Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Twas the day before Christmas and all through our place, 
Much chaos erupted just like every day. 
Coffee grounds were strewn over Jamie's mattress with care, 
In hopes that some chocolate would magically appear. 

Hockey equipment was left all around, 
and not a clean room in the house could be found. 
The dishwasher's running with nothing inside, 
and Mommy's increasingly emotionally fried. 

We're soon off to Christmas with Mike's family. 
Here's hoping this Christmas will be vomit free. 

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tis the season, again.

 Well, I got the stomach flu yesterday. Or maybe it was a bout of food poisoning. It's hard to know for sure. All I know is, I don't like this time of year. I used to love Christmas and the whole month of December. Now I wish I could just skip it. So far, I'm the only one who has gotten sick, but I feel very weak and I am still barely eating, and we have Cody's hockey game tonight. Honestly, I would like to stay home, but I can't because Mike has to run the gate, which means there will be nobody to help Cody dress in all his equipment. So I have to either come and run the gate with both the other boys in tow, or I have to try to dress Cody on my own. Sounds easy? Well, I have never been a hockey mom before. I had no idea how much equipment there was, or that there is a picky order to putting it on. I don't want to sit through the game with two bratty boys. They are not brats, but at the game they might be. They were last time, and I am simply too exhausted to deal with it this time around. Not sure whether I should run the gate and then leave, or what. On top of that, it means I will not be able to eat before we go. Not without serious risk of consequences, and I am hungry already. I don't know what I can eat. All I've had today is some soda crackers and two pieces of toast. Oh, and part of a bowl of Rice Krispies.

So it looks like I will not do any Christmas baking at all this year, at least not on time for Christmas. I don't really care. I'm more worried that people will be annoyed at me at the gatherings we are going to. Oh well. I can't do anything about it now.

I guess I don't have much more to say. Today was supposed to be the day I cleaned my house before all the Christmas gatherings, but I did not. Mostly I rested, as I am still feeling so weak. At least we are not hosting, but I really wanted it to be nice in here. Maybe tomorrow morning we'll get something done. This is truly pathetic. I hope I will have a good report to give after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The busiest week

Like everyone else, we are super busy right now. It's the week before Christmas, and how I wish not a creature was stirring in this house. However, it is quite the opposite. Right now, all three of my boys are in the hallway screaming and hollering at the top of their lungs. They are happy, but loud. Playing some kind of sport in the hallway. I am hiding in my room for a moment of sanity.

Cody's school Christmas concert is today and I am rather stressed about it. Silly, but I can't help it. This morning I had to "hem" his pants, as they were four inches too long for him. Well, I didn't want to cut all that length off, and in the end I cut about an inch and a half off and then stitched it a little at both seams, but  I taped the rest. Yep. On the inside of the pants, of course, but still. I just didn't have time to really sew. I am a VERY slow sewer. Hm. Seamstress looks better, doesn't it? Sewer. Sewer. Two different meanings, but spelled the same.

Anyway, I have to drop Cody off at school at noon, but the concert starts at 1. So I don't know what to do. If I drop him off at noon, we won't get home until about ten after. Then I want to get to the concert early, though maybe not TOO early...so I'll probably have a grand total of 20 minutes at home before we have to rush off again. Ick. Plus, I will have to feed the boys lunch at 11 a.m. to make sure they will be ready to leave on time. I don't know why stuff like this stresses me out so much. I am just too uptight, I guess. But I so look forward to this concert being over. He has a second one this evening, but Mike will be the one going to that one. I will be here by myself with the dynamic duo.

So, aside from sewing this morning, my worst frustration was the discovery of more unwanted wall art. The whole kitchen wall that runs along our stairs has been vandalized in ball point pen. Has anyone tried taking ball point pen off the walls? Well let me tell you, it is very difficult. To make matters worse, the "artwork" is actually some very large numbers, written very well with a few exceptions that are backwards. That pretty much confirmed who had done it. Yep. Cody. My five and a half year old is STILL writing on the walls, and not even in washable marker. I lost it a little. I was so mad. He even had the nerve to lie and say that Jamie did it. Well, Jamie can't write numbers, so I know better. I just can't understand. I felt like I might as well buy a big can of black paint and hurl it all around my house randomly on the walls and the carpet. So many walls are ruined in this house. I don't even know where he got the pen. I can't even find a pen when taking a phone message. We have removed all writing utensils out of the kitchen and any other "public access" area of the house. That includes washable crayons and markers, as I was tired of seeing that writing on the walls and carpet too. There are days when I feel like I just can't win. Micah is only two. What if he is still writing on the walls three years from now? Will my house be doomed to be ugly and ruined forever? Sometimes it feels like it.

So, that is my very fast vent for today. Hopefully the concert will go well. I look forward to it, but also to it being over. After that, we only have one big day left before the two biggest of all, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Cody has a hockey game on Friday night, which we will all be attending. I have still not done my Christmas baking. It may not get done this year.

Gotta run. Soon I will have to prepare lunch, and I should make sure everyone has nice clothes to wear too. I also have to iron Cody's new white shirt. Bye for now.

I'm updating to add that I just discovered yogurt smeared on the living room carpet as well as a WHOLE carton of orange juice poured out on the kitchen floor. I am completely fried and desperate for a break. I just want to stay home by myself for the next week and skip Christmas altogether. Or, go stay at a hotel for a week where I don't have to face the destruction that is all around me. This is absolutely unbelievable to me. I just don't know how to stop it. Our boys invade the fridge at 6 a.m., before we are even awake. We have a child proof lock on the fridge that all three of them can beat. I feel like getting a giant chain and padlock and putting it around the fridge. I will wear the key around my neck. I want to throw away every pen, pencil, marker, crayon, paint...anything that a person can write with, and get rid of every toy in this house. I just don't know how to keep this chaos contained anymore. It is impossible and I am at my wits' end.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm still here...

Wow. I sure haven't posted in here in a long time. Things on the homestead are typical. Today, I caught Jamie putting his boots on to go outside after he had stripped all of his clothes off. I mean everything. Yep. Buck naked except for the winter boots. His plan? He was going to spray himself with the hose. For some reason, Jamie just can't get a grasp on what season it is. This is winter. And I'm not talking about winter in Florida. This is Manitoba. Granted, our winter has been fairly mild so far, even with minimal snow, but it was still well below zero today, even with some snow flurries. I'm just glad I caught him in the act. Well, technically Cody caught him. And panicked. In fact, he told Jamie if he went out there he would die. Then he pounded on him to stop him from going out. Of course I was very angry, but he said he didn't want his brother to die. Yeesh. So Jamie needs work on his concept of what is appropriate attire for the weather...or even just for the sake of normal social skills. (For him, naked is always the superior choice when it comes to wardrobe.) And Cody needs to understand that if he doesn't want his brother to get hurt, he probably shouldn't go ahead and hurt his brother. Twice he did that today. In the name of protecting his brother, he did a preemptive strike. Hurt him before he can hurt himself. The lesser of two evils, I suppose.

