Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Custody Schedule!

So I managed to convince The Ex that Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening, every other weekend would be better than the current Sunday 10-4 plan. His gf's parents live just over an hour away so this gives them the opportunity to spend weekends there with their new baby and the kids still get lots of time with Dad....or at least that's what I used as my argument. I was totally shocked when it actually worked. He hasn't actually given me a date as to when it will start or even begun to work out the sleeping arrangements for his small 2 bdrm apartment, but we can worry about those things later. Right now I get to think happy thoughts about those mornings when Josiah and I can lay around in bed until I feel like getting up!

Friday, August 29, 2008

A whole lotta nuttin

I don't really have much to say today. I didn't write yesterday because I couldn't make up my mind about what post I felt like writing. I mean I have lots of ideas floating around in my head but nothing that I have worked out enough to actually do a full post on. It is also raining and Im feeling quite blah.

So instead a collection of thoughts:

Im getting a car next week. It is quite old and not so reliable but it is a car all the same and I can fit all four kids in it. The same brother that took over my lease on my last car is the one that I am buying this one off of. He has decided that he no longer needs the two cars and so this works pretty well. At least I will be able to drive Rayden to school next week since we are staying in a different city than his school.

I spoke with a woman at the government housing office today who informed me that she really doubts that anything will be coming available in the next month. Things could change at a moments notice but

Those last few thoughts were written Friday afternoon and it is now almost midnight on Saturday. Someone started crying and I had to abandon my computer mid-sentence until now. So anyway...!

I've just finished reading a book called The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho. It provoked so many thoughts and feelings in me that I want to explore but I don't know where to begin.

Chris is on his first sleepover tonight at my brothers' house and I feel weird about it. Rayden first stayed over at my parents' house with his cousin when he was 4 so this isn't much different. Rayden was my first though and it felt like such a big deal whereas this was just thrown together last minute and Im not sure Im ready for it. He called to say goodnight and I didn't want to hang up the phone!

I drank some Pepsi earlier and Josiah WILL NOT SLEEP! He is currently laying on my lap smiling up at me when he should be sleeping in his swing beside me, like he does every night.

Rayden starts school on Wednesday and again it feels weird. Im sure most of my uneasiness comes from us being displaced for the entire summer and still having no end in sight. But I just don't know what to do with everything. Usually this time of year I would be making the most of it and trying to fit in a few last fun things to do before school. Instead we are just laying around the house not doing anything. Part of it is because Josiah is here and I am significantly less mobile. As well, I do not have the car yet so going anywhere is difficult.

Ive been terribly restless this summer and it is obviously quite understandable. Despite the housing problems I also finished a degree in May. Previous to that I had been in school for six straight years, without taking even a summer off. So now I am struggling to find things to do with my time and to occupy my mind. All of my books are with the rest of our stuff in storage and so I was going mad, spending way too much time aimlessly wandering the net. That is how I came to read the book I mentioned. My mother offered it to me after I complained of going insane with boredom. Turns out it was something that I really needed at the moment because it spoke to so many issues that I am having on so many levels. Like I said above, I have to sort out my thoughts on it all so I wont comment on what I mean just yet.

I hate my hair. I've never hated what this lady has done before, but I hate this one! It is too long to do anything funky and too short to do anything nice. She said it would still be long enough to put up in a pony tail but no, there is just no way. It is really disappointing because I will be getting our family pictures done for Christmas in early October and there is no way it will grow out enough by then.

I have this feeling like I need to do something so I have been searching the net for various ideas. I have pretty much stole everything that I came up with from other bloggers, so if you recognize something, I didn't really mean to steal it or anything! The idea of NaNoWriMo intrigued me and it is a challenge that I would like to take part in. I think I will do it this year because really when will I have the whole month of November off again? Also from Swistle, I have started postcrossing. I haven't received any yet, but I have sent three so we'll see. Alice is doing the WWC challenge and it seems like fun but Im thinking I probably wont bother.

This is a pretty stupid list of nothingness really, just random thoughts. So I will end with a wonderful picture of my guys:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Michael has started the terrible twos! I know his age would have you believe that he wouldn't start that for anther few months but this boy is ahead of his age, you see. He has started throwing the worst tantrums! and over everything! Just now I forgot to let him "help" take out the bowls for lunch so he freaked, with a capital "F" even. This morning it was because I wouldn't let him play with a fork about a foot from Josiah's head. ARG!

