“Just Passed July” and “Oops It’s August!”

Well well well.  Here we go. Ever felt like life has rushed past your door, your window and is fully on the next block before you can take a breath and notice it? That is my Summer. Every year I say I will slow it down. Every year it speeds up. Every year I swear I will plan less and play more, every year I plan more and more and play less and less. Every year I promise all of my friends, their kids, myself, and my kids that we will have numerous play dates, BBQ’s and swimming adventures. Every year we miss at least 90% of the opportunities. Each year we hit September and I realize Summer is gone. I have to take a minute to recall where it went. It went on the wind, to camps, and beach days, to work and rest, to parties and roadtrips.  It slipped into the nooks of bedtimes and late rises; it weaved into haircuts, photographs and paintings. Summer slid into our dreams and late night reading, our movie nights and music. It weaved a sweet lulla-bye of long nights and sun-soaked mornings, lulling us into a sense of everlasting Summer that is as solid as a soft ice cream cone on a July afternoon.  It ends with a cool breeze and a school bell ringing loudly in our ears. Bam. Summer over.
Now, don’t get me wrong, my summer is ever wonderfully full in the best ways, I don’t resent it. It is the problem of it disappearing without a moment’s notice, that I resent.  I resent not being able to hold my children tighter, for longer, as they are small. Each Summer that slips past me is one Summer closer to them being gone. Each September brings another grade closer to graduation, to growing up. My Summers with my boys are priceless, they are my full days of knowing them, of seeing them, of being with them for more than the morning rush and evening wind down, the times I can fully experience them. I long to keep them home all year, alas I am not financially able at this time.

Nights like tonight, when I have soothed tears, disciplined behaviours, exasperatedly berated them for poor choices and mean words, and then kissed them on the head and smoothed the ruffled feathers of the day. I smell their hair, and squeeze them tight, knowing that even though these days are hard and long, they pass too quickly and will soon only be wisps of memory. I hope my efforts have helped form the future men my children will be for the better and not the worse. I reflect back on each word, phrase, attitude and tone of voice I used, trying to search out any bits that were wrong, insensitive or damaging. I seek my own memory bank for the gems of the day I want to keep forever. I breathe out the bad stuff I collected. My frustrations, out. My angst, out. My shame, out. My guilt, out. I breathe in the good. My kid’s laugh, in. My excitement over the next steps in life, in. Peace, in. Love, in. Kindness, in.  then I go to bed and let it all marinate.

Part of my goals for this Summer were to go to bed on time, not snack at night, read more and visit a National park. I’m accomplishing everything except the park. I will be up North for September, so hope to do the park then if not before.
So far I have read three books: “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter”, and I just finished “The Night Stages”. All amazing books that are completely different. I am loving this journey! I have missed reading.
I have also been trying to get to the gym three days a week, only accomplished two last week, haven’t gone yet this week due to a stupid sinus infection, and because it is Celtic week in Goderich, if you live here you know the significance of that. My kids are LOVING the kids Celtic Day Camp, and I’m dreaming of how one day I will be able to attend the adult college. There are some amazing free concerts on the Square every weeknight and so far I have seen zero, partially because I am a mother, and partially due to this damn sinus infection making me feel like CRAP. I hate my weak breathing apparatuses.

I have missed writing, I like it. September’s challenge is to write every day and to cook one Harry Potter recipe a day to lead up to the fantastic Wizarding festival coming to out area in October! So You’ll hear and see more from me then.
Enjoy your Summer. It will slip out the window if you don’t watch it carefully, well, even if you do I guess. That’s the kicker right there.

Cheers!

Court

Thirty-one and fun, or thirty-one and done?

It has been FORever guys!!! Man I have been working hard on my goal for July: no screens after 10, and in bed before 11. Sleep eight hours. No snacking after supper. No TV after supper unless we are having a designated movie night. It’s been not bad. This past week got away on me with VBS, working in the afternoons while parenting and hanging out with friends and family. I did not always achieve my goal of no screens. It seems the more exhausted I am, the more prone I am to watch mindless screen stuff than sleep. And the more screen time I have the more I want to eat. I’ve been reading a lot more which helps me recharge and sleep better.  I finished reading a book I’ve had around for three years and never picked up: To Kill a Mockingbird. It was so beautiful. Now I’m reading Scaachi Koul “One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter”. Fantastic book! 

