Friday, July 31, 2009

Important Life Lessons

Right now I am in the sunny Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada.

It is not "sunny" or "hot" here, it is sweltering. We drove down last Monday and it was 43 degrees Celsius (I can't remember the conversion to Fahrenheit, my American friends. Ask your local drug dealer. They understand the metric system.)

We are staying at my in-laws, whom I think of as my own family. Last night, my Hurricane was digging around in the cupboard in the motorhome where we are sleeping and found some stale marshmallows, which he shared with the Princess. Of course, he got busted and I took them away. This morning, I thought it would be a good idea to make Rice Krispie squares with the stale marshmallows, because they wouldn't be good for anything else.

I found out after the squares were made that the marshmallows weren't just a bit stale. They are four years old stale. I broke a wooden spoon stirring them while they were melting. I used marshmallows that were the same age as my kid. Even knowing this, I still tried to eat some. Epic Fail.

Important Life Lesson: You can't make Rice Krispie Squares with four year old marshmallows.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Country Girl

I live in the country, on a short dirt road that becomes our driveway. I listen to country music. I like going to the rodeo, mud bogging, and tractor pulls. I love my old pick up truck (still sad I had to trade it in for a Mom-mobile). I love my husband's pick up truck. I love being in Hot Stuff's pick up after dark in the summer when all you can smell is sweet grass and hear crickets and bullfrogs. I can (sort-of) two-step. I listen to the Farm Report and the Ag Report on the country radio. I hang my unders on the clothesline for all the world (ok, just the people who pass by our house) to see. I know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun and can tell the difference between a gunshot and a car backfiring.


I like racing. Not watching NASCAR on TV, because that's boring. (Although actually going to a NASCAR or CASCAR race would be awesome!!) I like to head out to the quarter-mile track and spend an afternoon watching the mini, street, and pro (when they still had it) stock cars and the modifieds. Tomorrow is our 6th wedding anniversary and Hot Stuff and I decided to celebrate it today. By having a late lunch/early supper (lupper? sunch?) in town and driving, in his pick up, for forty minutes to the race track. It was the most fun I've had in a while.

So there. I am a country girl, and now you know.
(I wrote this days ago and haven't been able to hit the publish button. Today is exactly two weeks away. I need to publish.)

Dear Mom,

The anniversary of your death is coming up in a couple of weeks. Already on the inside I am hyperventilating while bent over wanting to throw up. I miss you a lot. I see you in the faces of my children everyday; sometimes the light and their expressions trick me and I think I am looking at you. Sometimes it is the way the Hurricane stands when he is annoyed, with his fists on his hips and a frowny look on his face; just like you used to do when you were annoyed.

I see a lot of you in myself, too. Some of the things I say to my kids are the same things you said to us. The words just pop out and I think to myself, 'Self, you sound just like your mother.' I never knew the heartbreak and joy that being a mother brings. It's really hard, some days, with three kids. You went through this, too. I wish you were here in person to help me.

I don't know so much if God exists, but I do believe you are an angel watching over my kids. M says that you are sending her butterflies, and I think you are sending me butterflies too. Sometimes they fly into the grill of my truck when I am racing down the highway, so thanks for that. Yes, Mom, I am still inappropriate as ever; you know how honestly I come by it.

I guess you know about the tattoo, hey? I can just imagine how impressed you are. Are you up there having a fit like you did when I got my first one? I still hear you in my mind telling me that I am defacing my body and ruining my life and now I'll have to join the Navy or be a truckdriver because I'm covered in tattoos but nobody ever listens to you because what do you know, nothing, you say, nothing, so you should just fall off the earth. Melodramatic, Ma. Just a bit. I bet heaven has lots of dumpsters you can sit on and shoo away crows. Your ethereal life can still have meaning.

If I never did it before, I want to thank you for some big gifts you gave me. The knowledge that life doesn't owe me anything. That I must work hard for the things I want. That I should never doubt who I am, be ashamed of where I came from, or feel less of a person than anyone else. To take nothing that isn't freely given; to give freely when I can. To help others. To get right back up when life kicks my teeth in. To think for myself. To rely on myself. To own my mistakes and try to make them right. All of these weren't things we talked about; they were things you did that I saw. Thanks for making me a good person and totally square. Ha-ha.

I wish we had more time together, Mom. I wish you could watch my kids grow from here on Earth. I wish I could ask your advice and vent and cry on your shoulder. I worry about Dad, I don't think he is doing so well; he is depressed and in denial about it. Stubborn ass. I don't think butterflies will cut it for him; maybe a dream-visit where you can give him a dream-punch in the head and tell him to get some help.