I am slowly coming to grips with the approaching holiday season. We put up our Christmas tree on December 3rd, earlier than I was ready to, but the boys really wanted it up. I have not listened to much Christmas music, but the tree is pretty, albeit very messy, as usual, so I find its presence comforting and not as much of a negative reminder as I was expecting I would. I am still very nervous about getting sick this year, and indeed I do have a sinus cold, but it's bearable, so I am not too upset about it.

My shopping was done in November just as I had planned, but I have not done a single bit of baking yet. Ah, well, we have been busy with Cody's hockey and I have also done quite a bit of wrapping.

That's the update for the moment. I might not be posting much in the next week or more, as it will be busy with hockey and Cody's Christmas concert at school, and of course then it will be Christmas. I sure hope to have a good report this year. We will see. I'm off for now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Napping and potty training...

Why do my kids quit napping so early??? I don't remember when Cody quit, but I remember it was too soon for my liking. I guess Jamie would still be napping if I would allow it. Poor kid. He asked me to let him nap today, but I said no. Weird mom, right? I know. But if he naps at all during the day, he is up all evening and it's very irritating and exhausting. But Micah is only two. Surely he should still be napping, right? He's in bed right now, and I hear him singing "Rumour Has It", by Adele. I don't like that song. But he does, and I guess that's all that matters to him at the moment.

Quiet time in the afternoon has become a desperate necessity for me. Listening to Micah scream (and I don't mean cry, I mean deliberate shrieking), holler for me, sing, throw things, and make up stories about needing to poop on the potty all afternoon is really taking the quiet out of my quiet time. Don't get me wrong. At times I find it cute, and even downright funny listening to him. But sometimes, I just need a little silence. I guess that was not part of the job description.

I really should mention that since my last post, nobody else has thrown up. Well, nobody in our little family. Lots of others who were at our huge gathering have, but we have been extremely blessed so far. I am very grateful for that, and have even toyed with the idea of doing some Christmas decorating. But then I changed my mind. What I really want to do is wrap all the presents. True to my word, and my plan, I do have all of my shopping done, and it is not yet the end of November. I am beyond thrilled about that, and I suppose that means it will soon be time to bake. In two days, it will be December 1st, the day that, traditionally, I like to put up my tree. This year, I don't know. I'm just not going to say anything and we'll see when Mike mentions it. If the boys really beg and we are in to December, I guess we'll go ahead and put up the tree. It will be interesting to see whether it survives this year, with Micah at the stage he is at. And it's a fake tree, so survival should theoretically be much easier to achieve. Don't be fooled into believing that. Our tree usually looks nice for about one day. After that, there are continually missing branches, the garlands are hanging wrong, ornaments are all over the floor, sometimes broken, and often at least missing the string or hook used to hang them with. Hm. That does make it difficult. Last year I resorted to resting the Christmas balls carefully amongst the branches, but the tree was shaken so much they did not stay on. Jamie is much more interested in using them as hockey pucks than seeing them hanging on a pretty tree.

Micah is now shouting to me about poop. Hm. This is the tricky part about potty training. Micah has now discovered that as long as he yells that he needs to poop on the potty, I will come and get him. It doesn't have to be true. Just saying those words is his ticket out of his crib. Me, on the other hand, I am in a precarious position. Do I run in there every time, encouraging him to manipulate me? Or do I ignore him, and take the risk that he will indeed poop in his diaper because I ignored him even though I told him to tell me when he needed to go? The second option is also accompanied by him removing said poopy diaper in the crib, and that is all kinds of nasty. Sigh. I guess I better go find out whether he really went or not. I guess his "nap" is coming to an end once again, without a single moment of sleep. He is now singing about poop. Bye for now.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Christmas Joy Begins...

I always found the movie "A Christmas Carol" disturbing, including every version I have seen other than the muppets one, which is just plain funny. I don't recall whether I have seen the Mickey Mouse version. In truth, I have never liked the story that much, though it has a powerful message for sure. As a child I found it nearly unbelievable that anyone could deliberately hate Christmas the way Scrooge did.



Sadly, this year I can identify with old Ebenezer. I am not an old business man (woman) with a larger-than-life hooked nose, nor am I obsessed with gold and all things financial. I also don't believe people should work on Christmas day, though I have worked Christmas Eve many times, and I do recognize that certain emergency services have to remain open every day of the year. In fact, even though I feel like I do, I do not actually hate Christmas. What I do hate is stress, chaos, and most of all, throwing up. Christmas 2009 we spent with stomach sickness. I do not recall how long it lasted. I do remember that Micah was only five months old and I was too sick to feed him. Christmas of 2010, I was desperate for a good Christmas. I spent all of December praying and begging God to keep us healthy that year. The puking started at 5 a.m. on Christmas morning and lasted until beyond New Year's Day.

This year, my dread has begun, though I am trying hard not to panic, despite the numerous people I know who have already begun the barfing. So we went to our first Christmas family gathering this past weekend, which I was kind of dreading for several reasons. The people are wonderful, so it is in no way because of them. But wouldn't you know it, at around 6 p.m., one of my nephews threw up all over the couch. Since then, including him, I have heard reports of four of my nephews, four of my nieces and two of my sisters-in-law also getting the stomach flu. Then last night, Jamie threw up. This is why I feel like shouting HUMBUG! I know some people may think I am being extreme, and maybe I am, but for two years in a row now my Christmas has sucked. Royally. I mean, so sick we have not been able to celebrate, and even at Jamie's birthday we couldn't handle cake and he barely cared about his presents. That's two years in a row. I am not interested in doing it again.

When I used to think about Christmas, as a child, I was excited mainly about Santa Claus, and also about our special aunt who came nearly every year from Calgary to spend the holidays with us. We had great fun as a family, and my Grandma was often there too, though sometimes she went west instead to see her other kids and grandkids. So yes, I loved all the music because it brought back those magical feelings. Excitement. Joy. Anticipation. Those were all things I felt. Of course, then I found out Santa Claus wasn't real, and perhaps that was the first blow to my Christmas joy. Now I know Christmas is not at all about Santa but rather about Jesus, no matter what some people may say, and I believe that with my whole heart. Sadly, over the years I have always sought out that magical feeling I had as a child. The music would still make me excited and I always anticipated Christmas with great joy, but every year I was disappointed.

My family and Mike's have both grown, so Christmas is a very busy and loud affair, but on his side of the family, there will literally be thirty-nine people just in the immediate family, and of those, twenty-four will be between a month old to fourteen years old. That, my friends, is a lot of chaos. Don't get me wrong. I love my family and I love Mike's family. But this year, I am really burnt out from the same old Christmas every year. This year I want to forgo the gifts and just buy a bunch of goats and cattle and chickens for third world families. I would like a quiet day at home, maybe even by myself. I don't know. It just feels forced to me. Doing the same thing every year when some of the traditions just don't work anymore, particularly in groups that large. My side of the family is now at fifteen people, which does not include my grandma because it is hard for her to come out here now. Fifteen people, to me, is a lot, and that only includes seven children. One of my sisters-in-law has seven children of her own. These seven are split between me and my two sisters.