I laugh so much

I have missed reading. It’s so freeing and enriching. There’s nothing like a good book and a mug of tea to make you feel safe, warm, and better about most things. 

Another thing that July has brought to my goals is one night a week just for the Hub’s and I. I tend to over plan our life, or at least mine, and don’t always leave room for my partner who has the love language of “quality time”. Hubs did something remarkable about this the last week of June: he said something. He texted something, rather, but same difference.  I had gone out for another walk with friends at night (trying to stick to my plan of walking every day, that lasted three days) and left my Hubs at home with very little warning. Now in the past if one of us had overlooked a need of the other we would just stew in it for months and then spew anger all over. Well, therapy is paying off! He expressed his need for time for us to be together, to me, nicely, on my phone, with a plan! I was not very courteous in my initial replies, as I was walking and feeling completely thrown off by this honest, raw, intimate communication. I may have come across as piqued in my response. I called so I could actually talk, and we worked it out. Now we try to spend one night a week with only each other. It’s nice to connect in a sea of busy. I am proud of us.

Feeling connected.

I decided to write today, mainly because it is my thirty-first birthday. I am now 31. A real adult. Really really. I went to our town’s Summerfest last night and tonight (also known simply as “Beer Tent”) and felt extremely old as I surveyed the, foreign to me, population of youthful faces. For the first time I really began to understand that my time of being young and attractive, agile and adorable, has passed, forever. I am now “experienced”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still attractive, just not in that way a 25 year old with Bright eyes and soft hands is.  I’m really in that stage of life where I treasure my book, my bed, red wine and real friendship. This is my time to set. Like a good paint job, or glue, or pudding. All of the stirring, and pouring, and applying is done, now I need to set. My body agrees. It’s ready to set, or at least to settle into the gravitational pull. 

The chin is the first to go

I notice the lines in my neck don’t disappear when I stretch anymore, the skin on my face has found it’s favourite craters and mounds to sit into, and over. My breasts are feeling more soft and settled, my feet find the earth more eagerly than they have ever done. My earlobes, eyelashes, fingers, scalp, belly and smile all seem more my own than before.

 I think in my twenties I still viewed my body as being mine, but less so. It was an ornament, a canvas, a work to be admired or praised by others. It was not there for me as much as I find it to be now. It was still confusing and foreign. A thing to be admired, or criticized, for it’s attributes, or lack of them. Now I feel my body and I coming together. My yoga teacher does this thing where she asks us to thank our bodies. I had never thought to do that before yoga. I find the concept very beneficial and helpful to me. I remember my body helps me, it is my vessel, my simbiode. My body is mine, for me. It was for my children, it is a gift I open to my husband, but it is now embraced daily as my own gift from God. A place to call home.

This is a beautiful body to call home

Entering my thirty-second year, I could announce my “older” age, excuse myself from life and check out, or I could embrace this part of my journey and learn from my body. I am allowing myself to mourn my twenties still. It seems odd. I mean thirty-one is NOT old. I’m still in my first half of life. I’m still young, just not in a sexy, popular way.  In my thirties I feel I’m supposed to have stuff figured out. Buy a house, own rrsps, have a plan. Nope. But I do have kids, a career, Hubs, and passion. Maybe I’m younger than I think!

Well, I’m pushing myself past my new “responsible person bedtime” and am nodding off. I leave you with this thought: you are never too young too feel old, but you can be too old to still believe it. 

Cheers!

Court

Oh The Shame..

“…thought of changin my name! Got down hearted…” ok, I’m done. I have not written in FOREVER! I removed my last post after some complaints, then I was too upset to write for a while, then I felt ashamed for not writing, ashamed for not meeting any of my June goals and ashamed for eating chocolate and drinking beer almost every day this week.  I feel ashamed for not sleeping enough, not eating well, not working out. I am in a slump! I feel unmotivated, but also super dissatisfied. I simultaneously want to be the best at the life I have, but also trade in this life for a different one.
How do you deal with shame and dissatisfaction? I usually write lists, I start trying harder, I clean my house, I watch more tv and try to stop thinking. I also wrestle with my own reasons for feeling shame or guilt. Why is it hard to accept me for me in these moments? Why do I need to believe the Instagram version of me? Ever notice I don’t post my chicken McNuggets and iced coffees on instagram? Ever notice I don’t post my excellent nights of binge eating and watching Netflix until 2am? I post my sneakers after a run, I post my homemade food, I post my kids roasting marshmallows, but I never think to post that moment where we are screaming at each other about not being allowed to eat iced cream for breakfast.
I am running out of steam guys. I can’t do it all. I hate that!!!  I can’t guarantee my kids are always going to be safe and healthy no matter what, I can’t guarantee they grow up into civilized humans, I cannot control the weather, other people or even my own emotions. I HATE that!  But I also prefer not controlling the world, I’d suck at it.
Now I’m tired, my hands hurt and I think I shall cut this short.
Oh the shame. Let it go…
Disney. HA!

