Monday, 9 February 2015

Fallen off the face of the earth!!

It has been forever since I've blogged!! Boy oh boy time has flown!!

The year of 40 has been and gone.  We had some crazy busy times (sometimes I wonder if there are any other kinds!), some good times and sad times.  I visited parts of the world that I've only ever dreamed of and spent times with some very good friends!

Fast recap since the last blog (the good adventures will be expanded on soon!).  The last school year ended with a never ending stream of field trips (of course the farm for the 13th year!), school BBQ (didn't want to BBQ another hot dog for a long time!) and of course then what - SUMMER!!!

We headed off to Blue Lake for a few days the first week of summer (which is always an adventure with our crew!) before I headed off on my bucket list trip (4 days in between was plenty, wasn't it!). Grace and I headed off to England and Scotland for 2 weeks (so many adventures to share!).

After my return from abroad I took 2 days to recoup before heading out to Lilac for our annual trip! We always have a blast here!  The rest of the summer was a whirlwind!  We spent some time at Selkirk Park, kids went to camp, trip to Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum with a lady I support, the "unbirthday" trip to Grand Forks and a relaxing retreat with great friends just before school started!

The beginning of September brought the start of school as well as the birth of my grandson Jayce! What a bundle of joy he is! The kids love watching him grow!  The kids started their extra-curricular activities; Special Olympics, Brownies, dance, basketball and swimming and then of course Guiding started for me!  It was definitely a busy start to the school year!

At the end of October my grandmother became ill and was hospitalized.  It was a really hard time watching her suffer until her eventual passing (but still some good times in there too!) in November.

It seemed that Christmas was upon us before we knew what happened!  It was a quiet and relaxing one which was what we needed!

POOF!  Here we are in February!!  My goal is to be a little more timely with my posts so here's hoping it will work!

Thanks for bearing with me!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Summer of the Real Man

I can't believe that it is almost the end of April!!!  The snow is almost all gone, the kids have gotten to play outside and there is less than 2 months of school left!

This summer my friend Grace and I are taking a "bucket list" trip!  We are heading to London, the birth place of my grandma!  What started out as a Girl Guide trip grew into a trip with a friend that I am so thankful to Grace for agreeing to go with me! A big thank you to Sylvia and Annie who are taking the little ones for the 13 days we are gone, couldn't have done it without you!  Grace and I have had many adventures together through the years but I think this will be the biggest so far!  The countdown has been on since October when we booked our airfare!  We decided to throw in a side trip to Scotland.  We have booked our The Making of Harry Potter (which has precipitated the power re-reading of the books and first time watching the movies!  Damn ADHD makes it hard to sit still for a 3 hour movie!), Paris day trip, Bath/Stonehenge/Windsor Castle Tour, London Pass with Transit and the major accomplishment "Coronation Street Set Tour".  Only 75 more days to go!

Recently our 20 year old daughter had her wisdom teeth pulled.  It made for a long few days of eating jello and slurpees! While it was a few hard, long days it was an indicator of what was coming for our 6 year old who is terrified of the tooth fairy, dentist and anything that is related and who by chance is having dental surgery in 10 days!  We've come to the conclusion that we can't tell her about it until we are on the way there in hopes that I will be able to get her there!  I think that the copious amounts of slurpee may be the only saving grace to the entire experience!

Our 6 year old is a character as many of you know!  She is well known for her lack of "filter" if it pops into her head, it's out of her mouth before she can stop it!  She has the voice of a 70 year old smoker and everything she says is at 180 decibels!  A couple summers ago we were driving down the road and we came to a red light.  As we were stopped there a guy on a motorcycle pulled up beside us when out of the back of the van she pipes up with a sense of wonder, "Mom that's a REAL man, right?" I just about peed my pants!  I asked her what she meant and she explained that, "only REAL men drive motorcycles".  Well off we went when the light turned green thinking that would be the end of that.  Little did I know that every time she saw a motorcycle or scooter she would say, "Look mom a real man!".  It was all fun and games until one day she saw a woman driving a bright pink scooter and said, "That's not a man!  How come she gets to drive that?".  We explained that not only men could drive motorcycles but she didn't believe us!  All summer long, every where we went she would pop out that phrase until everyone in the family was saying it too!  Fast forward to a few weeks ago when we are on our way home from swimming lessons and out of her mouth pops, "Look mom, summers coming, there's a real man!"  This kid is going to be the death of me!  Never a dull moment when she's around!