I guess this year I am overwhelmed more than ever by the crowds. It has been a difficult year. I have other, deeper reasons for dreading Christmas. It's not personal against anyone. But already the sickness has begun, and I feel like the meaning, the true meaning, will be lost once again in the stress, chaos and of course, barfing. I guess I have dumped enough. I will have to keep this blog posted as to how everything turns out. I am hoping it will be okay. But I do also hope to have new traditions some time, maybe even soon. I'm off for now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cozy in our house.

Today the snow is falling softly, marking the true beginning of winter. Yes, it snowed last week some time, but the weather was pretty warm after that, and by yesterday, it was almost all gone. In fact, yesterday was sunny and quite warm. Well, for November, anyway. It was +5 and as I drove the dynamic duo to get the mail, I wondered why I was planning to go to town the next day (today) instead of right then. So I called Mike's mom and she agreed to take my boys while I went to town. Cody was in school, so I just had to get home on time to get him from the bus.

So I did it. I went to town and I finished my Christmas shopping for Mike. And now I look outside at the weather and I am so thankful I'm not going today. The roads are icy, and I suspect the visibility could get less than ideal later in the day. But I'm here cozy in my house with my three pyjama-clad boys...who have been fighting non-stop all morning so far. Hm. Outside it is very pretty, and any other year I might have even turned on some Christmas music. Maybe I would have even done some Christmas baking. But not this year. I am still not ready to face Christmas yet, and I'm not sure I will be at all this year.

This weekend we have our first Christmas event, a big family gathering of Mike's mom's side of the family. We do it every year, and it's in the big city, so it's a pretty big ordeal for us with the kids and everything. They always do it on a Sunday, and in recent years have not even begun until close to 5 p.m., so that has made it difficult as we had to make the three hour drive home afterwards. This year it is on a Saturday afternoon, which will make things infinitely easier for us. Last year I did not go at all. I stayed home with Jamie and Micah, and Mike went with just Cody, as we knew he was the only one who could handle the lateness of it combined with the long drive. This year we will stay overnight at my parents' place because Mike will not have to work the next day. Truthfully, I still don't know how I will handle it all, but I hope at least the boys will have fun. They are a great group of people, so I'm sure it will be nice.

Anyway, I guess I don't have much more to say today. It will be a quiet, and hopefully productive, day at home, seeing my shopping plans are no more, and my other tentative plans for the day fell through. Maybe I'll even do some more work on my book, which has been neglected now for almost two weeks. Ironically, I am also very tempted to do some Christmas wrapping, just to get it out of the way.

Before I sign off, I must mention that in the ten minutes or so that it has taken me to write this post, the snow has gone from "softly falling" to whirling around like the beginning of a blizzard. Instead of peaceful, it now looks cold and uninviting. I hope we don't get too much snow this week. I'm off for now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Productive day!

Even though it is Saturday, today was long and busy, but we got a lot done. This morning, I took all three boys over to my sister-in-law's place and they all got hair cuts. (Oops. I typed "hair cutes" by accident, but it applies too!) Cody is nearly bald. He insisted on a buzz cut, and he went shorter than ever before. Crazy boy. That's for summer, and I told him that, but he insisted and I figured it's his hair, so it's his call. He looks great and he won't need another hair cut for a very long time!

We brought them home for lunch, and then brought them back to the farm and left them with Mike's parents so we could go Christmas shopping, at my insistence. Remember, my goal is to be completely done before December. Already the stores are nuts and I told Mike, "That's it! Next year I'm doing it all in October!!!" He just laughed at me, but I don't do well in crowded stores. Maybe I'm too impatient, I don't know.

Anyway, we shopped from about 2:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. and we got almost everything done. We got gifts for seven people, plus stocking stuffers for 31 people (and we already had bought for three others), plus all the stocking stuffers for our own boys. We did not finish with Micah's gift, and we have not bought for each other. We have two additional people to shop for (and another that is already done) plus four other gifts to get, but those things will all be done online. So, basically all I have to do is go in alone and get all of Mike's stuff, including a birthday gift, as he is a New Year's baby. Jamie is New Year's Eve, so we have to do that yet too, but that can be a team effort, whereas Mike's gift will be all up to me. I have to buy his stocking stuff too.

So even though his gifts are the most stressful for me to buy, I now have a few full weeks to focus on only that. So much better than last year! That's pretty much my update. Mike has gone out, again, so I'm here "alone". The boys are all here too, of course, but they are asleep. That is a good thing, but it does leave me alone. I will probably read, as I am taking a writing break which seems to be lasting longer than I had intended. I thought I'd get going again yesterday, but I did not. That's okay. I have a good book to read, but it is a thriller, so it might make me tense being here alone! But the pets are all fed and I am cozy in my bed. The only problem is, I have laundry going and I need to put it in the dryer once this load is dry, but that will be quite a while from now. I will probably be up late, as I always am when I am home alone. That's all for now. Goodnight!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The snow has arrived. BOOO!!!!

Just two days after my last post, we were hit with snow. I was so hoping to avoid it for a long time this year, but I guess it was not meant to be. About two years ago, I remember playing baseball with Cody outside all through November, with no snow on the ground. I really wanted that this year. We did all right, considering our first snowfall didn't happen until November 6th, when usually we have snow by Halloween. I know all the snowmobile fanatics out there are jumping for joy, but I'm not. I still hope it will all go away and stay away for a long time, but that is not too likely, I'm sure. Here is a picture of the snow coming down yesterday.
It was snowing when we woke up and it was still snowing when we went to bed last night. The snow was swirling off the roof like we were having a blizzard or something. I half-expected the highways to be closed this morning, but of course, they were not. It is not that cold out either. Only zero degrees today, which is not bad. Come on, Sun! Melt that snow!!!

Here are a couple of shots out the front door this morning.

Yep. Lots of snow for the first snowfall, though in some parts of Manitoba they got several inches. I am thankful that did not happen here. 

Today I am being very domestic. I spent most of the morning sewing, after I finished my laundry. I am not good at sewing. I had two toques (winter hats, for you Americans) to repair and a pair of ski pants, along with a dog puppet whose nose had been pulled off. Anyway, it was all stuff that had to be done by hand. I figured it wouldn't look that great when I was done, but it wouldn't be that hard to make things functional again. I was wrong. This is going to sound so pathetic, but my fingers are still very sore from sewing the darn ski pants. Seriously, aside from poking myself a million times with the needle, those things were nearly impossible to get the needle through, so my fingers are really sore from fighting with the needle. At one point, I bent the needle nearly into an "L" because it could not get through the ski pants, and I was only doing the outer layer of fabric. I think they are waterproof and very non-porous, and that may be why it was so hard, but really! It took me a very long time. 

Then I made lunch for the Dynamic Duo. Cody is at school today, so it is quieter than it otherwise would be. After Micah went down for his "nap" (rolls eyes), I made a cake. We are very low on food in this house, and I literally have nothing to give the boys for a snack, so on a whim, I whipped up a cake. When Cody gets home, in about an hour, I'll make icing and we'll decorate it. 

