/Negatvity




Actually no, none of that today. We're good. I had some exciting news this week, but I'll save it for later, tired tonight and time for bed.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day Ten - Wisdom


Wisdom to know when to call it a day and say good night, just not before curling up with a good read of course.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Day Nine - Living Life Fully/Curiousity


After a weekend of living quite fully I think I hit the wall. I feel guilty to say how tired and unenthusiastic I was today after such a luxurious weekend, but I dragged through the Monday chores that needed doing and kept trying, unsuccessfully, to sneak back to the couch and my book. But the crazy week has begun, and I am catching up and will do so even more after a good sleep tonight. I'm craving a day that's relaxed but occupied with those moments of not looking at the clock, not thinking about the internet, not sneaking pages of my books, all while trying to focus somewhat on what the kids are trying to tell me or get me to do with them. Living fully by living in the moment. There's a goal for the week, and some sun wouldn't hurt either.

The game the kids are playing in the picture and everyday lately is The Kids of Carcassonne, yup from the adult's Carcassonne game, and we all love it.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day Seven/Eight - Beauty/Self-Awareness

I got back from my day away in Toronto late this afternoon. Scott and the kids picked me up and with Bonnie, we had a great afternoon of walking, playing in parks and eating treats galore. The time I had on my own was perfect. The time flew, we went out for meals, saw a movie (Midnight in Paris, new Woody Allen, so great!), bought too many books, and went to see Ann Patchett speak in the Annex for the Luminato Festival. She read a great and horrifying passage from her new book, State of Wonder, and was interviewed by non-other than Shelia Rogers, which was a great surprise. Their talk, on a stage before the audience in two oversized chairs was very quick-witted and inspiring. She didn't talk as much about writing as art in general and the relationship between author and reader and how that's the moment art is born, not when the words are penned, but when the reader comes into contact with them and things pop. All of the visit was a kick to make me realize that I am something other than a mother, and a wife and a homemaker (cringe!) I am trying to be a writer, and I'm saying that more and more loudly these days, not to convince myself of it's truth or worth, but to make me accountable for it.

And I realized, like always after and during visits there, how much I do love the city and miss it. Being in the Annex, our old neighbourhood, was so familiar. I didn't have to think about where to put the token in the subway station, I could have gotten through the turnstiles and up and down the street into my old favourite shops blindfolded. But at the same time, it seemed like such a different lifetime, tucked away and remembered as our life together, starting out, before kids. It's good to know it's still there and available for us to visit, but I never need to go back for more than a visit.

So thank you to my Aunt B for all of it, down to being able to sleep in this morning. Thanks to Scott for having such a great time with the kids, getting to Rosie's soccer game and lingering this morning at home to give Bonnie and I even more time together to just go slow. I'm happy and feeling light tonight, although tired for so much walking (I hate to admit!), the kind of walking you almost don't remember doing because you were so engaged in talking the entire time. A very happy day.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Day Six - Satisfaction


Satisfied along a sigh of relief that it's finally Friday and finally the end of swimming. One kid passed, one didn't, but no one's disappointed or surprised. It was a hard swimming term, too many sick weeks and Swim Kids 3 gave William his first real challenges in the water, probably a good thing. But the best feat of all was getting William back on his bike, after an entire season of being too frightened, he just sort of got over it and jumped back on, but not without considerable contemplation, as you can see by the tongue.

Home care with D for the week is done, Bailey's pick up was relatively painless (everyone but me stayed in the car, it was a short list, I didn't plan well enough), and now kids are just finishing looking at books on their own in bed before lights out. Last night of swimming meant a french fries and wraps pick-up for dinner from Johnny Fresco's, perfect treat which also leaves very few dishes to do now. Nothing else for tonight except a quick tidy up, maybe half an hour spent on some rewriting, a movie with Scott and a bag for Toronto tomorrow to pack!! I know I won't be able to get to a computer tomorrow, so I'll make up for it somehow on Sunday.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day Five - Competition/Comparison

Or maybe I'll just write about the book I started reading today. Ann Patchett's newest novel is called State of Wonder and I'll admit, if she wasn't the author and I'd read the back of the book, I probably wouldn't be interested. But each time I begin one of her novels I know it's her, her voice is that strong to me. The stories are completely different but there is a sense of familiarity and knowing you're in for a great read. The exciting thing for me about starting this book today is that I'm going to see her read on Saturday night in Toronto! For my birthday, my Aunt Bonnie is having me up for the weekend (alone - such luxury :) and we've got tickets to the reading. I don't think I'll have many thoughts of competition or comparing myself to this writer, however inspiration would be well received. Just ten or so pages into the book and already there is a lot of talk of snow and that's trademark Patchett to me. I guess in comparison mine would be images of light and lots of kitchen scenes, my characters always tend to gravitate toward dishwashing and sunsets. Maybe it's time we bought a dishwasher.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day Four - Creativity

Another easy one, or maybe not easy, but fitting. Creativity. And to be honest, after thinking of me and writing and other sparks of creativity that light throughout the days - some I gravitate towards and others I don't - I think of Rosie. I think of her and see her creating away in a picture like this...