It all means that he is developing in the right direction and learning how to have a little control over his life, but ho boy is it hard. I don't fight with him because that would be pointless. Instead I am firm in whatever rule I am upholding and I try to redirect his attention elsewhere. Yesterday after a few minutes of tantrum I finally got him to come around by tickling him and then letting him tickle me. That was an easy one though and most of the time it takes a lot more effort from me. Problem is that I usually have Josiah in my arms or am busy making lunch or whatever so I have to really make an effort to address the issue.

My mother tells a story about my oldest brother throwing his first tantrum in a grocery store. He was freaking out and wouldn't stop so she pulled down his pants and spanked him. It wasn't harsh or anything but it embarrassed him and he never threw another fit. Now it is a different time and spanking is not so good anymore (especially in public, could you imagine?!) but the same principle is true. If you allow it, it will happen more. If you nip it right away, it should go away on its own.

In the end, Im happy that he is becoming more independent. He refused to eat lunch today because as he said "mumble mumble like it!" (which I interpreted as "don't like it").

Only 1 year, 2 months and 8 days until he is three...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Plain White Box PIF

So as I mentioned I won Whimsy's PIF (pay it forward) contest over at The Creamery! Well the package arrived today. I first thought it was an order I had placed at an Etsy shop (more on that later ;) but then when I peeked inside I glimpsed the polka dots that Whimsy had teased us with in this post.

Inside was all sorts of exciting things for the boys and I. Whimsy did a really great job picking out things that we would enjoy even though I had only started this blog days before she came by to find out about me.

There was a notebook, cards, cute little pens, a butterfly stamper thingy, lip gloss and gum for me. And for the boys there was animal crackers, playing cards, a mini bowling game, stickers and fun little face clothes that expand when you put them in water! My favorite by far were the cards which is exactly what I was hoping to get!

I included the last picture because you can see the handy little rule sheet (top left)that will be included and sent along with the box. It outlines the whole process with URLs to where it all began. I really didn't expect everything to be so organized but this lady has got it all figured out! All I have to do now is hold my own PIF, add a little decoration and my name/place specifics to the inside and fill it up with new goodies.

I haven't decided all of what to include in it yet. Im a little limited by space in the box but Im sure Ill manage. I placed a few orders on Etsy to include whenever they arrive but otherwise, Im waiting to learn more about the winner.

Specifics and whatnot:

(oh and I am simply copy and pasting from Whimsy herself)

-You've got to use the box (obviously) for your PIF

- Add some decoration to the box, could be anything, just don't destroy the box itself

- Post your name & location on the inside of the box's lid

- I'll send these instructions with the box itself, but when you post your PIF, please include these details as well, so that any new entrants will know what we're trying to do here

- Once you get a winner for your PIF, you'll send the box on with the instructions

Get it? Cool

Alright so that just leaves the contest itself. Im trying to think of something to make you post about but I have no idea....hmmm...Ooh how about you make it easy on me and just tell me one thing that would be great to include in the box for the winner. Sound Good?

Yay, Im still excited!


I don't want to down play any of what I said in the last post because it was all real. I do however have normal moments where those things are not on my mind. That's where I wonder if it is PPD because its not an all the time thing. It is certainly often, I mean I have those thoughts and feelings daily, but they do not consume all of my time. I want to say thank you to those of you who commented, your words and offers are appreciated.

I assume my outlook will improve when I find a house and have my own space again. As it is, we are a family that is attached but also apart from another family that we live with. We can not function as our own unit like we used to because we are just too much involved with my parents and brother. Hopefully it will be soon. Ive been looking for places to rent for the last two months but the problem is that any place that is big enough for five people is too expensive. Even since February when I first started renting my last house, places have been going up at a really fast rate. To find a similar place I would have to add another two hundred or so each month. There is really no way that I could afford that and it would have to be temporary because the heating costs in the winter would cause the same problem. On top of that is the fact that for every house, there are about five families needing it. Landlords are getting their choice of tenants and a single mother of four kids who isn't working at the moment is not an ideal candidate. The government housing that I applied for seems to be my only hope. They have recently put a lot of money into upgrading the units and so it shouldn't be as terrible as I first thought they would be. Other than certain things like rats and mold, I don't care so much anymore because we just need a place.

I have a family social worker that is helping me to get into a unit as well. She actually works for the same department that would do our equivalent of CPS but in this case she is on my side. She has found a contact within the government housing department who she can get inside info from. If I call, I just get the standard answers and they tell me nothing specific. She called me today and was surprised that I hadn't heard from them by now. She was speaking with her contact last week who gave her the impression that something would be happening in the very near future. So with me not hearing from them by today, she thinks something may have gone wrong. That's not what I wanted to hear, but she will call them again tomorrow and let me know what happens. Basically, if I am going to have a place before October I will be hearing this week.