Hm. I was feeling a lot more domestic than that, but I guess that's all I've done today. I am very tired and I would love to have a nap, but I will have to go get Cody in about 45 minutes, so there is no point. Maybe it is time to work on my book for a while...but you know, I think I will leave it for today. I'm going to read for a while instead. I'm off for now.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Yee-haw!


After yesterday’s fiasco, Radar finally redeemed himself in the afternoon. Apparently the cattle crossed a line when they moved into our front yard. We discovered this around 3:15 p.m. when Cody looked out the window and called me to come and see. So I grabbed the camera and stood out on the deck, where I was eventually joined by all three boys, and Radar, who was cowering there like the chicken he is. I took pictures, and the cattle moved around a bit at the sound of our voices.




But then, something inside of Radar seemed to snap. He finally decided enough was enough and he headed down to confront them. Maybe it was because Jamie was also headed down to rescue his boots, which he had left by the trampoline. Radar got there just ahead of him and had a stare-off with the bovines. Then, in a fit of inspiration, he spiked up his back and went in for the attack. It was fun to watch, and I got a few pictures, though I was worried about Jamie who was right down in the yard in the middle of the fray. He was standing by the trampoline, so he was okay, but I was yelling, “Get on the trampoline! Get on the trampoline!” He looked at me like I was nuts and said, “Why?” Yeesh.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the adventure. Incidentally, only four of the cattle returned. I don’t know what happened to number five. 


So now I don't know whether I can count on Radar or not when I do my walk in the darkness in the early mornings. Maybe he just gets tough when he feels like it and cowers like a wimp when he's not in the mood. I'm sure they will be back today, so it will be interesting. It sure would be fun to get on a horse and chase them all the way back to their own pasture. 

Anyway, must sign off for now. Have a birthday party to attend this afternoon with the boys and have some other things to do first. By the way, please note the green (ish) grass in the pictures and the complete and utter lack of snow. That was November 4th. I sincerely hope the next time I post in here we will still have no snow, but apparently it is coming tomorrow. I am not looking forward to winter. The fall has been so lovely I really want it to last forever, plus precipitation is our enemy this year with the flood aftermath and the flooding to come. So I hope I can share more photos of the nice weather like this. I'll end with one to show just how nice it was yesterday.
Cody was pretending to buck like a cow and Jamie was pretending to be Radar.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Until the cows come home...

How many times I said I would be cleaning until the cows come home? I have fabulous news. Today, they came home. No more cleaning for me! Whoopeeeee! Wait, maybe it doesn't count if this is not technically their home.

If you know me, or follow this blog, you probably know that we have no livestock here right now. We moved our horses out in June or so, due to the flood, and though our fence is still standing...sort-of, it is not supposed to contain any domesticated animals. Our neighbours, however, have cattle and they share a fence line with us. They are black angus cattle, from my limited understanding of bovines. That is, they are black, so in my estimation, they must be black angus.

We have known for quite some time that the cattle in the area are quite taken with our property. Every time we walk down our driveway to wait for Cody's bus, we see hoof prints on our driveway, and frequently they are fresh. There is cow poop in our back yard. Additionally, we hear mooing very close by, and given that we have 80 acres, it's not hard to tell they are not far enough to be off our land. The boys once spotted on on our driveway, and the other night, Mike saw some in our yard, though I don't know how he saw them given their solid black colour and the darkness of night in the country.

But today the cows crossed a line. Our fence line, to be exact. Okay, that's the same line they had crossed many times in the past, but today they did it in broad daylight. They filed down the horses' path to the area by the round pen and began grazing. Three at first, then a fourth appeared. And then a fifth. They made themselves right at home, and why not? They have obviously been living here for quite some time now.
There's the first little guy, peeking at the house. Actually, I think that was the second or third. The others were already past the play structure. These are young animals, but quite big. Given that we have had a bear sighting by our driveway, I'd really freak out if I ran into one of these in the dim early morning light.

They provided some entertainment for a while as they showed off their bovine intellects. Note the huge gap in the fence where they could easily come in and out. Do you think they used it? Not even once. Instead, they squeezed between the top and bottom wire of the electric fence, (sadly turned off right now), and also, to my great irritation, between the top and bottom rails of the wooden fence. Seriously? The rails were bending to accommodate the bulk of their bodies. I had visions of our fence being destroyed.

Incidentally, doesn't our round pen look lovely? One year ago, brand new. Now, full of marsh and reeds, looking like something that was abandoned thirty years ago. You can see in the above picture that the back gate was closed. It was not chained, but just sitting in the closed position. Once four of the five cattle got inside the round pen, by busting through the electric fence on the other side and coming around through the open gate, the boys went outside and screamed on the deck, panicking the animals. I thought it was kind of funny until they somehow busted right through the closed gate. Huh? I don't even know how they did it. Have a look at the next picture and you'll see the result.


Zoom in on this shot and you will see the gate hanging, not even remotely attached to the hinges anymore. I'm not used to cattle. I'm a horse person, and horses don't do stuff like this. Cows are impressively stupid, and they don't seem to have a high degree of physical sensitivity either, hence the reason they go ahead and crawl through barbed wire fences without a second thought. (Or even a first thought, I'm guessing.) You can also see in the above photo that one of them is trying to get through the wooden fence, which it did. Repeatedly. Back and forth. Apparently it couldn't quite decide which side of the fence had the greener grass. Too bad they didn't check out the front yard, where almost all of the grass is green, unlike the stuff they were eating. 

Perhaps the most disturbing revelation I had in all of this had to do with our dog. Radar. Big scary german shepherd type. Here's a picture. Okay, two pictures. 


Multiple times in the last few weeks I have assured Cody and myself that Radar would never put up with any animal in our yard, let alone cows. He hates cows. In the mornings, when we take the trek down our winding rugged driveway in the trees, I take Radar on leash. Every time. A few days ago on our cold, dark walk, Cody expressed his fear to me over and over again. I brushed it off, being the mom, and made it seem silly to be afraid. But people, we live in the boonies, and the reality is, we were walking down what is not much more than a wide trail in the bush, in the pitch black. A trail where a bear has been spotted in the past, and an area that is reported to have bobcats, and where we have seen large coyotes that are unafraid of humans. (Not to mention the number of times we hear them, nearly every day, very close to the yard and sometimes in the yard.) When Cody started saying things like "Are those eyes??" and other lines right out of horror movies, my own imagination started to run a little bit. I laughed at him, but I started to get that feeling like there really were eyes watching us. He asked "What is that sound?" and "Is something following us?" and I was beginning to feel jittery.

My consolation? I told Cody to look at Radar, our big protector. I told him in no uncertain terms that Radar would react with extreme barking and growling if there was anything at all in the trees, and that was why I brought him along. I believed my own words. I was still creeped out walking back to the house that morning in the darkness, but I had my big dog, so what did I need to fear?

