Did I say that out loud?

Thoughts and musings of a mom

Resolutions Version 2017

Every year, I try my darn tootin’ hardest to create a new and astonishing list of resolutions that will rock my world.  And every year, I put more effort into creating the list than I do actually keeping any of them.  Whatever.  So, without further ado, I present to you Christy’s New Year’s Resolutions Version 2017.

1) Eat clean.  Wait!  I already eat clean.  I wash my hands right before I eat half a box of KD.  Therefore, I eat clean.  I am so going to crush this.

2) Convince Ganong’s Chocolate Factory that they should bring back the vanilla cream drop chocolates that they used to carry in their Red Wrap box.  In the words of Sinead O’Connor, nothing compares to you.  I do not have a plan of action for this endeavor yet, but stay tuned.  

3) Make sure I always have soap in my soap dish, clean underwear in my drawer(s), and 400 rolls of toilet paper stockpiled in my basement.  I usually do ok here, but when a girl’s got to wear her Wednesday undies on a Monday, it may be the equivalent of not forwarding on those chain letters that your great aunt Gertrude emails you 5 times a day because she just got the internet and her first email account (in other words, unnecessary certain doom).

4) Read more.  This means, of course, that I may need to not binge watch British detective programs on Netflix so much.  I know reading will make me a much smarter person, but so will throwing in a few British phrases occasionally into conversation.  Hey mate, I’m so knackered because I haven’t slept in a fortnight (my luck, I probably just swore and didn’t realize it).

5) Stop putting 2 spaces after every period when I type.  Who am I kidding?  I.  Just.  Can’t.  Do.  It.

6) Give up my magazine subscriptions. Contrary to what I believe, I will not be less of a Canadian if I don’t read Chatelaine and Canadian Living every month.  

7) Have more company over.  My husband and I used to be really good at this.  Now we suck.  I think people still like us, but we need to make the time for this.

8) Incorporate as many song lyrics into everyday conversation as I can (without getting fired or divorced) because deep down, don’t you all believe that life needs a soundtrack?  

9) Get the front step stained.  We’ve lived here for over 8 years.  It’s time.  Enough said.

10) Eat all of the contents of my freezer.  The stockpile needs to be depleted.  Anyone up for a few turkey dinners, served with a side order of hamburgers and something that may have been shot in someone’s back yard (legally)?

Of course, I’ll work on being a real healthy, kind and all around wonderful person too in 2017.  But hey!  Rome wasn’t built in a day….or a year.  Or least, I’m fairly certain it wasn’t.

Oh, and I’d really like to sing backup for Meghan Trainor…you know, if these other resolutions don’t work out so well.

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What won’t you touch with a 10-foot pole?

​Recently, I’ve been reading through the book, 642 Things to Write About.  I bought it a couple years ago, thinking it would be a quick way to capture some new ideas for writing.  Oddly enough, the following topic spoke to me.  I’m not sure what this says about me.  Ok, yes, I do.  I have my issues.  We all do.  Here are mine. 

What won’t you touch with a 10-foot pole?

Worms – I tried to read How to Eat Fried Worms when I was a kid, and ever since, the sight of worms makes my stomach turn.  Rainy days on a paved driveway are painful.

Olives – Satan, himself, grows these in hell.

Dandelion stems – I learned (the hard way) that they can create perfectly round dark circles on light coloured clothing and you can never tell they are there until after the clothing has gone through the dryer.  They’re like the freaking crop circles of the laundry room.

Climbing the professional ladder – I am incredibly happy in my current position and have no interest leaving the (kindergarten) classroom.  Now that being said, if I was given the opportunity to rule my portion of the world for a day, I may need to take a leave of absence from my current position.  

A syringe – Biggest.  Phobia.  Of.  My.  Life.  No.  Pride.  Left.  In fact, if I don’t change the topic quickly enough here, I may pass out (that’s an entirely different blog post…list the various places where I have passed out…and just a heads up, cement is not always your friend).

