Did I say that out loud?

Thoughts and musings of a mom

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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New Year’s Resolutions Version 2015

Winter 2013 019 copy A

Yeah, um, so New Year’s Eve is tonight and therefore that means I only have a few hours to fulfill last year’s resolutions. Some took, and some will most likely appear on this year’s list. I flossed my teeth more often, I didn’t have a root canal, I cleaned off my dresser a few times, I got my passport, and I now have slightly more blog followers than I did this time one year ago. Thanks to my husband, my shower is looking pretty good (I wouldn’t lick the floor of it by any means), and my basement is beginning to come together. And of course, there are the ones that will remain on my new list, like the veggies and the Bible reading.

So without further ado, or something like that, here is my new list for 2015:

1) Convince my family that they need to unravel their dirty clothes before flinging them towards the other ravelled dirty clothes that have accumulated since I last unravelled dirty clothes and threw them into the washer. An intense training session may be required for this.

2) Post on my blog and my blog Facebook page more frequently. Not so much that my regular 5 readers are desensitized and never read any of it again. Of course, this may have to occur after my latest Netflix-a-thon comes to a bitter end.

3) Clean out my entire basement. Once upon a time, I had dreams of selling the contents of my basement, and getting my girls braces with the extra cash. I am not quite to the point where I just light a match and hope that insurance (dental or otherwise) takes care of all of my issues. There is hope as long as Costco still sells mammoth shelving units.

4) Print more pictures of my family and actually place those pictures on the wall. Or make really cute little ones and put them in my wallet. Oh, I need a new wallet.

5) Be more social. I’ve become quite the hermit in my later years. I know, hard to believe, (insert sarcasm here) being the socialite that I was in my younger days. Maybe I should invite people over more, like every Friday night and we could eat cheese ball and fancy crackers, and we could do each other’s nails, and tell ghost stories. And if they insist, they could help me clean out my basement and hang pictures on the wall.

6) Figure out how to actually use my cell phone. Which I suspect means not letting my 7 year old take selfies during church or while driving in a vehicle anymore (she’s used up all of the memory…is that a tech term these days?). I’m still saying no to a data plan, so there really can’t be that much to learn, right.

7) Take my husband to Newfoundland. Without the kids. And see an iceberg. And kiss a cod. Ok, maybe I’ll just plan a trip to NFLD while my kids aren’t in the same room as me.

8) Read more.  My Bible, and the 3964 e-books I’ve downloaded.  I know, I have a problem.  Exaggerating is only one of them.

9) Eat out less often. Buy/hunt more meat, cook it and serve it to my family. But not with cheese ball and crackers. Vegetables, lots of vegetables. I may not be ready to embrace clean eating, but perhaps I should try for eating-cleaner-than-my-shower-floor-clean.

Ok, I can do this. I’m going to rock 2015.

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My train of thought….

The following is the internal dialogue that took place in my head while taking my shower this morning. This is how my brain works. Welcome to my world. Enjoy. I’m sorry if you thought I was solving all of the world’s problems every morning while shampooing these lovely locks of mine.
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I just got two page likes on my FB blog page this week. That’s really cool, I should try to get some more likes on my FB page, and increase my readership. How do people do that? I should have a contest. But what in the name of time, would I give away? I don’t make anything, so I can’t give some cute little Pinterest craft away. I haven’t written a book, so an autographed book of mine won’t do the trick.

Thank goodness, I remembered to buy more shampoo yesterday. It came with those facial wipes, which are a little too much like diaper wipes, as far as I am concerned.

When my kids ask what they are going to “get” from me for doing something, I tell them that they get to live in our house rent-free. That won’t work, I can’t allow someone to come live with us if they win a contest on my FB page.

Of course, if someone did come and live with us, they could clean up the house for me and help me de-clutter it. Because right now, the best option I have is to light a match and walk away. I shouldn’t say that. Those things happen to people.