Today, Radar shattered my false security in him. When we spotted the cattle in the yard, I told the boys Radar must not have known they were there or he would be barking and chasing them. I had seen him do it many times in the past when we were walking down the road and he saw them in their own fence. He hates cows. But Radar was nowhere to be seen. After a very long time, we saw him come trotting around the back of the house on his path...the narrow path that he has literally worn around the house from circling it. We are certain that is part of his ritual of making his ownership known. If there are coyotes nearby, he spikes his back (which makes him look deceptively formidable) and trots around the house over and over again as though drawing a line in the sand that they cannot cross. I guess he thought that would work today too. He had a very large ball in his mouth too, the size of a coconut. That was his way of saying, "Look at me. I have a ball. You don't have a ball. This is my house. Stay away from my house. Please don't take a step towards me or I will have to take my ball to a safe place and hide until you are gone." He did one round, and that was the last I saw of him. A single bark or growl would have sent them running, but no. He had a self-imposed gag. 

Now I know the truth about my dog. He is utterly useless as a guard dog. The next time I take him down the driveway in the dark, I will be just as scared as Cody. Perhaps even more, seeing I know what's out there and Cody does not. I think maybe Radar needs a new name. I was thinking of Foghorn Leghorn. What do you think?



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christmas is coming...and I feel like Scrooge

I started my Christmas shopping officially yesterday, on November 1st. Do not mistake this for enthusiasm about the season. On the contrary, this year I am dreading Christmas like never before. I have many reasons for feeling this way, but please let me clarify. I am a Christian. I love God, and I am happy to celebrate the birthday of Jesus. But that's not really what happens at Christmas, at least in my experience. This year, I have many, many things I am dreading about the season, not the least of which is the stomach flu, which we have experienced now two years in a row from Christmas morning until New Year's. I guess in recent years, my bad memories of Christmas are starting to outnumber the good ones, so this year, I don't even want to hear a single Christmas song. It doesn't bring the warm fuzzy feeling it used to. In fact, when I hear songs I was listening to last year, my memories are of nausea and extreme discouragement.

This year I am not looking forward to the season. Not the music, not the food, not even the family gatherings, which, though I love the people, are fraught with chaos and stress, and not much chance to really visit anyway. So, I decided that in the very least, I will be doing my shopping early this year to diminish the stress as much as possible. In truth, if I did not have kids, I would opt out of gift-giving and receiving entirely this year and just buy a bunch of goats or cattle for third world starving families through an organization such as World Vision, or another one. In the past I have gotten swept away in all the excitement and the gifts and everything else, and I think that's okay. But this year, I am not there. It all seems frivolous to me. Not the birth of Christ, which technically didn't happen in December anyway, but all our traditions which seem to overshadow Him anyway.

These are just my thoughts as we move into November, and we are expecting snow late this week. I know this all sounds very negative, and maybe it is. But I am ready for some deeper meaning at Christmas, and perhaps I am too late for this year, but next year I want a different plan. Something meaningful and something that will truly honour the real meaning of Christmas, which is not just "family", contrary to popular belief. I hope this year will turn out better than what I am expecting, but whatever happens, I'll get through it. I'm off to read to my sweet Micah.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ugh!

Today is starting out with a great big groan. Or maybe a deep and terrible growl. Cody was up at 5:30 a.m., and though my memory is fuzzy, I'm fairly certain he shared the joy by making sure Jamie woke up too. What else can I even say about that? He deliberately woke his brother at the most ungodly hour, and in the process woke Mike and I too. Then, Jamie was crying because apparently Cody would not let him have a sip of water, so Jamie came in our room too, letting both cats in in the process. Tabu is fine, she just curled up right on my side, but Cricket was on a mission to annoy us. Not really. Cricket is neurotic, but not vindictive. She looked for paper or plastic to rattle, and she did just that until I stormed out of bed, grabbed her and threw her out the door. Tabu followed. I was mad! By 6:30 a.m., Micah was also awake and crying and I was ready to scream. I'm guessing Mike was too. I turned off the monitor and went back to bed, even though I knew sleep was now officially impossible.

Cody has school today, and as such, I was extra upset about Micah being awake. Walking Cody to the bus in the morning is no big deal if it's just me, but taking either of the other two is a pain. They walk slower than you can imagine, and Micah whines and cries the whole time to be carried. Well, he is probably close to 35 pounds, and it is a long driveway. (We're talking country driveway here, not city.) So I refuse to take him along, particularly in the mornings when extra bundling is necessary, therefore taking up even more time. Today, I had no choice. Well, I guess I did have a choice. I could either leave him in his bed for another 45 minutes after I finally got up at 7 a.m., or I was going to have to take him with me. Fine. I decided to take him, but very reluctantly. Mike hauled the stroller out of the shed for me to help with the speed and carrying issues. I left Jamie in the house to watch Cat in the Hat (the cartoon, NOT the movie) and off we went.

Well, it was an interesting walk. Radar is always an idiot on his leash on the way to the bus for some reason, even though he's an angel on the way back. That's normally not a big deal, but when pushing a stroller it is extremely awkward and annoying. In addition to that, it was black as night outside, and our driveway is actually a winding road-like trail through the trees, so it's even darker. Cody insisted on pushing the stroller at first until he nearly dumped Micah when it went sideways off the edge of the part where we built up the road after the flood. Then I had to take the dog AND the stroller, so I don't know how many times I ran over Radar and his leash, plus steering was proving difficult.

Anyway, we made it back all right, and Cody was right on time for the bus, but I am extremely irritable today. Every morning I have fantasies about putting duct tape over their mouths, which obviously I cannot do! How do you keep kids quiet when they insist on getting up that early? The only thing that works every time is TV, and I just don't want them to watch TV every morning, plus if I do that, they'll probably get up earlier and earlier because they are so excited to watch. So, I have to keep telling myself this will someday get better, but Cody is five years old, and he is still doing it, so that means I have at least another three years of this until Micah is that age, and if he's still doing it, it will be longer. I am NOT a morning person, nor have I ever been. If they wake me up when the hour hand points to the number seven, I can live with that. But not six, and certainly not five. I may enforce naps all around today, even though Jamie does not do well in the evening if he naps in the day. Today, I may not care. We'll see.

Oh, and incidentally, I was right about yesterday. All manner of ridiculous and maddening things happened, including potty training horror stories. Ick. I hope today will be better, though we are not off to a good start. I am trying a new recipe for supper, so hopefully at least that will go well, though with me, you never know. I better sign off for now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm still here...

I guess I have been absent for a while now. A few days after that last post, our other horse (Mike's), Maybelline colicked, adding yet another vet bill to the stack of stress. She is okay, thankfully, but I could hardly believe that happened so soon after Tabu's ordeal. Tabu is doing well, by the way.

We went to the big city last week on Thursday and stayed overnight. Mike had a work thing and I went along with the boys mainly so I could go and meet a horse there. I don't want to say too much about this situation at the moment, because it is all so uncertain, but I might be getting this horse and doing a bit of a trade for Sasha. If it happens, I will share all the details then. No point explaining it all if I don't even get her. That has been one of the biggest things on my mind in recent days.

I have also been doing some more writing in my book after a two week break, so that is good. I must say though, my boys have been back to their busy and exasperating ways.