The "REAL" Man

Hope you enjoyed this little story!  I'm hoping that things will settle down soon so that I can blog more often!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Wonder Woman does not exist in this house!

Wow!  It seems like forever since I have written a blog!  Time flies at the Funny Farm!  I can manage to say that we survived Spring Break (barely but we did!) and can't wait until the kids go back to school tomorrow :)

We have had a hectic few weeks around here!  I have had some phenomenal moments and some down right crazy ones that I will share!  Here goes!

A couple of years ago I had to make a tough decision based on what was right for my kids (even though it is a huge pain in the butt!).  I pulled my son from our neighborhood school to a school outside of our neighborhood in order for him to be in a more positive situation.  Smaller classes with multi-age classrooms so that his disability didn't stand out as much, more welcoming (both staff and students) and a generally more accepting place to be for so many hours of his day. This meant that for the next 10 years I will be driving kids to and from this school (trying to avoid having too many schools on the go!) which drastically cuts down my employment opportunities. This year he is in Grade 5 and is loving it! In February he competed in the Manitoba Special Olympics Winter Games and did fabulous!  He was so proud of his 2-1st place and 1-2nd place ribbon!  He was even more impressed when Andrew Ladd (Winnipeg Jets) presented the ribbons to him!  He couldn't stop talking about it!  A few weeks ago his teacher pulled me aside after school to share a story with me.  She went on to tell me that our son had brought his ribbons to school to share with his classmates.  He spoke confidently about his events and what he did to earn them.  She then shared with me about one boy who said; "Aren't the Special Olympics for retards (Gosh I hate that word!)?"  The teacher took this opportunity to explain how that word isn't a word that is used etc etc as well as what she knew about Special Olympics.  When another child in his class piped up and said that our son didn't belong there. She was so impressed with the fact that the other kids in the class don't see our son as being any different than the rest of them and that they now have a better understanding of disabilities.  She used this opportunity to educate the children as well as to discuss everyone's uniqueness.  Having known the background for us being at that school she felt it was important for me to hear that the kids don't see our son as being any different than them which is all we ever really wanted for him.  A total warm fuzzy moment that reinforced the decision I made.

Over the past few weeks we have been short staffed at the two agencies that I work casually at which has resulted in me working full-time hours (and then some!).  I have learned several things from the past few weeks; 1) Working full-time and managing a house of 8 is Mission Impossible, 2) Wonder Woman does not exist in this house!, 3) I live with a bunch of slobs who refuse to clean up after themselves, 4) I just get pissy and clean up myself which has resulted in a disgusting house because I have been working instead of cleaning, 5) House Elves really are myths and 6) After working a 20 hour day (not one of my brighter moments) that I am no longer 20!

My 6 year old also discovered one of my many talents that even I wasn't aware of!  In the process of cleaning the house one day (many moons ago!) I had tucked my phone into my bra with the radio streaming. When she came around the corner and asked "Where is that coming from?"  and by method of intruding in my "bubble" announced that it was coming from my chest by saying, "You've got magic boobs!" with her big blue eyes wide!  I had to turn away to avoid laughing in front of her.  Another great attribute to list on my resume!

I had the wonderful experience of seeing that one of the ladies I support has a better sex life than I do after being locked out of work one night!  She was kind enough to invite me into her apartment and when she announced that I was there all her boyfriend could say was, "Ummm I have no pants on!"  They have very lovely carpet in the hallway is all I'm going to say!

After spending the weekend at a Scrapbooking Retreat refueling my spirit, relaxing with friends and learning some incredible (albeit outside of my comfort zone!) techniques, I come home covered in glitter (damn stuff, never goes away!) and ready to face what this week may bring my way!  May the force be with you my friends as we head into our next adventures!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Summer Camping Dreams