Plastic vampire teeth – Just looking at them make my teeth sore.  In fact, thinking about them right now, makes my gums ache.  I am getting better in this area though.  Even real wiggly teeth used to make me cringe.  Teaching Kindergarten has helped me with this.

Cigarettes – I was only slightly tempted in grad school because you have to have some kind of vice when you are in grad school.  Now that I think of it, my real vice in grad school was licor….ice.  Seriously, I really should have dedicated my thesis to red licorice.

Royalty – If I touch any of them with a pole, I am most likely going to spend the night in jail.  I suppose I would find out the hard way if there is such a thing as a castle dungeon.

Boiled icing recipe – I refuse to learn how to make it for fear that I would spread it on my toast every morning for breakfast.  And then I would be late(r) for work every day because who can leave boiled icing left over in the fridge?  Another piece of toast, anyone?

Down hill skiing – I’ve said for a while now that my personal version of hell would be for me to be forced to downhill ski all day.  And each time, I finally made it to the bottom of the hill, I would have to eat a bottle of olives.  And yes, I know, I live just around the corner from the slopes. 

Ok, so there you have it, folks.  That’s my current list.  In time, I’m sure I could find some more items to add to this list.  And in the meantime, maybe I’ll make a list of items that I wouldn’t touch with a shorter pole.

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The little brown bird

I stood at the front of the room, waiting for their answers.  Each reply was true to tradition.  A witch.  A superhero.  A princess.

And then the tiniest student in the room softly spoke her quiet response to the annual question of what each child was going to dress as for Halloween. 

A little brown bird.

No flash.  No pizaaz.  No bright lights or dynamic colours.  Just a simple little brown bird.  A breath of fresh air on a day that places value on the extremes.

Years from now, will we remember the little brown bird?  Or will we only reflect back on the outstanding, the attention seekers, the more obvious depictions of that day?  

And do we live our lives as the simple little brown bird? 

Or are we the posh princess, making demands, desiring the necessity of others to fulfil our wishes? Are we the wicked witch, making life miserable for others, seeking to make others look bad for our own benefit?  Or maybe the superhero who comes in with the slick costume and almighty powers just in the nick of time, saving the day?

I want to be that person who remembers the little brown bird.  That quiet one in the back row, the gentle spirit, the one who walks while others are running.  The one who doesn’t loudly announce their presence, but whose smile lights up your part of the room.

The one who is always there,  perhaps even hidden, but open to the world around them, watching like the little brown bird.

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ode to my trailer

​I miss camping and…

the scent of an open campfire 

the coolness of an ocean breeze

the closeness of family

late nights and sleeping in

freshly baked donuts just around the corner and reading novels into the wee hours of the night

listening to the waves as they crash upon the shore

open windows and shaded decks

walks after dark

fireworks lighting the evening sky

searching endlessly for beach treasures

melted marshmallows sandwiched between chocolate cookies

starlit nights and full moons over the water

the crispness of the morning and the heat of the afternoon sun

I miss the laziness of summer.

But for now, I’m going to relax here on my porcelain throne in the blessedness of my home for a few more minutes and relish in the fact that no matter how hard I try, it is impossible to wash my hands at the same time.

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25 Things I Learned this Summer 

Well, I guess summer is officially over according to the calendar. I admit I do like the routine of fall, the coolness of the shortened days, and of course, the colours. But in all seriousness, what can compare to the ease of summer? So in order to prove that I was still learning outside the confines of a classroom, I thought I would share with you what I did learn this summer. Um, things I would probably never learn in a classroom.

So here, we go. 25 things I learned this summer:

1)Museums are cool. So are national parks.

2)You can bike on a path and feel like you are going downhill both ways. I previously thought that was only possible when your parents walked to school uphill both ways in the winter.