I hope you don't worry too much about us down here. You left a big hole, but we are tough. We are your people, so we will survive. Everyday, we miss you.

Love you lots,

Middle kid.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Didn't exactly dodge the bullet, walked away with only a flesh wound.

Conversation with my 4 year old:

Driving home from the city today, my darling Hurricane posed this question to me from out of the clear blue sky,

"Mom, when you were at the hospital, did the doctor cut the baby out of your tummy?"

I am not sure how I managed to have the 'deer in the headlights' look from inside the truck, but I calmly answered, "No." I can see where this is going, but am helpless to stop his next question,

"Well, how did the baby get out of your tummy, then?"

At this point, I know I am not going to get out of this easily, so I am preparing for the Talk. The Talk, of course, being an entire birds and bees conversation with a preschooler. I am wondering exactly how one explains that at a 4 year old level.

"The baby came out of my vagina," there, I said it.

"Oh. Did all your babies come out of your bagina?"


"Oh. Little Dude had a blankie in your tummy."

"Babies don't have blankies when they grow in mommy tummies."

"Well, then, he had clothes on."

"No, honey, he was just naked when he was growing in my tummy."

"How did he come out of your bagina? Did he have clothes on then?"

"Nope. Just naked."

"Oh," a moment of silence, then, "Can I have more sloppy?" Today was my kids' first experience with a Slurpee, now forever known in our house as a Sloppy.

Talk about anti-climactic!! I was getting myself all geared up to have this great, open conversation with my son about bodies and how cool they are, and he's happy with my simple answers? What the hell? I feel so cheated.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Today, I struggled.

Most days I am able to be a mother of three with some degree of patience and a large ability to laugh things off. Today was not one of those days. In reality, the last three days have not been those days. I swear, there is good reason I call my son the Hurricane. Yesterday was a day not quite as "busy" for him as Monday was, but he was seriously testing the boundaries. Today, he was bulldozing the boundaries and anything else in the way.

Hurricane and the Princess were both up before I was; the Hurricane decided that Cheerios for breakfast are so last week. Instead, he thought it would be a good idea to raid my baking cupboard and have candy canes for breakfast. (I have a great cookie recipe that calls for candy canes, so I bought extras after Christmas.) I spent the first twenty minutes of my day picking up slobbery candy cane wrappers and picking stuck on bits of candy cane off the couch and floor. Not to mention wiping sticky fingerprints off of everything. And vacuuming candy cane off the rug.

Wednesdays are my days to visit with my coffee buddy R. (I don't drink coffee but she is gracious enough to forgive this serious character flaw.) R. has a 3 year old son and he and the Hurricane get along famously. We went for a picnic at the splash park, so I decided to bring the "practice cake" I was planning to make anyways. (My sister asked me to bake a cake, so I needed to practice this new recipe first.)

I made the cake, and was running a bit behind our scheduled meeting time of noon. In the midst of me trying to get both babies bags packed and all three kids ready to go, the Hurricane runs through the livingroom where I am changing baby butts. On his way through, he says, "MomImadeabigmessinthekitchen," and continues to race up to his room. Here is what I walked into:

That is half a canister of flour on the floor. At this point of the morning, I have still been in 'patient mom' mode where I ask politely two or three times before I stop asking and start sending the Hurricane to his room or kick him outside. So, still being 'patient mom,' I laugh and get the vacuum out. I figure I should take a picture of this (as proof to Hot Stuff that I am not sitting on the couch eating bon-bons and watching Dr. Phil. Hot Stuff doesn't need to know that mostly I am hiding in a corner drinking booze.), but I can't find my camera. The Hurricane informs me that my $400 camera (aka the most expensive camera I have ever owned) is outside.

So now my hair is starting to curl around my ears, what with the steam pouring out. Hurricane has been told at least a gazillion times that the camera, the computer, and anything else that does not belong to him are off limits. Then, I walk into the livingroom to put the vacuum away. Where I see every single cushion from the couches is in a pile on the floor.

We finally meet up with R. at 12:15 because I was busy yelling at the Hurricane to leave his sister alone and find his other sandal. Which he never did. Which I couldn't find either. He rode to the splash park in one sandal. We had a fantastic time at the splash park; the boys played so well together and R. and I had a great visit.

The Hurricane started up again in the car on the way home. Purposely yelling and screaming to make his brother and sister, who were both exhausted, cry. I snapped. I pulled over, leaned into the back, and gave him supreme shit at top volume. It made his screaming stop.