So enough about that stuff! Its time for the fun! First, I bought my gift to myself number two AND three on Sunday. I first bought a pair of jeans that were on sale in one store that I really liked. Then we went to another store that had an even better sale so I bought another pair. I didn't realise until I got home that the first pair were super low rise (yikes!). Josiah had been crying when I picked them up so I didn't want to bother trying them on even though I haven't bought jeans in this small of a size in at least 10-12 years. Anyway, I got them home and they fit but wow do they feel weird. Im not used to my whole belly and hips being above my jeans but I like them so much that I have to keep them anyway ;) My belly is still a bit squishy from the pregnancy but hopefully that wont take too much work to tighten it back up. My mom warned me that it may not happen though since this was my fourth child but we'll see. The second pair is one size smaller than the first and they fit just as well. They are cut more like I would have normally worn so they are more comfy than anything else. I don't have any pics at the moment, but I may add some another day.

And now for the really fun stuff!!!! I won a PIF contest a couple weeks ago and now it is time to do my own! Oh, what fun! Ive been waiting for the chance to actually post about it but since this is a special one, I had to wait to actually receive my gift before I could. I am going to do a separate post for that though and hopefully I will finish it tonight, but I cant promise anything. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Angry (long)

I think Im suffering from PPD. I don't know how you can actually tell if you have it, but Im just not right anymore. My life has basically been shit for the last few months and that is just fact, not my interpretation. Coping has been hard and Im not sure how much more I can take. In my real life people see me as this incredibly strong person who can do anything that I put my mind to. And that is true in a sense. Problem is that when I reach a breaking point people don't see it. They blow it off and just expect me to overcome whatever obstacle has come up. But inside I am freaking out. Even in the subtle ways that it usually comes out, people don't see it. I know when that is happening and because I did a lot of psychology in university alongside my sociology, I understand a lot of the shit that I do. Is this making any sense? I don't know.

Back to the point. Ive become incredibly angry and I don't know what to do with my anger. I am angry at everything, even stupid things. Im a little worried about actually saying what I am going to say in this post because I have made friends online that may read this and I do not want them to know that I have failed. Ive skirted the topic in many ways when I write on here and in the various other places that I post to. But the truth of the matter is that I have really fucked up my life and my kids' lives and there is no one to blame but me. It seems that every decision I make is the wrong one and the worst possible thing that could happen always does. Im sure some of you would say that surely I am overestimating, at least I had this or we were ok because of this, but no we really hit bottom.

I spent five years in a horrible relationship where my kids witnessed daily abuse in many forms. I can not say that it was all my ex because it was me too. He and I ended up treating each other like crap and it became physical on more than a few occasions. He left for good in April of 2007, my 24th birthday to be exact. I thought that he had been the source of all of my troubles, he wouldn't work, did a lot of drugs, spent way too much of our money, and really just contributed very little to our family. The day after he left though, he met his now fiance. It didn't take long for him to find a decent job and move in with her. I see them now and they seem to have the life that I always wanted with him. They have a new daughter and he is actually a dad for her. He supports them while she is home with the baby and they seem happy. Im angry that I couldn't have that life. Im angry that I worked so hard for all those years supporting my family and putting myself through university only to end up alone and miserable with nothing. Im angry that all the lies that this man spread about me being lazy or every problem we had being my fault, seem true now. Im angry that his new daughter gets to have a dad and mine barely see him.

After the relationship ended I went through a really rough time mourning the life that I had known for those five years. It was horrible and terrible, but it was still hard to see it end and face the fact that I was again a single mom, this time with three kids. But I did it, I made it through and I was happy for a little while. I was learning who I was. Then I had an opportunity to go to a conference in another province. My family was right there offering to babysit and I decided to go. It was a wonderful opportunity in so many ways and I was really excited and happy to go. This was the first time since I became a mother that I was truly able to be kid-free for a few days. I was pregnant at 17 and so I had never experienced being an adult without being a mother. I went too far though and met a man who I immediately trusted. I think I had just let my guard down too much and I was trying too hard to just forget responsibility. So needless to say, before long I got pregnant. When I tried to call him, he wouldn't answer. Same when I went to his house. I finally saw him walking one day and I stopped the car. He was with his girlfriend (who it turns out he was seeing at the same time as me) and I told him. All he did was turn around and walk away. Without even a word. Soon after he changed his number and moved so that I could not contact him. I still haven't accepted that this really happened. How the hell did I end up with another child? And one that doesn't have a father? Im angry that I have another child. Im angry that he is a boy. For some reason I told myself during this pregnancy that it would at least be worth it if it was a girl. Im angry that Im angry about my own baby. Im angry that I cant afford to give him everything that I want. Im angry that when he was born, he had four sleepers. Im angry that my ex's baby has more clothes than she can wear and every toy or baby item imaginable when mine had to be wrapped in a blanket while I did laundry. Im angry that my child had to sleep in his car seat for the first week of his life because I had no where else to put him.