Having someone to come live with me might not be a bad idea. A lot more legal, I suppose. And they could cook too. Now that Scott is working day shifts, this whole cooking supper for everyone is going to get old really fast. I need a housekeeper.

This shower would be a heck of a lot cleaner if I had a housekeeper.

I don’t have the room to have another person live with us. But then, of course, I could make the girls sleep in the same room and they could get the bunk beds that the youngest one has always wanted.

Maybe people would just share my blog out of the goodness of their hearts, and they wouldn’t really need to win a contest and share my blog page all over the place. That could work. I could try that.

It’s Sunday morning. I should shave my legs. I need to replace this razor before I need a tetanus shot.

Oh, maybe I should just give Twitter a better go of it. But Twitter is like watching the popular kids out on the playground and hoping, just hoping that if you tell them you like their nice, new jacket, that they will become your friend. If I just hit that star button, they will want to see who I am and check me out and see my blog. And know that I am the next best thing since sliced bread. Unless of course, you’re going gluten free.

You know if Kristen Howerton (blogger extraordinaire) liked my blog, I might be popular. Maybe if I just tag her in a post, she will see it and that will work. Or maybe, Jen Hatmaker or Lisa-Jo Baker (writers and bloggers). You probably can’t do that. They probably have people Iike me blocked from doing that sort of thing.

I need one of those voice recorders for the showers. I would be more organized and could actually get things done with one of those things. I don’t think they have such a thing for the shower. Someone should invent one of those things.

I need a secretary. Someone told me the other day I need one. My memory is getting worse. I think I have early onset Alzheimer’s. It was that book that made me think that. What was the name of that book again? I can’t remember. Oh yeah, Still Alice. I wonder how many people self-diagnosed themselves after reading that book.

Oh, this is nice, hot water. We need to get this shower head replaced soon. I think I’ll stay here a little while longer because it’s so nice and quiet in here. No one will ever notice I’m gone.

I need one of those voice recorders. I really need one for school. But Apple would be the one who would most likely make it, and we don’t use Apple products too much at school. Maybe my iPad can do that already. I need to figure that one out.

I wonder if anyone else replied to my Facebook status about cooking a turkey. I need to clean the rest of the house before our company comes over.

Yah me! I might actually get on four articles of clothing before someone bursts through the door, yelling for Sunday morning fashion advice. Wait…are two socks considered two articles of clothing or only one? Make that five articles (or four). I need my housecoat on. Don’t need the neighbours talking.

Wow! It’s steamy in here. That was a long shower…
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This blog post has been brought to you by my sponsors today, Sunday morning Netflix and whole wheat toast with real butter. Praise The Lord, the kids can watch tv again, after the oldest one lost all electronics but a light switch last weekend.

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Not letting go

This weekend I took my daughter to her first overnight camp with her local Girl Guides. All week I had been cautious of her going, as she was a newcomer to the group, and it was now becoming chilly to be sleeping in a tent all night. But my husband, the former Boy Scout, also felt it was a great opportunity and it was now two against one, mom waving the white flag of defeat.

So there I was, on a chilly damp Saturday afternoon, driving her through the drizzle and the back roads of our beautiful province, trying to read road directions downloaded in an email from her leader. Not incredibly concerned that we may be lost, I continued to drive, subconsciously knowing that I would be delaying her arrival if we didn’t find the camp on time.

When we finally arrived, we took her supplies out of the van, her and I each taking an armload up the muddy path through the woods to the field where the other girls had already planted their belongings for the night. With only a few other parents in the near vicinity, I felt I should make my departure before my over-protectiveness became too painfully obvious.

We said our goodbyes, replayed our little farewell ritual a couple times, and I turned to leave. As I stood on the other end of the small open field, I watched her try to find her place amongst the others, milling around their camping gear. And there she was, lost amidst many.