By the time we got home, I was done. Stick a fork in me done. I made him go to his room and stay there until dinner was ready. He was acting up at dinner so he was sent to get his pj's on immediately after he was done. I let him play for a bit after he was ready for bed, but then he started in again with the behaviours, so he got sent to bed. Some days, this kid makes me crazy. I love him fiercely, but these past few days he is living on cute.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The worst part of me.

Ok, so I'm all for being brutally honest on my blog. Which is fairly easy, because no one in my circle of people knows I have a blog. I have chosen it to be this way in order to be totally anonymous. That way, I can be absolutely truthful and say whatever I want and nobody knows what I'm talking about. Kind of like real life in that aspect; most times I don't know what I'm talking about.

But I digress.

I have a dirty habit. It is the one thing about myself that I am embarassed about. Not nose picking. Not eating gum off the sidewalk. Not drinking other people's leftover drinks at the bar. Do you see where I am going yet?

It's the worst of the worst, in acceptable society.

I. Am. A. Smoker.

Don't worry, you don't have to say it, I'll say it for you. Ugh, gross. Here's the brutally honest part: *deep breath* I have been a smoker for twelve years. I smoked while pregnant with all three kids (I really, really cut down while pregnant, and you don't have to crap on me, because I did a really good job of making myself feel like shit for 10 months x 3). I watched my mom die of lung cancer. And yet, I still smoke.

Oh yes, I have tried quitting. Patches, Zyban, cold turkey. I have not given up on quitting, because it's really important to me that my kids don't ever think it is ok or acceptable. Especially now, when the anniversary of my mom's death is so close. I don't smoke in the house or when the kids are riding in the truck with me. The other day, though, the Hurricane said to me, "Mom, when I am a grown up, will you teach me how to smoke?" A part of me died inside. I felt my inner self grab a knife and jam it into my heart, then twist it around. Then my inner self punched me in the ear and said, "Do you see what you are teaching your child? What kind of mother are you?" Oh, the guilt. Oh, the guilt.

(Sidenote: I am sitting here cringing at my total unworthiness to raise these children.)

See, both of my parents were heavy smokers. How much of this did I learn from them? Would I have been a smoker anyways, even if they never smoked? I hated the smell of cigarettes when I was living at home. Refused to even buy my parents cigarettes if I had to stop at the store on the way home. I didn't start until I was 19 years old. Old enough to know better, too young to care. My husband is a smoker - would I still have married him? All but one of my friends are smokers. Would they still be my friends? Am I passing on this horrible habit to my kids? When my children are adults, are their lives going to be blown apart because I have been diagnosed with cancer?

(Sidenote: I want to throw up at the thought of that.)

My brother did a really good job throwing my habit in my face last year. He flat out told me that I was a bad mother and a lousy human being because I smoked. I was stunned to realize that a tiny part of me agrees with him.

I carry such guilt about this. I saw my mother die because of it. I don't want my kids to go through what I went through. I am hoping that by writing it down and exposing the worst part of me, I will find the motivation to wake up one day and slap on a patch instead of grabbing a smoke.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not *My* Child! Monday

Thank you, MckMama, for the Not My Child! Monday; it's almost like you knew what kind of a day I was going to have...

Well, my kids did not wake me up at o'dark thirty this morning. My children respect the privacy of bedrooms and early mornings and would not come through the door and up the stairs (two points of entry to our room; one child per) like angry, noisy Stormtroopers at 6:30am.

My wonderful, caring Hurricane has not been making the Princess cry at least once every 15 minutes since they both got up at the way too early hour of 6 am. My children would never do anything to annoy each other.

My lovely, charming Hurricane did not take a poop right in front of the garage and proceed to tell me what he had done immediately after. That is just... ugh! I, of course, would never make him clean it up himself with plastic bags. That would just be mean.

While I have been inside slaving in the kitchen making bread and cleaning up the house yet once again, my happy, helpful Hurricane has not spent a good part of the morning "playing" outside, ie. ripping down my clean laundry from the clothesline.

My sweet, gentle Hurricane did not take every single toy from the baby's toybox and put it in a giant pile in the livingroom. Right on top of the baby.

My fun-loving, go-getter Hurricane did not decide that he and the Princess were thirsty and thus helped himself to two Diet Pepsis, one of which he gave to his sister. To dump all over herself. And then she cried.

I did not throw in the towel upon spotting them running hellbent for leather across the yard, him with Pepsi sloshing out of the can everywhere, and laugh.

I did not make all my children go to bed shortly after lunch so I could get a freaking break from the insanity.