Recently, I was hoping for a quiet afternoon as my stomach was not feeling well and I had a headache. When I put Micah to bed, I decided I'd rest for a while too. After all, Cody and Jamie are good at playing together by themselves. So I lay in my bed for a while. I never did sleep, but I had some quiet time and rest. When I came out into the kitchen I got very upset because there was orange juice all over the floor in front of the fridge. Great. They had helped themselves while I was out of sight. I was not happy, so I cleaned it up, muttering to myself about how irritating it is to have stuff like this happen all the time. In truth, it wasn't that big of a mess, but it was very sticky. When it was clean, I went into the living room where they were playing and then my jaw hit the floor. They had drawn all over the carpet in marker. Actually, they drew a highway complete with dotted centre line, along with a lot of other scribbling. I was so furious! I confiscated all of the markers and told them they may not colour anymore, seeing they can't be responsible enough to use them properly. Cody is 5 1/2 for crying out loud!

Yesterday was a bit of a doozy too, but I won't share the details. Let's just say there were a lot of pee and poop incidents that required cleaning of floors and unscheduled baths. Ugh. The highlight of my day yesterday involved Jamie. No sarcasm here, it really was a highlight. Jamie had acquired a paintball from one of his cousins the day before and he wanted to sleep with it that night. I of course refused to let him and I hid it in my room. Yesterday he asked if he could play with it, promising he would "try not to pop it". How reassuring. I said only if he played with it outside. So, he got dressed and I gave him the green paintball, which he gratefully took outside. Not five minutes later he opened the door and came back in. He said, "Radar ate my paintball!" I laughed, which offended him. He insisted it was not funny, and was on the verge of tears. What a dumb dog! Haha. So Radar solved my paintball dilemma, as Jamie was sure to burst it open on something.

This morning they have already dumped a whole bag of colourful and tiny candy coated chocolate balls on the floor. I got them at the bulk barn some time last year, thinking they'd be a fun way to decorate the boys' birthday cakes...etc. Well, no more. I spent some time sweeping hundreds of these balls in the kitchen toward our central vac "dustpan". It was a little bit like playing pinball. I'd sweep them towards it, and some would get sucked in, but others would bounce back and roll across the floor again. Their room is full of them too. How wonderful. So I begin my day in a state of irritation, which is not altogether unusual around here. Micah so far has not even let me change his diaper this morning, nor has he had breakfast. And neither have I, for that matter, though I have been awake for nearly three hours. I guess it's time for me to deal with those little details.

So that's the very brief update on things around here. I'm sure there will be more crazy incidents to report today. I just get that feeling. But I have other things to work on, so I will leave it at that for today. I'll try to post a little more frequently if I can. I especially hope to have horse-related news in the near future...hopefully the good kind of news this time. I'm off for now.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A week of many tears...

I suppose it is about time I update this blog. It has been a difficult week. How many times do I start my posts that way? This has been a different kind of difficult. The boys have been okay this week, despite some very grouchy moments, a bit of attitude, and a two-year-old with a cold. The animal kingdom is where things have gone wrong. Let me explain.

On Tuesday, I went riding with Andrea again. It was my seventh ride this fall, which has equalled roughly one a week since I started. I am feeling so much more confident in the saddle again, and have even been enjoying myself quite a bit...something I thought might never happen again after Sasha bucked me off last August. (If you don't know that story, it is in a post from last August called "I fell off my horse", or something like that.) Anyway, Andrea decided I should try a different horse this time, seeing my previous six rides were all on Indy, and in order to prepare me to have the confidence to ride Sasha again, I needed to get used to more than just one horse. Okay. I was nervous, but I agreed to try out Phoenix, Andrea's mare. She is more like an elephant, by my estimation. She is a Quarter Horse, but she is huge. And I don't just mean tall. She is at least 16 hands, maybe even 16.1, though we have not measured her. She is also a tank. Really. My other sister, Christine, who is also very out of practice, rode her once and loved her. Since then, she refuses to ride Indy. You see, Phoenix is very smooth, and also not fast like Indy.

I found both of those assessments to be very true. She plodded along much like an elephant, and my legs felt like she was near the width of one. True to her reputation, she was extremely smooth at every gait, most notably her lope. But, all of this is irrelevant. The real story here is Sasha. You see, Andrea rode her this time, and things were going along just fine for the first fifteen minutes or so. Then we went into the bush. We were barely in there, in a little clearing, when Sasha did a huge spook, which made Phoenix spook. Right then and there I nearly came off, but Sasha did not stop. She started to buck, and I mean really, really buck. Then, Phoenix started to buck. Anyone who rides horses will know what I mean when I say I had one of those slow motion moments where I had time to think, "I'm going down. We're both going to get bucked off and get really hurt." Both horses continued to buck, Phoenix even hopping up a little bit on her hind legs. She was going to pivot and bolt right out of there. Andrea sailed off of Sasha and landed gracefully, or at least solidly, on her feet. I was relieved to see it, but I was still in trouble. Andrea started coaching me from the ground, shouting "TIGHT CIRCLES! TIGHT CIRCLES!" so I got my head back and pulled Phoenix around tightly until she stopped.

It was a very scary moment...or series of moments. Sasha did not stop bucking when Andrea came off. She went on and on for a good 30 seconds until she finally stopped. We were all shaking. We rode another 45 minutes to an hour after that, but Sasha was a wreck, spooking violently at everything, even small patches of grass. I don't know how to adequately explain how upsetting this was for me. It was not just because we had a close call. It was because my horse lost her head completely, and I knew that was it for me. I knew I could never keep her because I will never know when she is going to go off like that again and I am simply not okay with having her as my horse anymore. I need a horse that I can trust, at least for the most part, and she is not it. So, I have listed my girl for sale. The chances of selling her for any decent price at all are nearly zero. Even to sell her for peanuts or give her away will be hard because of what she has done. I am very upset and also stressed out about this. I did hope the breeder would take her back, but they will not because they don't want any extra mouths to feed this winter. This is a long story, and I have a lot more I could share about it, but I will probably be writing more about it in the near future, so I will leave it at that for now. Here are some pictures of my Sasha, that will no longer be mine.




If this wasn't bad enough, two days later one of our cats, Tabu (pronounced Taboo) started vomiting blood. I knew this was a very bad sign and called the vet. We kept her home for the night and isolated her in the laundry room so I could keep track of how much she was vomiting, as well as her litter situation and her drinking situation. I did not feed her. I didn't think it would be a good idea. I took her to the vet first thing yesterday morning and left her there for the day. We came back to get her, me and all three boys, at the end of the day. That was a highly unpleasant experience. All three boys were so bad. I don't even want to describe it. In the end, Tabu seemed okay, but the vet couldn't find anything wrong with her, which was puzzling to her. So, almost three hundred dollars later, we brought her home, still nervous that she was in trouble. This afternoon (this is gross) she pooped a huge ribbon onto our carpet. Yes, I mean literally a ribbon. Voila diagnosis. If only I had waited 48 hours. I could have diagnosed her for free. I am still worried about her because if there is more ribbon in there it could kill her. What a dumb cat! How did she swallow six to eight inches of a ribbon half an inch thick without puking?? 