Cheers Court

Jumping Jehoshaphat! It’s June!

Hey look! Three posts in a week! What is up with this!? I’m in the blogging zone again. How apt at the marker month of almost halfway through the year. It’s June! 

With it being a new month this brings me to a new challenge. I believe originally I had decided this to be Jumping in June. Which I had described as focusing on growing a garden, and hiking in at least one national park. I’d like to keep those goals present. I need to see what national Park is nearby and doable. I may need to visit my aunts and uncles on the Bruce if I can’t organize another option with my barely open weekends this month. But I’d like to research that more. My new challenge idea has to do with food. “What!?!” You say, sarcastically aghast, “Food!? Who knew you would want a FOOD focused challenge!?” Lol. I make myself laugh. I’m so hilarious. (Add in sardonic smirk.) I really find food challenges interesting and it’s something I stick to better I feel. So, this month I want to bake/make my way through this book:

My mom gave it to me as a mother’s day gift and I’m intrigued. She seems funny and realistic, but also reaches for a healthier place. I would like to aim to achieve a recipe a day, but I think realistically (as this is a mostly desserts book) three recipes a week may make more sense.  I will post my thoughts on each recipe, but since they are directly from the book, I won’t share all of them because I don’t want to give her work away for free. I think that adding this food aspect may help my consistency in blogging as well. 

This past month was a corker. It was busy, successful in so many ways, and I loved the Good Food Real Results challenge. My garden…didn’t happen. That’s why I don’t mind it being continued this month…

Here are some of my latest food choices:

Muffin and green smoothie

Asian beef lettuce wraps with veggies.

Peaches and cream

Chocolate cherry fruit plate

Food court fare on our mini vacation today.

Dessert from dinner. Yum. But four bites and I was done. So good, but so sweet. I also had a Caesar and ribs for dinner!

As you can gather from the food today, we are not at home. We have made a mini escape out of what was originally only a necessary appointment for the Hub’s in London. We decided to whisk the boys away to the Lamplighter Inn for two days and some family time. It’s glorious. I didn’t realize how little we’ve traveled in the last four years until Boy#2 went absolutely nutso over the hotel room having a sink and the treehouse channel on the television.

Car rides are the best…

That’s better, no sun in the eyes anymore.

These are the moments when I fall in love all over again. I mean, c’mon, a tall guy with a beard snuggling an adorable preschooler!? Who wouldn’t!?

We stopped at Build a Bear and made some new friends for our first family day away in a hotel. Boy#2 choose Sonic and Boy#1 chose a dragon. They loved it! The staff there always impress with their kindness and patience.

The view from our room. So relaxing as I sit out on the balcony as kidlets snooze. This is a vacation.

These small moments of joy and togetherness mean so much to me. They really glue us. I need to just slow down and breathe them in a bit longer. Today I found myself snapping at the boys over their excited behavior instead of reveling in their joy and life living ability. Tomorrow I choose better. 

Welcome June. Bring in a fresh breath of love and life. Bring some perspective and growth, and please don’t bring temperatures higher than 25…
Cheers

Court

Discipline (Some form of it)

Learning discipline is hard!  Learning to discipline myself enough to choose healthy, balanced meals instead of crappy sugar filled ones is hard. Choosing to go for a walk,  run, or to garden instead of sit on my butt and watch television all day is hard. Choosing my words, biting my tongue and listening instead of reacting is hard. Choosing to apologize for those times I do not control my tongue or temper is hard. Choosing to work on my attachment and communication with children instead of reacting immediately with my emotions is hard. Choosing to go to bed on time and not stay up writing a blog all night is hard! (As I post this at 2:30 a.m.)