She caught my eye, noticing me watching her. She swiftly came towards me, hugging me again, embracing the familiar. I told her she could walk me down the path to the van if she wanted. I almost held her hand, but I knew I had to let her go.

And once more, we said our goodbyes, knowing this was our real final parting for the day. I would have to wait 20 hours before I saw her shining face again. Not even a full day, but in some way, it felt longer. So after I lingered over to the van, I watched her again tread up the hill, meandering along the path.

I let a tear fall, once alone by myself. More followed as I drove down the dirt road in the opposite direction, taking me farther and farther away from the child who made me a mom. Comforted by the thought that this was a necessary, albeit bittersweet part of growing up, maturing, making friends, and somehow, knowing deep down she would find the joy in this experience.

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Why I’m not wearing new fancy shoes to school today

The good Lord above blesses us with intuition. Sometimes we listen to it, and sometimes we don’t. Unfortunately, this is a story about how I didn’t.

This weekend my daughter asked me if I wanted to go for a bike ride with her. Not incredibly in the mood for a whimsical trip around the neighbourhood, and knowing we had company coming over, I stated that I did not. I did relent though when she asked me immediately afterwards if I would go play with her and her new skipping toy that she had just purchased at Walmart that afternoon.

As I sat on my front steps and watched my daughter try out her skipper/skipping toy/ankle chewer, I thought to myself, I could do that. It had been a few years, but I knew I still had it in me. Just put the circle con-TRAP-tion thing around my ankle, swing it around in some kind of centrifugal force type manner and hope for goodness sake, I can jump over the attached rope and ball. You get the picture.

I should have known when I couldn’t get the loop on my ankle without taking off my shoe first that it was a mistake. But did I stop myself? A big resounding no.

I also should have stopped when a nearly audible voice told me that I could break my ankle with this device. But did I listen? Heck, no!

Well, my daughter and I took a couple turns each. I was trying to be fair, but I was getting pretty good at this. We had even brought the toy out onto the street because it was more difficult to do in the grass, our driveway had just been sealed and the street was very quiet at the time.

So, on my final (and I mean final) attempt with this destructor, I was doing really well, and even promised my daughter that I would give it right back afterwards. Visions of kicking it old school were running through my head, pre-electronics, kids playing out on the street, an impromptu street hockey game between the dads and the kids. A real Norman Rockwell painting. I think I even heard a choir singing in the background.

And then gravity and all of the other creative forces of nature screeched in, interrupting my little poorly-timed daydream.

I looked down and saw my left foot step and roll over on the darn ball, plummeting me to the pavement, in an embarrassing fall. I wasn’t completely flat out, but decided that for dramatic effect (and maybe even for safety’s sake), I had better lie down the rest of the way. I didn’t hear a snap or crunch, but there I was lying on the street, so I figured I had better get my daughter to go retrieve my husband, the paramedic, from the house to assist me.

My daughter didn’t race to go get him as quickly as I thought her little body could carry her, so she had to be told a couple of times to go get him. A deep, hoarse whisper rose from the depths of my soul and she finally got the memo. Note to self, practice kid’s response time when mom is giving orders while lying in the middle of the street.

But I must say, my husband’s response time was much quicker. He immediately came out of the house and came to my side, bending down and trying to help me up off of the street. He told me later that because I wasn’t screaming in agony, he actually took me a bit more seriously. Make another note to self, remember that in the future, but use it for good and not evil. And for the rest of you reading this, if my husband is your paramedic, he’s going to take you more seriously if you’re not screaming bloody murder after your arm has been cut off.

While attempting to walk up my driveway though, I realized that I was going to faint. I’m a fainter. I admit it. I lost all pride decades ago in this department. I faint at the sight of needles, I faint at the talk of needles, I faint while getting a needle, I faint while someone else is getting a needle. I even almost faint just thinking about a needle. In fact, this paragraph is making me woozy. But apparently now I faint while trying to hobble with a sore ankle in my driveway, as my husband gives me direct paramedic orders to keep on going.