Tabu is the tabby, Cricket is the black and white one. Both females we rescued from the pound when they were kittens. They are sweet and loving, and neurotic. They are part of the family and we are glad Tabu, or "Booger", as we usually call her, seems to be okay.

I have had many headaches and little sleep between worrying about Tabu and worrying about how to find a home for Sasha. I won't share the details now, but I do have a possible solution for the horse situation. If it works out, I will be updating in here, but it will be a while before I know. 

I am too tired to share anymore right now, though there is much more I could say. Maybe next week I'll have time for more than one post. Goodnight, everyone.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hello, again.

Whew! I have been very absent from this blog lately, probably because I have spent every spare moment working on my book. Today, I am uninspired. My pattern, when doing anything creative, is to start off liking it, and then at some point feel like I have ruined it, or it is complete crap, and then I ignore it for a long time. I was always that way with drawing, which I don't seen to do anymore. Now, it seems I'm following my pattern with writing. So I figured maybe it was time to take a break and I'll come back to it refreshed, if possible.

Today is a quiet day. Cody is at school so I just have the dynamic duo here. I got a call at lunch from Cody's teacher. When she identified herself, I was very nervous because I thought maybe Cody was sick and needed me to pick him up or something. Well, I have no vehicle today because Mike seems to have run over a nail or something and his tire is losing air, so he took the van today. So I am stuck here. Anyway, it turns out she was just calling me because Cody was running in gym class and his glasses somehow flew off. He was unable to stop quickly so he ran them over and bent them to smithereens. (Wow. I have used that word many times in my life but never have I actually typed or written it. I had to google it to see how it was spelled.) Anyway, the glasses should be okay. I have a spare pair that are identical in my drawer, hidden away, so he can put those on this afternoon when he gets home.

Micah is in his room, doing one of his "naps". I have the monitor on in my room, where I am sitting right now, and this is what I'm hearing. "Free...four...fife...eight...nine....BWAH OFFFF!" I guess NASA has their new headquarters in his bedroom.

Jamie is watching a bit of TV right now, a necessity for me so I could shower not long ago. Yay! (I'm going out tonight, so I had to prioritize that today!) When I got out of the shower, I witnessed this rare moment of inter-species harmony in our living room.

Jamie, doing his signature hair twist/thumb suck combo, while Cricket relaxed on his lap for the first time EVER. Well, other than when he was on my lap and she was draped across both of us. 

So our day is quiet and somewhat peaceful. Yesterday I baked buns for the first time in months. I did three pans of white buns and two pans of a dozen each cinnamon buns. I felt fairly accomplished after that. I told Mike that's what happens when I don't do any writing in the day. I asked him if he was sorry he married a writer. Of course he said no. But seriously, I find it's one or the other. I either get a lot of writing done, or I do my house-mom duties. Somehow, I guess I'll have to find a balance. Good thing our horses don't live here now, because that's the other thing I've been doing. Riding. Once a week recently, six times in total now since late August. It has been incredibly enjoyable, and recently I am not nervous to ride at all. But, I'm still riding Indy and not Sasha, so I'm not there yet. Sasha came along last week and Andrea rode her, and this week (Monday) she rode Maybelline, who has only been ridden ten times, ever. I'm loving this gorgeous fall weather we are having here, and I must say, I am finally getting my love of riding back. That makes me happy. Hoping to go at least one more time before the weather gets crappy, which could happen any time now. 

Not an exciting update today, but in the life of this desperate house-mom, no news is often good news. I'll leave you with this picture we took yesterday of all three boys actually looking at the camera and looking pretty happy at that. Hope everyone is having a good week.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Insomnia!

This week is starting in a state of exhaustion. I don't know what happened last night, but I just could not sleep. I had the shakes after laying there for hours on the brink of sleep but never quite getting there. Then I had to get up with Micah at one point, which is becoming something of a ritual these days. He did not settle as easily as he normally does. I don't remember what happened after that. All I know is that most of the night I was aware, so if I was sleeping, I was barely out of my conscious state and I was nowhere near ready to get up when Mike woke me a few minutes before 7 a.m.

But I got up and got Cody ready for school. It's a gorgeous fall day today and I enjoyed our walk to the road. Jamie came along, as he got up when Cody did. Micah woke up as soon as we got back, which was slightly disappointing, but oh well. I did a workout anyway. Just a 20 minute ab routine, but at least it was something. I am going riding tonight, so I will count that as my cardio for today. It will be a perfect day for it. Hopefully it won't get too windy or the horses might be a little silly, and I don't want any silliness if I can avoid it.

Micah will be going down for his "nap" soon. He has not fallen asleep in his "nap" in several weeks other than maybe once or twice. I still put him down because it's good for him to have the quiet time, and yes, it is even better for me. So it will just be me and Jamie this afternoon. I would love to have a nap, but I don't dare, in case I sleep too long and miss picking Cody up from the bus at 3:10 p.m. So, I will either read or write, or maybe even both. My room is bright and there is a fresh wind blowing in the windows. I love it. I hope this weather lasts a long time. Fall is my favourite time of year, but I usually find it flies by way too quickly. I'm hoping it is more drawn out this year.

Anyway, not much else to say at this point. I'm barely even awake, so I better snap out of it at least for another 20 minutes until Micah goes to bed. After that, maybe I'll take it easy for a while. Bye for now.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Serenade

I am in bed, but I need to get up now. In the monitor, Micah is singing to me. The words are, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Ma-ma..." etc. The tune, Jingle Bells. Oh, now it's "Today is the day, Oh oh-wa, oh oh-wa". He loves to sing. Though it is Saturday, I am somewhat reluctant to face the day. Mike has been gone since well before the crack of dawn and I don't really know when to expect him back. He is helping his brother for the day, who is building a house. I haven't seen much of Mike lately. Monday evening I went riding. Tuesday evening, he watched a hockey game while I did some writing in our room. Wednesday evening he went golfing. Thursday evening he had an open house at his school to meet the parents, and last night, I went riding again.

Yes, I went riding last night with both of my sisters, and it was so much fun. Fall is the very best time for riding because the weather is so nice and the bugs are not bad and the fields are cut so there are many places to ride. I am hoping to go again early next week, but I will make those arrangements when I can.

My older two boys are absolutely silent, which leads me to believe they have either stolen some kind of forbidden food and are eating it somewhere sneaky, or they have left the building. Yes, they may have gone outside. I know they are awake because I heard them earlier. Maybe they got the TV figured out. That is also a possibility, though it is less likely than the other two scenarios. So, I have to get out of my cozy bed and deal with whatever the day has for me. Hopefully it will be a positive one. At least Micah is in a good mood, but then, Micah is nearly always in a good mood. I'm off for now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cold and rainy on the outside, warm and cozy on the inside!

It's a rainy, windy September day but in the house there's a rocking' beat and the scent of blueberry muffins baking in the oven. Cody is at school today, so it's just me and the dynamic duo. Micah is on my lap even as I type this, cuddling. He has a bad cold, (we all have colds), and he is feeling kind of pathetic. His big brother keeps hurting him and just now he bonked his own face on the kitchen table, so that was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak.