..in a controlled creative setting, but that's only when she can sit still. My favourite creative moments for her are the ones that define her complete free spirit and individuality - the ones that still surprise me, like when I was going through the pictures from William's birthday and discovered I hadn't been the only one taking photos that day.




I admire her ability to creative without even realizing. All kids do, it's their play, but where William will think and plan and research before the creativity and building starts, she dives in excited just to do it, no thought as to what's going to come out of it. She makes up stories for twenty minutes without taking a breath, she listens to music she has memorized and belts out the words whether or not anyone is listening, she writes long lists of letters out horizontally and pretends to make up words, she puts on dance recitals, describing each movement before she begins (the beautiful part or the silly part), and she's always happy with the results, never frustrated with the process. Creativity to her right now is the doing, way more than the end result. The act of being creative, the doing, so in the moment. I'm thinking tonight about that for me, enjoying the process, the bits and surprises that make it all up, along the way. Playing instead of working. Being in that zone, writing and forgetting everything around you and not coming up for air until there's no longer a choice but to stop. That's the good stuff and I hope the kid never loses it.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 3 - Love

So apparently I got an easy one today. The plan was to write about William's birthday and when I opened up my meditations book to see the title for the day (something I already anticipate each morning, I try not to look ahead) there it was, perfect for William and his big day. And a big day it was - 6! It was the first year Scott and I weren't up before he was to wake him with balloons in bed. Instead he jumped onto our heads in bed before 6am forcing us to get up, so we didn't have the time or energy to feel too guilty about somehow sleeping in. The day started with presents (coffee), Fruit Loops, Transformers (I still shudder at that one, mind you it's restricted to toys alone and books, no movies or tv), playmobil, lego, wii games, and the Optimus Prime pjs which I'm not sure he's taken off since.

It was the first gorgeous day in what seemed like weeks and we were lucky to get so much time outside that we hadn't counted on getting. Family and friends arrived bearing gifts which William declared were all his favourites. He's past the 'grab, unwrap, toss to the side, grab the next one' phase and will actually stop and look at each gift, often playing with it for awhile while the unwrapped gifts wait. A week later was the sleepover, with good friends who'd been unable to come over on his birthday. It was great, they were happy, there was ice cream and Wii. He's 6 and about to finish kindergarten and he reads chapter books and loves atlases and throws toy guns away in the garbage when they come with Transformers or Playmobil (which always surprises me), he sticks his tongue out but doesn't know it whenever he's concentrating on something, he snores like an old man, never wants his hair cut, still hates having me wash his hair, has gotten up to swimkids 3 but almost certainly has run out of luck and this time will not pass, he's Rosie's biggest soccer fan, he looked like he'd been beaten up by Wolverine a few weeks ago when he flew off a swing and landed on a big mean prickly bush (it was horrible!) He is the most loving six year old kid I could imagine. He's got the most open and honest heart and has big dreams of moving to Florida one day to be surrounded by palm trees. He's still petrified of playing What Time is it Mr Wolf and reading Little Red Riding Hood (now I feel guilty about my Wolverine joke). He said something to me today about being 6 and I found myself almost correcting him that no, he was only 5. It was the first time I felt sad, just for a moment, about him getting so big, but then he told me it was my turn, and we went back to playing Cars 2 Monopoly.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Day Two - Belief





Rather than start up with the new stuff (including how I did indeed rise early this morning and write, but not on the deck, too chilly at 6am) there are still birthdays to celebrate around here. For my birthday just over a week ago - my 35th! - we were treated to some overnight guests, which doesn't happen too often for us. My Aunt Paula, and my other wonderful Aunt now, Claire, stayed with us while on a mini-holiday from Ottawa. It was the first time we've had them to our house and it was three days of having that wonderful feeling of sharing all the little bits that make up you and your family with people you love. The weather was perfect and we spent my day playing in the creek where the kids were taught to make dandelion necklaces (which they gleefully adorned me with), and filled their both with water. We took a trip to St Jacobs, ate lots of great food (including fish and chips and burgers from Sonnys, my choice, for my birthday dinner) and lots of reading. I'm thinking of printing all the pictures and framing them of everyone who has sat on this couch and read to the kids. It could be a fun mural for them, from over the years.