3)One can eat too much McDonald’s. And the drive-thru staff can hear everything you’re yelling at your kids before they say, “Can I take your order, ma’am?”

4)I may actually really like VBS songs. Really.

5)I can scratch bug bites with the same addictive tendencies as that of the average 6 year old.

6)My father looks pretty good as a pirate.

Pirate

7)I am incredibly attractive….to deer flies. I’ve been calling them dog flies for years. When my daughter was a preschooler, and I asked her how she got a particular bruise, she used to tell me that a deer bit her. Now I’m thinking she must have known the correct name for these little blood sucking demons all along and just forgot to say the word fly.

8)I still do not know the real name for cupboard bugs. You know the ones…little, black, cream coloured stripes on back, found in cupboards.

9)Political ads increase my blood pressure. Deleting people who share political ads on Facebook lowers my blood pressure.  I suppose I should keep my husband on there though.

10)Occasionally a hamburger from a box tastes really good.  Really, really good.

11)Tomato soup is not always creamy. Seriously.

12)You can only hide from your boss for so long on Facebook. Eventually she will find you.  And maybe even read this.

13)Apparently people really do go to Vegas in the summer. Who knew?  I only got away as far as Halifax though.

14)I can make a pretty awesome plate of spaghetti. I still cannot eat an entire plate of spaghetti. Regardless of awesomeness.

15)I will starve before I learn to use chopsticks for their intended purpose. Of course, if I ate my McDonald’s meal with chopsticks, this could solve a lot of my problems.

16)I can let my Chatelaine subscription slide and not die. And all of the good Canadians gasped.

17)I can love my husband despite our different musical tastes. Well, I suppose I knew this before this summer, but did you know there are country songs about making bannock?

18)I can go into Butterfly World (think giant man made bubble filled with orange slices and butterflies) and not require medical assistance. Or medicinal assistance for that matters.

Butterfly World

19)There is a certain amount of satisfaction from filling up water balloons for my children and any other random child who happens to appear and allowing them to attack teenagers who thought they would have the upper hand when they saw my kids coming along.

20)A&W onion rings are from God. Olives are from satan. Ok, I knew that before this summer too.

21)Everyone should go into Cabela’s at least once in their lifetime. And Cabella’s is not the feminine form of Cabela’s, it’s just spelled wrong.

22)Collecting sea glass can an addictive sport.

IMG_0716

23)Tooth fairies take summer vacations too. And are sometimes charged interest in the meantime.

24)I still like summer camp…going there and sending my kids there.

25)Hell and humidity both begin with the letter H. Just saying.

There we have it, folks. Another list of amazing facts from a fun filled summer. Now that I’m settling back into the classroom though, I am looking forward to an amazing fall where I will learn some of the more important lessons in life from a great group of five year olds.

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As you step off the bus at school this week…

Changes Taking Place

My child,

May you seek guidance from those with true wisdom.

May you laugh where there is humour, not harm.

May you listen when someone needs your shoulder.

May you be a light to those who struggle.

May you find a peace within that radiates through you.

May you remember the difference between right and wrong.

May you fight temptations and win each battle.

May you be a blessing to those who surround you.

May you be a friend to the friendless.

May you be quiet when silence is required, but a voice when you need to be heard.

May you respond with love and a gentle strength.

May you learn of all of the beautiful things this wonderful life has to offer, but keep a childlike innocence within your heart.

May you be open to correction.

May you treasure true friendships.

May you realize that though you have the world to explore, it does not revolve around you.

May you be thankful and respectful.

May you enjoy simple moments.

May you continue to seek God.

May you know that we are always here for you as you journey through this life.

This is my prayer for you throughout the coming days. Be blessed and be a blessing. I love you.

Now rest, for tomorrow you will do great things.