I made it though, all the way to my front steps, with a little tough love from my husband. Ok, I also admit, I’m a really bad patient. Although there was that time I had my wisdom teeth pulled, and I think I was pretty funny that day. And then of course, there was that other time when I was in the midst of giving birth to my second child, when the intern told me that HE knew what I was going through. He learned a new lesson that day, so yeah, I’m not always a bad patient. But pretty close.

Back to the story, and under my husband’s orders, I regained my composure out on the front steps. With his assistance I made it to the recliner in our living room and positioned myself there for the majority of the evening. I made a quick Facebook status about my embarrassing fall and found out that most of my neighbours were away at that time, and that there was no video footage of it floating around cyberspace.

The next day my foot continued to swell and some bruising appeared. I continued to elevate, ice and rest for most of the day. I even learned how to use crutches. I would have posted a picture of my foot, but to be quite frank, I wouldn’t have made a foot model prior to this occurrence, so I saw no need of putting you through that. And by the time I had proper lighting for a quick shot, it would be another day of not shaving my legs, so ah, yeah, not going to happen.

This brings me to today, our final day of summer vacation, and I’m left sitting in my recliner, continuing to ice and elevate my foot. I’m happy (ok, maybe not happy, more like, pleased) to report that I can put on a pair of shoes (they really won’t fit in our dress code for work tomorrow), and I actually walked across the lawn without any crutches. Tonight I will practice internal wincing just in case a 5 year old accidentally steps on my feet tomorrow in eager anticipation of their first day of kindergarten.

So here is what I have learned from this particular episode of The Life and Times of Christy Terris Hoyt…
1) I’m not 12 anymore. Nor am I 22. Who am I kidding? I’m not even 32.
2) When the good Lord above tells me that I might break my ankle while playing with a skipping toy/ankle chewer, I will listen and actually heed the warning next time.
3) Oh, and when my husband brings home crutches from his parents’ place three weeks prior to the above-mentioned incident, I won’t question him and tell him that we can easily pick up a pair from the Red Cross. Thankfully, he listened to his intuition.

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A little human

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My youngest daughter’s favourite song lately has been Only Human by Christina Perri. She loves to belt it out from the second row in our van whenever Mommy is in charge of the music. There is a line in the song that goes like this…

I’m only human
Just a little human.

I have chuckled at this line before because in my mind, I always thought, “What was the other part? Just a little human, but a lot werewolf?”

But then one day, instead of joining my daughter for an incredibly loud duet, not necessarily enjoyed by all within the near vicinity, I really listened to her. She really is just a little human. A child.

I had always thought the song was about a relationship between a couple, where obviously this woman was not appreciated for who she was, someone who took on the weight of the world in order to keep the peace and maintain the relationship.

But then I realized that the lyrics could easily pertain to the relationship between a parent and a child. One where the parent did not see the pressures placed on their child.

This past week, my family got away for a night away, staying at a hotel. The following morning at the all inclusive breakfast, I saw a child who had a shirt on that somewhat disturbed me. On the front of the shirt was written something to the effect of “You don’t practice to play back up.”

I admit it. I normally root for the underdog. That team, competitor, player whom others just don’t think has what it takes to win first prize. That guy sitting on the bench, ready to play, ready to recite his lines. The back-up.

But there needs to be a back-up. Not everyone can or will win first prize. Not everyone is going to be on the starting lineup, get 100% on every test, meet our every expectation, aspiration and dream.

And you know what? There is nothing wrong with allowing our children to play for fun, learn at a different pace, relax and enjoy their childhood. Maybe even fail at something, experience disappointment.

Now before you automatically slap a slacker parent label on me, realize this. Yes, we do practice to become better. That is how life works. Without hard work and determination, going to the starting block is pointless. And yes, there are children who thrive on being involved in every activity going, pursuing academic endeavours that go beyond the clutches of their classmates, never taking time off. But not every child is like that though.