It is not quite noon and I am already fizzling out. Haha. Well, I have had a productive day so far, so maybe that's okay. I was awake before 7 a.m. (blech) and I was all prepared to walk Cody to the bus but Mike kindly took him in the vehicle instead because of the miserable weather. As a result, I was saved a good chunk of time where I would have normally been outside, so I changed into my workout clothes and got a whole workout done before 8:30 a.m. Phew! I was happy about that. Micah did not wake up until I was done showering, so I was very grateful. That saves me having to do it after lunch, and I will be able to write instead. I am on chapter 11 now, and finally it is going somewhere.

I have no other big plans today except for maybe a trip to get the mail later today, after Cody gets home. I must mention though that yesterday was a beautiful day and I took advantage by going for a ride with my sister Andrea in the evening. I'm talking about horseback riding, in case that was not clear. I still have not ridden my own horse, and it is feeling like maybe I will not be riding her this fall at all, but this was my third ride since my fall last year and I had no fear this time around, or really any nervousness either. I enjoyed it immensely, and I was very happy with my progress. I will still be nervous to ride Sasha for the first time, but like I said, it looks like it will be a while before that happens.

My muffins are ready to come out of the oven, so it is time for me to sign off. Bye for now.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh that proverbial fan.

I knew this day was coming. I hoped it wouldn't, but I knew better. Cody made it through a week of the back-to-school adjustment without a hitch. Really, he has been great. Sure, he had a meltdown when he got home after his first day, but it was a teary one, not an angry one. Tomorrow, he has school pictures, so he got his hair cut last night. Unfortunately, the only time we could do it was in the evening, so he did not get home until 8:30 p.m. and was not settled until almost 9 p.m. Today has been, shall we say...difficult. He has a cold, and I think with everything he is dealing with (adjusting to a new school year, taking the bus...etc.) he just kind of lost it.

So my day has been the kind that I dread. Jamie decided to join in the fray this afternoon too, and I was hit with one projectile at his hands. Lovely.

This afternoon I did a workout. It was the kind that involve a lot of punching and kicking, and I thought, Yes, this will help me blow off some steam. Surely I would feel better after that. Micah was in bed, though not even pretending to sleep. No matter. He was contained and happy, so I could still do a workout. Jamie and Cody actually obeyed me and went outside so I could do the workout in peace. Wow. Two for two. Or is that three for three? Either way, I did the workout, and it was good. Yes, it felt good to throw some punches, even though there was no recipient other than whatever my imagination conjured up. It was a tough workout, but I made it through to the last five minutes before the boys came in. Okay, I can handle that. After all, it's only five minutes, right?

Well, Jamie came in without any pants or underwear on. I demanded to know where they were. He informed me he peed in them so he needed to change. Fabulous. I had told him to use the bathroom before he went out, but he refused. I was not impressed. My relaxed, after-workout state was starting to get tense. Then Cody bugged me until I was nearly in tears of frustration and hollered at him to get out so I could do the last minute and a half in peace. By the time I was done, I was so angry I felt like the entire workout was for nothing. I told the boys I was going to shower and I went into my room. The first thing I saw was cat barf on the floor. Great! Did I mention there was also an incident earlier in the day where one of the boys peed on the floor? It was an accident, but it was also on carpet. Ack!!! Fine. I cleaned up the barf and had my shower.

It was time to release Micah from his crib. Once again, he did not settle. (He still does sometimes, so I am not being cruel leaving him in there. He seems to enjoy his solitude and I gave him a toy this time at his request, seeing I knew he would likely stay awake anyway.) When I entered the room, a very familiar odour greeted me. Yikes. I guess he pooped. I checked the crib to make sure it had not been desecrated in any way. Woo hoo! Finally a point for the home team. His pants were still on and the crib and bedding was clean. Sure, I still had to clean up a poop, but maybe things would start to go my way. Or not. It turns out he had undone his diaper inside of his pants. I will not share the details. I don't need to. It was not a fun clean-up, though it could have been much worse. Still, I was beginning to feel like today was a "Jonah Day". (That's an Anne of Green Gables reference, for anyone who does not know. Also a Bible reference, as it happens.)

Since then I have gotten things a little calmer now, though not before being violently smacked in the back with a football. Deliberately. Jamie has a good arm. He also has a bad temper. So tonight we are supposed to be going to this barbecue put on by the school division, and I desperately don't want to go. In fact, I would be delighted if Mike just took all the boys by himself and left me here. I could really use some time by myself. This is my first true disaster day since school started, and I hope it will be the last for a long time. Now I am going to attempt to read for a short time. It will probably be a bust. Yep. A bust. I have the dynamic duo with me now. Micah's fingers are brown, and (thank goodness) they smell like chocolate. There is no chocolate accessible in this house, so I think I may have a problem. Jamie just informed me there is chocolate in the laundry room. Huh? Micah just said "Chocolate chip! Chocolate chip! Bye!" and exited my room. This is why I don't want to force a smile onto my face and meet people I don't know tonight. I am just too tired to fake it. I hope it goes quickly, that's all I can say.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Brrrr...

While I am not one who enjoys the intense heat in the summer, this morning's cold front caught me a little unprepared. I knew there was a frost warning last night, but I didn't expect to be affected by it very much. Sure, it was chilly this morning walking Cody (and Jamie, as it turned out today) to the bus. Indeed, it was below zero. Well, only by one degree, but it was cold, and our winter attire is not out yet. Well of course it isn't. It is not quite the middle of September, and I can't send Cody to school in a winter jacket because he will be way too hot when it warms up later. Or will he?

Everyone who knows me well knows I like my house on the cool side, though I have been less picky about that since becoming a mother, for the sake of my kids. But this morning, the thermostat read 14.4 degrees celsius in the living room. I can tell you for sure, it is accurate. It is freezing in here, and the weather outside is not even supposed to get quite that warm, so I don't know how much warming up will happen in this house today. I usually try really hard not to turn the heat on before October, and sometimes even before November, but I am seriously tempted to turn it on today. So, me and my two younger boys are hanging out in the living room where the sun is shining brightly through our bay windows. Really, it is making a valiant effort, but if it has not reached 18 degrees by mid afternoon, I might have to turn on the heat.

Exciting stuff, right? I realized this morning why it is so incredibly cold in here. We did indeed get frost last night and guess what? We have no insulation in the bottom half of our basement. Right! It got ruined in the flood. I suddenly find myself wondering how we are going to keep warm this fall. I don't believe the water is low enough down there that we can insulate just yet. All I can say is I hope things warm up again before we really get hit with our Manitoba fall weather. The days are beautiful, in my opinion, but this house is simply not prepared for winter yet. It's like it is not wearing any socks or boots yet and we are asking it to be out in sub-zero temperatures.

So, my only plan for the next little bit is to sit in this comfy chair in a nice patch of sunshine and hope the weather in the house improves. Stay warm, everybody.