I am not sitting here revelling in the quiet.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The End is Near

Well that certainly sounds ominous. Really, it's not. D has moved her moving date because she unexpectedly got the day off tomorrow so we will be moving stuff into her house. A part of me is glad I will soon have my house back, and another part of me is going to miss having D and the kids around. I will especially miss times, like tonight, where all of us big girls get the giggles. Somehow our conversation about the tooth fairy devolved into serious hilarity about fradulent claims of tooth loss in order to get more money from the tooth fairy and other such twelve-teen year old funniness.

My girlfriend R stopped over today for lunch and brought her 3 year old son and 8 month old twins. Yes, I said twins. We had babies from one end of the room to the other. We stacked 'em like cordwood. It was like baby UFC (Diaperweight, of course) in my livingroom. R said that I looked 'tired'. She is a very kind and generous person.

Hot Stuff got a call from my brother today. My brother was quite upset, according to my darling hub, because my brother has not worked for quite some time now. The oil and gas industry, where my hus and my brother both work, has been dead for the last 10 months and very many of us who rely on the oil and gas industry are financially hurting. Although I feel bad that my brother is feeling bad, I cannot help (and this is very petty of me, as it is absolutely none of my business) wondering why the hell they recently took a trip to Seattle and stopped over on Vancouver Island to see family for a couple of weeks. In a judgey way, I privately think they live beyond their means. Then I feel bad for being so judgey. But then I still feel a bit judgey. Then I feel hypocritical because we are taking a trip to the BC interior next week and we can afford it, but kind of sort of not really. It's not the actual cost of the trip (we will be driving down and staying with family who will feed us), more so the cost of Hot Stuff not working for a week. I am able to justify this to myself with the excuse of, our kids need to see their grandparents. So, in conclusion, I am judgey, hypocritical, and able to justify my wants with any flimsy excuse I can. Huh. I really am human. Pfft. Sucks. So much for my delusions of grandeur and omnipotence.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Not Me! Monday

I did not totally cheer out loud in the grocery store when it was 15% Tuesday and I, armed with my inherent stinginess, coupons and Save-On-More card, saved a grand total of $77.34. How uncouth that would be. My triumphant and lengthy self-congratulation session (jeez, that sounds kind of dirty) definitely did not make me late for dropping D off for a freaking job interview (nothing says, 'I want to work for you!' more than being late even before you get hired. Except maybe giving the interviewer the following excuse, 'Sorry I'm late, it's not my fault. My ride was late.' Go me.). When we got home from shopping and job interviewing, I did not completely forget Little Dude in his carseat until he cooed at me when I was unloading the very last two bags of groceries. That would be negligent parenting.

I did not spend a good part of Wednesday yelling at the Hurricane to: stop running in the house, stop yelling in the house, stop acting like a maniac, sit down, don't hurdle over the babies, leave your sister alone, quit bugging the big kids, go outside and play, get inside out of the rain, go to your room, get out of my room, shut off the TV, don't touch the radio, turn the radio back on, turn the damn radio down, holy crap you are making me freaking insane and I am about to lose my mind so you'd better knock off the crap before I go postal and your backside gets a smack. None of that was said in either a loud or exasperated voice, as I am a calm and peaceful parent. My children do not require me to speak in a loud voice that others would deem yelling, especially as we are a family of 10 right now.

I did not eat two cinnamon buns and a chocolate cupcake after lunch on Wednesday. I have oodles of self control.

I did not bake some bread today and put it in the oven to rise. I did not completely forget about the bread and turn the oven on to pre-heat. With the bread still inside. Fortunately, no bread was injured in the making of that mistake.

Strangely enough, nobody in our family of 10 has been maimed or died because of bad attitude and had their body buried in the backyard injured. Yet. D has found a house to move into next weekend-ish. I think all the kids are pretty happy because they are seriously making each other crazy. The little kids are annoying the big kids, the big kids are annoying the adults, and the babies are wailing and annoying everyone.

Siiiiggghhh. I'm gonna miss this.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A houseful.

I have known my best friend D for almost 10 years now. I love her. She keeps me sane. She makes me laugh. She listens to me piss and moan, whine and complain, and she is the only person I am not blood related to or married to that has seen me cry. Last week, D moved back to my area, but she didn't exactly have a place to move to. (Long story, not so great relationship, had to make a sort-of quick getaway.) So, her family (who is my family, because we are related by love) is staying with me. That makes us, all of us, in total, a family of:

3 adults. A 13 year old. An 11 year old. A 4 year old. A 20-month old. Two 15-month olds. A 7-month old.

I have been running my ass off. Literally. There is nothing left except a crack.

It has been awesome.

I am exhausted.

But happy.