Do we need our children to be number one all of the time, make every team, win every contest, play every sport, be in every organization, play, band, and so on and so on? No, WE don’t need it, and neither do our children. Expose your children to different activities and hobbies, but know their limits and yours.

With this new school year just around the corner, as a mother and teacher, I want my children and students to be on that starting block, working hard and learning new things. But if it takes a little longer for them to complete the race, that’s ok. They don’t need that added pressure. I want them to know that I am there for them. And if they need a time out or a break from it all, that’s ok too.

Because after all, they’re just a little human.

 

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That time I went to Walmart…

It is not a big secret that I love shopping at Walmart. I know it may not be something that some would admit, but I really do. My fashion sense does not dictate that I shop elsewhere for a large portion of what I wear each day. So it is fitting perhaps that I began to go into labour for my youngest child while shopping there one day. I had read the novel about the young girl giving birth and living there with her baby, so I got out of there pretty quick on that particular day. Good idea in concept, but their pharmacy does not carry what I needed in those moments (or hours, I should say).

So one day, two weeks ago, on a fairly routine visit to our local Walmart, I must have fallen down in the parking lot, hit my head on the pavement, and acquired amnesia in true soap opera style. I say this because shortly afterwards, I walked into the store and agreed to buy my youngest child a big box of the giant (some would say jumbo) clear plastic tubes filled with coloured sugar-entrenched juice that would be immediately placed in my freezer once I arrived back home. These particular specimens have the nutritional value of cement basically.

Now I’m not saying that those who have bought this awe-filled delightful treat, which inspire many heartfelt childhood summer memories, must have received a blow to their heads beforehand. What I am saying is that my daughter really does not need more sugar in her little growing body, and at times (ok, every day between 4-8pm), cannot handle the consequences of consuming this sweetened delicacy (a little pooh-pooh on those who believe that food does not affect behaviour).

Somehow in the midst of my apparent fall, and subsequent bump and amnesia (that by the way, did not require medical attention), I was able to reach far into the depths of my remaining properly working (some would argue this) faculties, and tell my daughter that this treat came with a certain amount of responsibilities.

As if in a contest for Miss Universe, I gave her the rules and regulations and what should occur if for some reason she could not fulfil the duties of being a responsible treat owner and consumer. Basically, behave or lose the sugar.

I thought the first couple days went well, time progressed, and my faculties returned to their pre-soap opera style amnesia functioning. Perhaps a large part of this may be in part due to the fact that the treats weren’t frozen yet.

But I am now to the point in the box consumption where I am looking for ways to get rid of the remaining treats. I have come up with a number of ideas, some of which may actually work…
~ Hand them out to the other children in the neighbourhood. Trouble is I would like the parents to like me.
~ Distribute them to the road crews fixing our roads and highways on these very hot summer days. This one may work. Hopefully I have enough though. I may need to buy a new box to make it fair for everyone. And then there could be leftovers. Ugh.
~ Distribute them to the sanitation workers in our community, as their job can’t be any easier in this summer heat. Our next collection day is not until Monday, and this is only Wednesday.
~ Bury them in the backyard, throw them out, or leave them at the end of the driveway so someone will pick them up. The problem here is that my daughter will still find and retrieve them.
~ Take them out of the freezer, therefore thawing the little wonders. Good plan until my daughter sticks them back into the freezer and we just prolong the agony.
~ Distribute them to roofers, who like the above mentioned men and women, would probably appreciate a cool and refreshing treat. There’s a house being built just down the street from here. Problem solved. Timing could be an issue though. They are just finishing the basement.
~ I could eat them. Take one for the team. No, not going to work. Not easy to sneak, not a big fan and she will notice my discoloured mouth.

Well, I suppose I should just suck it up (quite literally in this case), finish off the rest of the box and let this be a lesson learned for myself.