It has been another few crazy weeks!  I have been working almost full time hours for the last two weeks (this working thing is for the birds!) but as the kids start talking about summer adventures they would like to have, I think of the $$$ that will be required!  Of course as we talk about things that we would like to do, we reminisce about past adventures!
Over the years we have had many different children live with us and a few of them are hard to forget!  Many of our summers have been spent with me packing up the kids and the gear and heading out solo with them! On one camping trip we decided to travel with another mom and her kids.  As we were heading out with car top carriers and vehicles loaded to the nuts, my friends' car top carrier blew open as we were driving on the highway heading to Bird's Hill Park.  We pulled over and two of the older kids decided they were going to chase the items that blew out!  Nothing like seeing two teenagers run through traffic driving 100 km/h on the highway!  Well they managed to save the day!  They collected the items and off we went again!  Once we got out to the campground, found our site and were starting to set up tents (great idea solo with 5 kids and a few of their friends!).  Of course there is always one child who just needs to be a pain and this trip was no different! We are trying to set up tents and he has to pee!  I can see the bathrooms from our site but don't trust him enough to go solo and everybody is tired of his shenanigans during the ride out so nobody wanted to take him. I finally lost my patience and told him that he was a boy "just go pee in the bush!" and off he went.  When I turned around there he was sitting in the biggest plot of poison ivy I have ever seen!  All he could say is, "You always tell me to pee sitting down!"  Well luckily for him he didn't get poison ivy and learned that he could pee standing up when he's outdoors!
On another camping trip with this child we were at Lilac Resort with water slides, hot tub, playground etc.  It was a hot day and the pool area was packed.  All the kids wanted to go to different pool areas so I sent the older ones to one pool, the middle ones to the one pool that I could keep my eye on and our little trouble maker to the hot tub.  The hot tub was packed!!!  I told him he could go and I would watch him.  In he went, shortly after out everyone came!  As one lady walked by I overheard her say, "Can you believe that!  What child openly admits that he peed in the hot tub!" I was mortified!  There was my little guy with a huge grin on his face, all alone in the hot tub!!  He was a handful but there was never a dull moment with him around!
Another favorite camping place is Clear Lake.  A few years ago our children read the signs on the beach that told about Duck Lice.  That was it!  The kids decided that they were never going to swim at the beach again! In the following years we rented a cabin to stay at with a pool so they could go swimming.  As the lady said when I phoned,  "The cabins are rustic" and I replied, "It's better than sleeping on the ground".  As we pulled up to the cottage we noticed that there was a plywood walkway over a "moat" of water to get into the cabin.  Mud everywhere else! Apparently the water main in front of the cabin had broken earlier, the owners apologized for the inconvenience and hoped that it would be fixed in the next day or two!  Oh well, our adventure began!  In the cabin all of the bedding was pristine white (not so cool for a "family friendly" place) and in our welcome package a note that if they were to become excessively dirty there would be an extra charge for cleaning.  I knew that we would be paying the extra cleaning charge, no doubt.  The next few days were uneventful (as uneventful they could be with our crew!).  On the fourth day I was dismayed when it was bedtime and I went to put her to bed but couldn't open the door!  It was locked!! I figured I would just get a butter knife and unlock it, no biggie. WRONG! The lock was so "rustic" that there was no way to unlock it from the hallway.  I sent one of the older kids to the office to see if we could get someone to help but there was a note saying to call .... if anything was needed.  We called the number and left a message.  An hour later we still hadn't heard from anyone, I called again and left another message.  By this time the little one was in complete meltdown mode!  I'm sure the entire town could hear her screaming!  I sent our 12 year old outside to see if he could get in through the window which of course entailed standing in the mud!  He came back in and said he could probably fit but he the window was too high for him to get to.  I went out stood in the mud and tried to "boost" him up!  By this time I could see people in the neighboring cabins looking out there windows at us wondering what was going on! We finally decided to get the brand new, light colored picnic table and drag it over to the window so he could stand on it to get through the window. As he was half in and half out of the window he realized that it was a long way to the floor!  I told him to do whatever he needed to do, let's just get this over and done with!  Not even thinking about the wonderful combination of nice, white linens and shoes that had just been in the mud!  So in he goes, walks across the bed to the door and quickly unlocks it.  My hero!  Out of the bedroom I hear, "Ummm mom".  As I walked into the room all I could see clear as a bell was four muddy footprints across the not so pristine bedding! Ooops!  Peace soon fell as the exhausted screaming toddler went to bed which made it all worth it!  Upon check out the owners asked us how our stay was and if there was anything they could improve for next time.  I suggested updating the doorknobs and explained our little adventure.  As they laughingly apologized, I explained that it is hard to take my crew anywhere solo without some sort of "disaster" happening and in the end we all had fun!  When they asked if we would be back next year, I said absolutely as long as there were new door knobs!  Guess what!  The following year there was new knobs!
As I sit and dream of summer (everyone keeps saying it's coming!) I can't help but get sentimental about the good 'ol days knowing that as my children get older there won't be as many "family trips". What will I ever do?!