We had a great visit and although the kids don't see our aunts as often as we'd all like, they cuddled and played together as if they'd only seen Paula and Claire the other day. The last night they slept over, Rosie told us her doll Molly couldn't stop crying because she didn't want them to go, and William - upon getting into bed with us before school in the morning - actually broke into tears when he realized they'd have left when he got home.

Belief is a perfect title for today, day two in my blog-writing-a-day-a-thon, because it can be the perfect mix of what you feel and what you know is right, in this instant, being Love. It's such a wonderful thing for a parent to sit back and watch your children being loved and completely loving others in return. That easy give and take that only happens when the kids are getting older and it comes through them on their own, without force and without a parent hovering above. It makes you think and even believe that maybe, there are days, that you've gotten something right.

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day One - Being in Charge

Today I come armed with goals, but I need help. One plan is to blog here everyday, (maybe for a year. Can I do everyday for a year? I'll try). Either a line, a picture or a full out entry, that's the plan. At a used book sale last month I bought a tiny pocket sized book called 'Meditations for Women to do too Much' by Anne Wilson Schaef. No idea who she is but the paragraph-long meditations for each day looked appropriate for me and non-threatening. Each page has the date, a title, a quote and a small bit of encouragement and to be honest I haven't read many of them yet but I like the titles on each page, if nothing else. So I'm going to use each daily title as the title of my blog and some may be relevant to me at that moment and some may not. At least it gives me a bit of structure for this mini-project and I liked that yesterday's title was Goals, so I'll go with it.
As for Being in Charge, I am realizing more than ever how much I need to be. I don't mean of the kids, and that part of my life, of course I am, along with Scott. But to be in charge, take charge, of my writing and the life I want outside of home stuff. So today I asked Scott for a writing afternoon, and of course he said yes and took the kids off for some adventure I look forward to hearing about later. This afternoon, I sat in my cool office that lets me look up at the trees in my backyard and finished the first draft of a new story and I love it! I'll admit I felt guilty to ask for the time alone and to not get to spend this gorgeous day out with my family but I birthed a story this afternoon that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't asked for time, not to mention kicking off this blogging project, and it feels great. So here I am, being a grown up, being in charge and being excited about what it could, or will, all mean to me and to me relating to my family in refreshed and happier ways.

My mind is spinning with more goals right now, including getting up early some mornings to write (on my deck in the early morning with coffee would make it worth it, I'm sure), writing plans (finish this story, one of several for a collection), actually submitting them places. This year of blogging I figure will be of another year journey of our family and the major changes that await us after the summer (not that the summer needn't be slow and long and luxurious), but will also let me document my writing and where that takes me. But I feel I'm talking too much about it and need to just jump in.

So back to Schaaef and her mediations, I like the quote she gives me for today about being in charge, by Nellie McClung:

Never retract, never explain, never apologize...get the thing done and let them howl.

Perhaps a little severe for me - who often over explains and apologizes for everything - but I suppose for a happier wife and mama in the end, a little bit of howling never does anyone too much harm.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Let the Celebrations Begin!

William's 6th birthday began at least
a week before his actual day with an overnight
trip to visit Nana and Boppa in Whitby. The
stakes were set high when his first gift
was a ten dollar bill from his great-grand-parents, his first gift of money ever to spend any way he wished. This was better than any old tooth fairy! William and Rosie were whisked off by Daddy that afternoon to Zellers (giving Nana and me a much needed visit alone) to spend this money which was so obviously burning a hole. William justified it cooly by saying if he bought something that day, he'd be able to share it with Nana and Boppa, let them know right away what he'd bought. As you can see in the picture, he bought a Transformer (his newest fascination that has been very limited to books and a few toys alone). Needless to say, when they returned a hour or two later, Nana and Boppa were thrilled with William's sincere displays of gratitude and love. The day ended with birthday cupcakes for William and me and long hugs goodbye before we could finally drag the tired kids away. It was a great day and Princess Rosie and Boppa, while not always in the spotlight that day, figured out their own games and had nothing to complain about either. Thanks for a perfect day!!
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