And in the meantime, I think I’ll go google ways to make carrot sticks more attractive (insert enthusiastic Yum Yum!).

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My Tenacious Starfish

I took my girls swimming yesterday at our local pool. Because I was not planning on swimming with them, I had to sit in the upper deck to keep a watchful eye on them from there. I had brought a book with me, with the intentions of completing it before the library staff came to my door, demanding it back. In between paragraphs, I turned my eyes back down towards the pool to observe the action below me.

As a mother, I could probably give you an extensive list of the differences between my two children. Knowing full well that neither one of them was switched at birth, it is amazing to experience the differences between them as they grow and mature. The pool is where the playing field is levelled, for my youngest, the daredevil of dry land, would rather “play” in the smaller, shallow pool. Although perhaps, it’s just showing her real age there. While my oldest, who is normally more reserved, keeps to herself, ventures out on a limb, so to speak.

I watched as she, the quiet, almost ten year old, noticed the rope hanging there at the deep end. In sheer determination, she walked to the rope, but because it was strung too far from the edge of the pool, she needed some assistance to get the rope over to her so that she could hang from it and drop into the pool while she flew through the air. There were three or four boys there as well, clearly that many years older than her. They obliged and assisted her in reaching the rope that was just out of her reach. This went on for quite a while, probably a good twenty minutes or more.

She stayed there. She kept leaping from the rope, swimming quickly back over to the side of the pool, joining the boys in a quasi line up, and repeating the same ritual over and over again.

And I watched from the deck.

I was in amazement of this little girl of mine. I wished I could see my almost ten year old self doing the same thing, but I was fairly certain I wouldn’t have. I pictured myself as being intimidated by these boys, their whoops and hollers, their comradery. I didn’t see the self-confidence and tenacity that my daughter so clearly demonstrated.

After a while, more children joined them, and it became too crowded for my daughter, so she walked to the other end of the pool, and climbed up onto a big green piece of foam to float. There she laid out on it, on her back, face up, arms and legs like a starfish, happy as a clam. Peaceful. Restful. Perhaps more like I could picture myself.

As we left the pool afterwards, I didn’t mention anything to her about her adventures out on the rope. I don’t think she needs to know that boys, older children, or anybody for that matter, could be given the ability some day to intimidate her because she’s a girl, smaller or younger. May she always have that confidence, the head strong knowledge, to do what she wants to do. To jump in the water over one’s head, eyes wide open, breath held, arms reaching up, happiness enveloping her.

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The Mother Who Sent her Kid to Camp

This week my oldest child went to camp for the very first time. She is at a perfect age for camp, and I finally decided that I am ready for her to go. She probably was ready long before this, but I was not. Hence, this is her first experience with overnight camp.

Her father and I both had very positive experiences at camp as children. We felt it was essential at some point that both of our children should go and be given these same opportunities.

This week has been an experiment of sorts. How would I handle not having one of my children around for an entire five days, not in the care of family members? I knew I would miss her dreadfully, and it has been a learning experience for us all.

Here on the home front, I have determined that not one of my children is necessarily messier than the other. It is a wonderful and perfect storm of individuals that make this house the disaster that it is at times. I thought perhaps I might be able to figure out which child is more likely to need Molly Maid gift certificates for Christmas when one child is factored out of the equation.

With that in mind, I have observed that the child who has stayed home with me all week is the one who has issues keeping the toothpaste where it belongs (in the tube). While I have also discovered that the one who went to camp is the one who spits all over the sink with her toothpaste. I have not missed that part at all, by the way.

But the pinnacle part of Hurricane Hoyt is me. I cannot keep up with the two of them, but to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I can keep up with myself. I am my own worse enemy when it comes to cleaning and de-cluttering. The younger of the two children, the attention diverter, and the older one, the near hoarder, can overcome me any day.