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Tax Time

In honour of another tax season coming to an end, I thought I would share with you a little tale of my taxation woes.  Now before you become all concerned that I’ve been avoiding taxes for the last several years, let me tell you, no, that is definitely not the case.  Revenue Canada knows about every penny (or should I say, nickel) that we have ever earned.  In fact, most years they like to ask about it at least twice.  I swear we’ve been audited more times than our federal senators.
Several years ago, way back in the day, my husband used to complete our taxes for us by paper and pen.  The first step in the process was to go to the local post office and acquire at least 7 or 8 income tax packets.  Yes, two are really what’s necessary, but (lots of) mistakes happen. So on this one particular day, after being married for a couple years and receiving the same general return from the government each year, I figured we would be in the same boat yet again (and no, I don’t mean up the creek without a paddle).  The following is the exciting and thrilling play-by-play of my husband and I doing our taxes 90s style (more my husband, but I play a nice supporting role here, just staying out of his hair).
Husband goes upstairs to complete taxes.  I work downstairs on stuff (ok, maybe I was just watching tv, my memory is a bit foggy on that detail.  It was before we had children, so I really might have just been watching tv, it’s completely plausible).

Husband comes downstairs: “We owe $2000 to the government.”

Me: “There is no way that is true.  Go back upstairs.”

Husband retreats.  A little while later, comes back down the stairs:  “We now owe the government $500.”

Me (keeping in mind that my financial goal in life was to make over the Basic Personal Amount in one fiscal year, which the government kept raising, much to my chagrin): “Go back upstairs.”

Husband again retreats to his paper and pen, and by this point, nearby garbage can.  He comes back down the stairs for the third time.  He almost appears ready to give up: “The government now owes us nothing, we owe them nothing, we are even.”

Me (still working on something very important probably): “Go back upstairs and don’t come back down here until the government owes us something.”

(A little while later.  Insert theme music to Jeopardy here). Husband returns for the final time: “The government now owes us $2000.”

Me:  “Good, you’re done.”
Fortunately the government agreed with our final copy that was signed and mailed to them, and we received our precious return.  Now in the years since, my husband (fortunately for the sake of trees everywhere and global warming) has discovered the concept of e-file and it appears to be a less cumbersome process.
Now, looking back on it though, why would I ever question the number of audits we have received?  Things that make you go hmmm.

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Oh, Mickey, You’re So Fine…

PhotoPass_Visiting_Magic_Kingdom_Park_

Last week, our family went to Disney World for the first time together.  I had never been there as an adult, but went twice as a child, back in the days when there were only one or two parks.

I figured this was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip (or my last once-in-a-lifetime trip to Florida) so we decided to stay on resort.  Because of this, going back and forth from the resort to the parks, involved countless bus trips.  This time gave my husband plenty of time to chat up the other tourists (he may or may not have swapped venison recipes on one trip), and me, time to reflect on our adventures.

So, without further ado, here are my top ten not-so-secret things you may or may not know about Disney World 2015.  I suspect none of these reflections will be found in any of their brochures.  Ok, I strongly suspect.  Without a shadow of a doubt.

1) You can still land a rocket on Mars safely in the Mission Space ride in Epcot with your eyes closed.  Tightly.  Without breathing.  And without your sister who bailed on you when she saw the barf bags.

2) They say it’s the happiest place on earth.  Clearly those people NEVER took children to the park for the ENTIRE day in 30 degree Celsius (or 174 degree Fahrenheit) weather.  It must have been one of those honeymooners who wore Mickey and Minnie bride and groom ears who coined that phrase.  You know the ones.  They have the coordinating Mickey and Minnie shirts too.

3) Based on my extensive research, aided by a child who MUST visit every public washroom on earth, Disney must have more working tampon dispensers than the rest of every public washroom in all of North America combined.  Either that, or no one has permanently etched a pertinent message regarding its working condition on any of them yet.

4) Talk about one stop shopping.  At the Margarita kiosk in Epcot, you can buy a margarita (thus the kiosk name) AND a bag of Doritoes.  Because, well, why not?  I know when I’m enjoying a bag of Doritoes, my first thought is always, “Man, I sure could use a margarita to wash this down with!”