Teaching discipline is hard! Discipline sounds like a rough word when you talk about it pertaining to children and parenting. I’m not talking about discipline like “punishment inflicted by way of correction and training”, but about discipline: “activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill;training” and “behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control”. Now, I’m also not saying “It’s hard to discipline my kids”, that can be difficult to do, but quick and relatively easy compared to teaching our children self discipline and to choose discipline.  It’s easy to give in and let them have what they want, treat me like I don’t matter, or leave them alone when they don’t listen. It’s easy to lose my cool and yell when they don’t listen, to threaten extreme consequences when they misbehave. It is not easy to calmly explain natural consequences, to follow through on them, to sit through the natural storm of emotions and remain a safe harbour when they need comforting. It is not easy to continually reinforce the need for them to do their chores when they are needed to be done, to not give them their allowance when they do not complete things they know they are expected to.

This evening Boy#1 put up a very dramatic fight over going to bed at his known, and agreed upon bedtime. I told him it was bedtime, Hubs told him it was bedtime, he said no twice. He then proceeded to argue with us about why it could not be his bedtime. Finally, after almost five minutes and him kicking a table, I gave him a warning and then took away television privileges for tomorrow. I was not as calm as I would like, I had become a bit irritated with his behaviour.  Boy#1 did not stop here, he then cried and begged for tv back. I stayed in the living room as Hubs moved both boys along to bed. I breathed. Boy#1 re-entered the room teary. I snapped at him. I did not use my own discipline. He left more teary. I breathed. I went to the bedroom and asked him for forgiveness and an apology. I asked him to apologize for his behaviour. I re-enforced that the consequence would not be changed for tomorrow, but that there would not be any further consequences for this past behaviour. However, if the behaviour persisted or started up again there would be new consequences. We hugged and he became quite content and happy.
That was hard. It was painful for both of us, it was messy and emotional and human. But he is learning discipline just as I am. Learning something is never easy, it never ends, and it tends to be messy to begin. I am proud of us tonight. I am proud we made it through that bit of struggle. I love my kids. I want them to grow into strong, kind, honest men of character who know what it is to be disciplined in action and thought. I will screw up again. I have screwed up a lot in the past. Screwing up happens, but through talking it out and acknowledging my own mistakes to them, I hope to teach them that mistakes happen and that we can always accept them, make amends, and move forward. I hope they learn that even adults make mistakes and have to learn from them.

Love these weirdos and their wonderful dear hearts. I am so blessed to be their mom and love on them. The lessons are hard, but the rewards are amazing.

Cheers
Court

 

Mayawidge (11 years of it)

wedding 1

Eleven years ago I married a guy. Eleven years later I now realize I had no idea what that really meant. I thought it meant life was set. I found Prince Charming, we’d be in love all our lives, have children, raise them, live happily ever after. HA!!! I was so young, so naive and so very idealistic. Not once did I really consider the selflessness, hard work and determination it takes to make and keep a marriage. Now, after eleven years, I am finally learning that any relationship takes love, time and work, but a marriage also takes study, selfless service, communication and humility.
Eleven years has brought so much our way. We have learned how to rally, how to fight, how not to fight, when to be soft, when to stand firm and when to ask for help. We have bought a house, sold a house, moved eight times, had two wonderful children together, supported each other through job changes, re-education, mental illness, physical illness, loss, and crisis of faith. We have dealt with miscommunication, deception, temptation, distracted living, bankruptcy, being on the brink of separation and divorce multiple times and fights that have left us both wondering why we are here. Our friends and family have supported us through it all, they have given us the strength and perception to make choices needed to be made.  We have continued to choose each other. To choose the work of marriage. It’s hard. It’s important, and each time we choose us again I feel we have “leveled up” in our marriage game. (Can you tell I married a video game geek?)

Through our eleven years he has learned to live with many things: my bad habit of not checking in about where I am, my crunchy hippie ways (read family cloth, composting and openly breastfeeding our children), my lack of fear of basically anything, my choosing to volunteer my time liberally without always discussing it first, my eccentricities (they number in the thousands), and my proclivity for moving things around the house without explanation and then being exasperated when no one knows where they are.  I have learned to live with his eccentricities, his love of video games, his need to know where I am (I’m learning to check in more), his fear of most “non-dangerous” (in my opinion) things, his love of eating pizza for as many meals as possible;)

Marriage is more than a wedding, it’s more than two people loving each other, it’s more than combined incomes and debt, more than a piece of paper and a “simple” vow. Marriage is a home you build piece by piece, brick by brick, sometimes the foundation is faulty, you have to shore it up, or dig it all away and feel as though you start from nothing but a big hole. Marriage is a growing, changing development. Some days you wake up realizing it has morphed into some place you don’t recognize, and you have to shake yourself and decide whether you want to stay there in it’s present state, renovate, or move.