But while I struggle to catch up on all of the household chores of the week, my mind wanders to my daughter who is hopefully enjoying the time of her life at camp (or her electronic detox, as I like to refer to it). I ponder the more important aspects of her week, not my week. A life experience for her that continues outside of our home, our safe haven, the invisible bubble that we have created for our children.

Will she fall in love with camp? Will she enjoy every last minute of it? Or will she simply tolerate it?

What if she gets hurt? Will someone come along and be a friend to her? Will she make new friends? Will she become better friends with the children there that she already knows?

Will the others appreciate her awesome sense of humour that I see developing day by day? Will they laugh with her? Or giggle behind her back?

Will they see how much she loves Jesus? Will she grow spiritually throughout the week? Will she learn new and important truths about her God?

Will someone notice if she is too quiet and withdrawn, keeping to herself? Will someone detect and intervene if she isn’t fitting in? Will she care?

Will someone acknowledge and hand her a tissue if a single tear falls down her cheek because all of these new experiences are just too overwhelming?

I cannot dwell on these things too long. Her younger sister has continued to pray for her safety all week. And I will follow her lead, taking time to quiet my distracting thoughts, and know that God is taking her on a great new adventure and in one more sleep, I will hear all about it.

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Shouting Out

The Frozen Birthday Cake...excuse my husband's arm and the lighter.

The Frozen Birthday Cake…excuse my husband’s arm and the lighter.

I’m a teacher. Some would say that two of a teacher’s busiest months are September and June, the beginning and the end. So in one September and then in one June (of a different year), I decided to add another event to my schedule, just to shake things up a bit. I gave birth.

Last weekend, just two days after the children finished their last day of school, and not before I was finished cleaning out my classroom, I hosted my daughter’s birthday party. Cue the squeals of nine excited children!

My house looked like it had been ransacked by villains looking for hidden jewels (we have none, hidden or otherwise). I knew it would look that way because history repeats itself whenever report cards are being written. Hosting a party at my house in the middle of this chaos was not in the question. Having downplayed our children’s birthday parties for years, I decided that perhaps it was time to take it up a notch.

I wasn’t about to rent a circus because to be quite frank, I am the circus master of my own little circus here at home every day. There would be no need for the media at this birthday party. I wasn’t going all out, but some people do, and it is those people I want to give a shout out to now.

My first shout out goes to our local civic centre. The community has worked for years to create a facility where young and old alike can go to swim and work out. Since it’s opening almost two years ago, my children have attended a number of birthday parties on site there. Children are able to swim to their hearts’ content and then go upstairs to a community room where the rest of the birthday party activities can take place. The room rental is very reasonably priced, costing me less than $50 for a group of 9 children and 6 adults for the entire venue. The staff are great there, the room is clean, and definitely large enough for a group of that size and much larger.

My second shout out goes to Tracy Stevens, cake maker extraordinaire. My daughter wanted a Frozen cake (are you surprised?). Tracy felt that with the potential number of little (and big) celebrators that it would be best to do a two tier cake. I didn’t object (again, are you surprised?). The cake was a-maz-ing! Let’s put it this way. Other cake makers in the area should be shaking in their aprons. The local supermarkets should be lowering their prices because they cannot compete. DQ, the home of the frozen deserts, should be sweating. I don’t know if her cake is a family recipe, but I can tell you one thing. If it is, she may need to watch who her children date/befriend/marry to make sure no one tries to infiltrate her kitchen and steal this recipe. She may need to call an alarm company or get a watchdog to guard this recipe. But Tracy had also better be aware of the repercussions and responsibilities of the creation of this cake…if word gets out to local politicians about her cake, they may try to create a bylaw where the over consumption of this cake could result in a stiff fine/jail time. It. Is. That. Good.

So if any of you are local, please stop by at your civic centre for a swim, and/or give Tracy a call and order a cake. Granted, I suppose if you eat a lot of the cake, you might need to swim more. So really, it’s win win for everyone!

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