5) And while, we are talking about alcohol…back to that guy who coined the phrase “happiest place on earth.”  He may have been one of the dads walking around the park, holding his beer carefully, while his wife pushed their loving bundle of joy in the rented Disney stroller in the 30 degree Celsius (or 174 degrees Fahrenheit) hot sun.

6) If you are planning on riding on one of the Disney buses to and from the resorts, keep in mind that you may need to stand up on the bus and hold on (for dear life) to the Holy Crap Handles (depending on your audience, this device may have a slightly different name).  Shave and deodorize your armpits accordingly.  Enough said.  Oh, and hold on tight, because it can become awkward really fast if you fall in between one of those lovely honeymooning couples.

7) Those big refillable Mickey cups (not to be confused with the little Mickey cups…wink, wink) should come with a warning label about developing a possible addiction to Cherry Coke after the 964th refill.

8) Eventually you just want to flush a toilet on your own.  In your own time.  When you are good and freakin’ ready.  Although you must admit, the automatic water sink feature would be a good idea in your own home.  The towel dispenser could become a little too expensive though.

9) It’s the only place on earth where you want a Mouse, or should I say, Mousekeeper (Disney word for Housekeeper) in your room.  The last time I had a mouse in my own house, I left it a tip, but it said “Snap!”  And the mouse said, “Oh, crap!”

And finally, because all good lists should have 10 points…

10) And while you are sticking around the resort, take part in the festivities that surround you there.  For instance, everyone in their lifetime should rent a four seater bicycle.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  But you’ll probably die laughing anyways.  Oh, and it’s probably not a good idea to go with the margaritas and Doritoes right before that.  Armpit hygiene optional.

But when all is said and done, even though going to Disney may be more of a trip than a vacation, there is nothing better than seeing the happiness on the face of a child (and sometimes really, really tall ones too) when they finally get to meet Mickey and experience the magic of it all.

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21 Signs You are Done with Snow

Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 135 A

When we were kids, we used to hear the stories of how our parents had to walk to school uphill both ways.  Of course, the winter version of that story included the necessary description of the height of the snow banks and how they reached the power lines.

I believe we are in the midst of one of those winters right now, although I’m fairly certain my kids’ bus only goes uphill on the way home.

So as my husband goes out to snow blow our yard after the 92nd blizzard of the year, I will stay in my cozy, warm living room, and share with you my list of why I feel (know) we now have too much snow for any earthly good.

Here are some signs you may be done with snow…

*Not one single person complains on social media that schools should be open on a snow day.

*You laugh in the face of a mere 20cm of the white stuff.  And then weep uncontrollably because it is then that you realize it will be added onto the 7328cm you already have in your front yard.

*You see a snowman at your local Weight Watchers meeting, trying to lose those extra pounds before spring.

*You believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that extra 20lb weight gain this winter, is the sole responsibility of storm chips.

Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 136

*You almost kiss the face of a hydro lineman in a gas station parking lot when you see him preparing for the next blizzard.

*Your husband is not jealous that you almost kissed the lineman.

*You could probably cancel your gym membership due to the shovel workout.

*You could probably cancel your pool membership too because when this stuff melts, you’ll have a pool.

*Upon your suggestion, your husband strongly considers wearing swim goggles outside to snow blow the driveway so he can see in the midst of the blizzard.  Then realizes, he’ll save the goggles for the pool.

*It would not surprise you if the local ski hill stays open until the long weekend in May.  Or July.

*Curtains and blinds are no longer necessary.  Ah, well, um, let’s not test that one.

*Locking your door is hardly necessary either because if an intruder can make it in, you would gladly give them your money, and maybe even a thank you card.

*School is canceled the night before.  Wearing pajamas inside out is not necessary.

*The kids know when you run water into the bathtub, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bath night.