Monday, 3 March 2014

The Takers

As "My Year of 40" keeps plugging along I have taken (or stolen, mostly in the bathroom with the exhaust fan on so I can't hear THEM!) to reflect.  One item of reflection is the people in my life.  I started with my "friends".  I quickly realized that some people that I called friends really weren't.  They were "takers", you know the kind of people I'm referring to: the ones that only call when they want something, the ones that you offer once but they keep taking and taking and taking (pretty soon a whole year of feeding 4 extra people twice a month without so much as a thank-you, never mind offering to pay or GASP .... return the favour has passed!)

I realized that when I talk to some people I can feel the life being sucked out of me.  The negativity, the championing of those who don't deserve and the never ending complaining of the unfairness of their life. Don't get me wrong, I totally vent to my friends frequently but I also take a turn being the "sounding board". It needs to be a two way street in order for people to not feel used.  The "takers" never reciprocate and its exhausting just thinking about having to talk to them (you think of every excuse possible to avoid having to talk to them!).

My personality makes it difficult for me to say NO, I'm a fixer and a pleaser.  This year I told myself that I will respect myself more and learn to say no.  This is the YEAR OF NO and baby I'm on a roll!  I'm putting more thought into my decisions and am saying yes to the things that I want to and no to the things I don't (which doesn't include those things that sound like a good idea at the time!).  I am enjoying the feeling of freedom that saying No is giving me (once the feeling of guilt is over that is).

This past week I had the pleasure of receiving a heartfelt offer of thanks, gratitude and appreciation from a friend.  Words cannot express how much I needed to hear "Thanks for all you've done for us!" last week. It's amazing how those words can warm my heart and add a bounce to my step!  She made my day!

Another goal of this year will be to show gratitude and appreciation to those who help me out in even the slightest way.  I hope that those in my life never feel "used" by me (and please tell me if you do! I will fix it!).

On that note I want to say Thanks to all those who I'm blessed to have in my life!  I'm pretty sure you know who you are!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Crazy Going Slowly Am I!

The last two weeks have definitely been crazy and challenging!  Our 16 year old has been pushing boundaries to the extreme.  As if last semester wasn't crazy enough with her not turning in ANY assignments and then been given the chance to make up the ENTIRE semester in the last week!  A phone call to the school explaining how I felt they were doing her a disservice by giving her this opportunity (anybody know of a post-secondary institution that allows students to do this?) and how it just reinforces her behavior.  I also told them that I don't think that she should be granted her credits (natural consequences) but of course they did!  I was so frustrated!  How can we teach her to be a contributing, responsible member of society if society is always bending to her!  New semester starts and here's her chance for a new start.  Well it went something like this, "I forgot it was Monday", "I have a spare (funny that's not what her schedule says, which means she broke one of the family rules - If you are going to lie, it has to be believable!)" and the best yet - "I was in class the school must be lying".  Last week she only missed 6 classes (that I know of!) so I guess that's not too bad!

The 13 year old was injured in a basketball game while we were gone and after a visit to the walk in was told "no activity" for 10-12 days which was super awesome considering I had just paid an exorbitant amount of money on a football training camp that he now CAN'T participate in!!!  A nice reprieve from the 6 days a week driving him to and from games etc but a kick in the now empty pocketbook at the same time.

Our oldest headed out of town for two weeks leaving behind her dog (her baby) and her rabbit for me to care for, with a huge list of instructions (the ultimate trust test!).  Considering how allergic I am to the rabbit I wasn't too sure how this was going to go!  The first few days the rabbit wasn't too bad (formerly known as "killer bun bun") until I texted my daughter to say we are almost of out of pellets.  Well I found out that he only gets pellets once a week, that was the end of his being nice!  I could hear him thinking every day I went in there to feed him his hay and apples, "I don't want this crap!  Where's my pellets?" as he attacked me with his claws! Return of killer bun bun!