Mine has been renovated several times now, intentionally and out of necessity.  We have brought in “contractors” to help renovate and rebuild our “home” with a stronger foundation. They have equipped us with better tools, new techniques and knowledge.  We also have some wonderful help with maintenance. Friends have given us manuals, advice, help with plastering, roofing and cleaning the windows.  Marriages take more than the two people in them to survive and thrive. We have had a crew similar to that in “Extreme Home Makeover” to secure ours.

This year we took a weekend to celebrate a Marriage we have worked very hard at this year. The Hubs mum watched the boys this weekend and we just stayed home and took a stay-cation. It was a wonderful gift.


We had a fantastic weekend with beautiful weather and wonderful friends. Finished off with some quality kiddo time. This is the gift. I am in love with my home.

Now to update on my efforts in pursuing health and wellness. Gardening: nope. I watered my tomato plant and my herbs yesterday! yay! (Heavy sarcasm)
I have been sticking to my plan, not too loosely, for the Good Food Real Results. This week is my first without the pre-planned meal plan. I just need to make sure I measure my portions. Here are a few photos of what I’ve been enjoying on the plan so far:

I have been indulging in the odd snack and drink, but I’ve felt so much better this month.

Anyway, I’m off to bed. Napped today and it threw off my entire sleep pattern, it’s 4:18. Stupid nap!

Cheers!
Court

 

Honesty, a policy, a principle, or a problem

Today I woke up sick and pantless. I remained pantless most of the morning, simply because I didn’t want to have to wash an extra pair of them and wasn’t ready to shower. Honest, right? Too much? Too bad. This is the world we live in. You are bombarded with honesty every day. Honesty that may be a brand you do not desire. Either that or we are peddled a beautiful version of the truth, that is only half. Like my own blog, where I love to post my healthy choices and ambitions:

I’m loving my time with the Good Food Real Results program from Epicure. It’s been really great for my family. Now back to reality:
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Last night was Hubs birthday. This was not on the plan. It was delicious! Not in the plan.
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Not on the plan. Oh, and pantless cheesecake eating is the best. Just saying. It is freaking hot up in here! 30 degrees outside! Pantless cheesecake time. This is honesty. Or is it?  Am I actually being honest or just telling people what I think they want to hear so I am more approachable and real? Am I just selling myself or am I truly practicing honesty? You’ll never know;) I have this internal struggle about social media, blogging, mom groups. How often are we being truly REAL? Real for the sake of reality. Not too often. It’s easier to say “I’m fine.” Instead of “Life’s shitty. I am continually questioning every decision I make, my kids are awesome but I still get angry at them, my husband is wonderful but I still battle resentment over the most inconsequential thing. my stomach is bloated and my period is not reliable.  How are you?” Let’s get real. Are you really going to do that? Go to mom group without make up, tell someone when we are upset, uncomfortable or hurt. Be warned: being real is uncomfortable sometimes, for us and for the people near us. Like my pantless confession; it sometimes leaves you a bit skeevy feeling.  Being real is supposed to be easy, but it’s also scary. We all have our realness limit. How deep can you be before you are just a walking raw nerve of emotion and overexposure? Balance in all things. For me it’s running a five K and then eating cheesecake for three days…ok two days, but tomorrow may be three.

About the Five K: I finished with a time of 38 minutes and 24 seconds, and almost barfed. More training and sleep needed.
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My whole family came out to support me, it was a great experience and I’m planning on running another in August. Once I kill this cold off it’s back to work. I need to stop eating sugar again too…

As far as my May challenge of gardening goes…nothing…nada, not even a weed pulled. I’ve been working on running and cooking and normal life and have not been in my garden at all. Hopefully this weekend. Also this weekend: putting the TV away! No TV all summer. Well, not unsupervised, so it’s moving into the office and will be used for family movie nights and only when parents deem it healthy. That’s a good challenge: TV free for the Summer.

Well, it is now midnight and I’m exhausted and hot, heading to bed, sleeping this awful cold away.

Cheers

Court