*You will no longer refer to the winter of ’92 as the big storm to remember.

*Students can’t remember what a 5 day school week entails.

*Your kids can no longer simply build a snowman by rolling 3 snowballs.  They have to carve the poor creature out of its surroundings.

*You consider unfriending friends and family who post pictures on Facebook of them sunbathing in much warmer climates.

Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 163 A

*You consider allowing your kids to play with matches outdoors in the hopes that the snow will melt if the burning match touches the ground.

*Move over Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton….snow plow operators just took your place in the list of the most admired people in our part of the world.

And finally…

*Even your kids give up singing the Frozen soundtrack.

So obviously, the groundhog did see his shadow on February 3rd.  And your shadow.  And my shadow.  And possibly an entire village of stinkin’ groundhog shadows.  But here’s to BBQ season, which may officially begin in August, at the rate we are going this year.  I’m serving up groundhog burgers!  Join me if you can!

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Being Thankful during Christmas Break

My kids have been sick with a couple common different ailments for a good portion of our Christmas break. The action all really started on Christmas Eve and hasn’t stopped yet, although I think we are in the home stretch, so to speak. I could be negative about the whole ordeal, but I am going to choose to focus on the positives…or at least try.

1) No hospital visits have been necessary. If I want to pick up any more germs, I’ll just lick my own tv remote, thank you very much. I didn’t even feel it was necessary to get everyone in a fluster and ask what doctor was on call on our local newschaser Facebook site.
2) We didn’t have any Caribbean cruises scheduled, so no big plans to cancel. And no sunburns. Or suntans that would be covered up once I got home because it’s a flipping -97 degrees outside.
3) My kids’ aim is getting better. Three cheers for no extra laundry. And no carpeting. Yah for vinyl flooring!
4) Netflix has a good selection of Christmas movies. They have now watched both the new and old versions of Miracle on 34th Street. And Santa Paws. And an American Girl movie, and…
5) No gas money has been wasted travelling around. Or money spent on eating out. Or Boxing Day sales.
6) Only one of my knuckles is bleeding from cleaning with Lysol wipes and the extra hand washing. And I didn’t discover the bleeding knuckle while transferring a white load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, which is my normal practice.
7) I’ve been able to narrow down the mean time in which my kids are likely to vomit. Their prime hours are 2-5 am. Which is great, really, because when you stick them in the tub at that time of day, there’s guaranteed plenty of hot water coming from the hot water heater.
8) My kids now know what a BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet is, and what their mom will allow them to cheat with. They also know that I’m not referring to their sparkling personalities when referring to this particular diet.
9) We still have three boxes of chocolates in the house, as well as 12 blocks of cream cheese and 8 boxes of crackers. I see me inviting a lot of company over in January.
10) I’ve discovered that I can light up my main hallway like an airplane runway so no one has any excuse as to why they can’t locate the facilities in their time of need. It also makes it painfully obvious that we are home and no one will be tempted to break in and steal any of our germ laden possessions.
11) My kids have been sleeping in until 9am every morning, allowing me to stay up until 2am, when they are most likely to be sick.
12) My oldest has discovered that her mother is sometimes right, and having Vicks on her feet at night will not kill her.
13) My seven year old now knows how to take her own temperature so that when she doesn’t believe her mother’s hand to the forehead method, she can take matters into her own hands.
14) New skills have been mastered. I can now tie my girls’ hair up into ponytails at a moment’s notice from very awkward positions (mothers of kids with long hair know exactly what I’m talking about), and I’ve managed to complete every level of my Mahjong app while waiting for stomachs to settle.
And finally…
15) I didn’t have to take any time off of work to look after my kids in their time of ickiness. Having the time already scheduled off, I may need a vacation from my vacation at the rate we are going though.

It’s back to work/school this week for me and the kids, so here’s hoping and praying, we are done with this mess.

Oh snap! Aaaaaachoo! God bless me!

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