Looks can be so deceiving!

As a foster parent there are a few things that we never say aloud (or try not to think!) and that is, "Things are going smoothly" because POOF! a bomb will drop!  Birth mom is considering moving back to the city and wants increased access to the kids!  Lucky for us we have a terrific social worker who is on the same page as me and will make decisions based on the kids' best interest.

The youngest one has taken on my saying (which I thoroughly regret saying!) and has been spending time in the "take a break" chair for announcing (with head shake and hip out) "I win, you lose" for EVERYTHING. This past week saying it full of attitude and SNOT!  We made it to this point of the winter with no major illness but it has come to an end!

Little one and I fell hard this week, fever, cough and snot!  We were one hot, sexy mess!  By the end of the week the dreaded MAN COLD had arrived with the most terrifying words to any mom and wife, "I'm sick". THE END OF THE WORLD HAS COME!!!!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Back to Reality

The return from the winter holiday is one that is always faced with trepidation!  The truth is that I missed my kids like crazy but life went on while I was gone with a few little kerfluffle's along the way!  We all survived! Some of us learned our sunscreen lesson well (didn't even look like I had gone anywhere warm!) and some of us just love sporting the red lobster/zebra stripes!

The week flew by while we were gone with many beautiful (and some not so beautiful, think mankini's, well-endowed topless ladies with questionable bottoms) sights!  Some unique ones?!

Iberostar Resorts are known for their Activity Leaders but this guy took the cake!  Introducing Lenny the Chicken who one day paraded around the beach dressed as a chicken, complete with standing on top of one of the Palapas!  We also saw him dressed as Rambo, the Terminator, a Southern Belle and Darth Vader!  Always a good laugh when Lenny was around!

We went on 2 wonderful excursions, one to Santo Domingo (bucket list item) to see where Christopher Columbus' remains are and a trip to a National Park complete with a boat ride through the Mangroves and a visit to a cave!  Each day was a long one and ended with a fabulous beverage at the Lobby Bar.

During the week I managed to read 2 of the book Club books on my list, one trashy romance (Danielle Steele is a vacation must) and started to read what I thought was a book club book only to find out it wasn't! Oh well!  What do I have to show for this - an extremely sore butt!  My butt is not used to being stationary for long periods of time!  Once my aching butt and ADHD got together I spent time wandering through the resort grounds.  In the middle there was a duck pond (for lack of a better word) with turtles, flamingos, ducks and a "killer" swan.  Any time you stopped and looked at the pond it would swim back and forth in front of you.  Reminded me of the swans at Lilac Resort that used to chase the kids down the road!

You can see it in his eyes!  Killer -  I swear!

Towel art is always a pleasant surprise when you are staying in all-inclusive and I have to say this resort was no different!  My sock monkey had to photo bomb this one, but its still my favorite!

On the Monday before our return I received a cryptic Facebook message from our 16 year old stating, "K may have cut Z's hair".  May have cut her hair? Didn't think there was any room for maneuvering in that one! You either have a haircut or you don't!  Of course knowing our scissors are kept up high and out of reach, I asked the obvious question, "Where did she get the scissors?" to which the answer was, "I think school".  Oh boy!  Just a small little blip to deal with when we get home!  The best of the week was still to come!

The last full day that we were in the Dominican we spent some time at the beach, dreaming of the next beach vacation.  

That night we took a stroll down there to get a sunset picture but of course were moving on Paul time so instead we got a lovely shot of the moon!

As we left for the airport our bus followed a large truck filled to the top with pineapples!!  We were sad to leave but excited to get home and back to routine.

Upon arrival at the airport our oldest daughter met us to give us a ride home in the swirling snow.  When I asked how bad the haircut was she replied, "It could have been worse!" and then asked if I had heard about our oldest sons antics!  Ummm, no!  What would that be?  Of course he took the opportunity of having the house to himself to invite his new girl over, who wouldn't?!  Well he is now grounded until he is 30 so he probably won't be doing that again!  And yes the haircut was THAT bad!!!

As we sadly put away all our summer wear for a few more months we are thankful for the opportunity and ability to travel, to have some lovely people to have watched kids for us and the return of a happy digestive system.

Welcome back to reality!