Because of all the negativity that I was feeling in my life at that time (December 2007) I decided to move. My apartment had rats and it was also the home where my ex and I lived. I wanted to just close that chapter in my life and get serious about providing a better life for my kids. I found a beautiful little place for rent not far from where we had been living. It was across the street from family and there was a park just down the road. I rented it for probably a little more than I could afford, but it was something that I wanted so I promised myself that I would make it happen. And I did. The landlord was a little iffy but I though it was just my imagination or maybe they were just weary and overprotective of their investment. The first power bill came in at $280 for 18 days. This is where the problem came in. I couldn't afford the high cost to heat the place but I refused to give up this home. My kids loved it and I finally felt like I was providing properly for them. I paid what little I could on the power bill and just waited for summer to come and for it to get lower so I could catch up. Unfortunately I never made it that far, and on June 18th the power was cut. Law here says that if a tenant fails to provide power or water to the premises, they can be evicted immediately. So that is what happened. My dad came over to watch the kids on the morning of the 19th so that I could take his credit card and go pay the power bill off. After speaking with the power company on the phone, I knew that if I paid it, they would come the same day and hook it back up. Before I was able to leave though, my landlord showed up with the eviction notice. My dad handled it though because I was just a wreck. If he had not been there, my landlord would have escorted me out of the house, with my little ones in tow. Instead, he was able to talk the guy into giving us the day to get everything together and get out.

So with the help of family, all of our things went into storage and we were out. Before Rayden was even home from school that day, we had moved out of our home. Im angry that my son left for school having a home and was homeless before the end of the day. Im angry that at soccer one time this summer, he announced to the team and their parents that we didn't have a home because the power got shut off and we had to move. Im angry that we had to go to a shelter. I spent a lot of nights crying at that shelter. I was so embarrassed to be there, I didn't want anyone to know. Rayden was invited to two bday parties and even though it was really hard to get there, and I didn't even have a way to wrap a gift, he still went. And I made sure that none of the kids mentioned where we were living. It was too hard to hear out of their mouths let alone the embarrassment of the other parents knowing. We at least had our own room in the shelter but the window overlooked the same intersection where I told Josiah's father that I was pregnant. I couldn't believe that only 7 months before I was standing down there gathering myself back together and deciding to forge ahead. I could not have known at the time that instead of making our lives better, I actually made them so much worse. Im angry that I didn't know better. Im angry that because I tried to take my kids out of a rat infested hell hole, we ended up in a shelter. Im angry that I had to worry about giving birth at the shelter or what would happen to the kids if I suddenly had to get to the hospital. Im angry that their father would rather see them live in a shelter than take them to stay with him. Im angry that I lived in a shelter.

When Josiah was born, the kids stayed at my parents' house. They are also renting right now and their lease is specific about the number of people allowed to live there. This is why I wasn't allowed to stay with them when I lost my house. Im angry they allowed me to go to a shelter. Im angry that none of my family stepped in. Im angry that the only person to finally offer me a place was my cousin and when I decided to take her up on that, her family decided I was a big inconvenience and didn't hide it. Anyway, so since the kids were already at my parents' house that is where I went when I left the hospital. Im angry that I couldn't bring Josiah home to our house. Im angry that we are still living with my parents, two months after we lost our house. Im angry that I am sleeping on the floor along with all four of my kids. Im angry that the housing market is so horrible here right now that there is no where to live. Im angry that I applied for government housing two months ago and still have nothing. Im angry that I had to resort to government housing. Im angry that Im angry. I take things out on the kids. When my mom makes comments to herself or anyone else about how she is sick of her space being taken over, I yell at the kids. At least a dozen times a day I feel unwelcome, or in the way. I can not control these little kids and that makes life very impossible. My dad works nights so for the last two months, the kids haven't been allowed to make any noise during the day. I don't have a car anymore and there are no buses that service this area, so I am stuck here all day long in a house where my kids cant make noise. I am angry that they can not be kids. Im angry that I am stuck here. Im just angry.

So now that I have outlined the suckiness, and that is just the main stuff...there is so much more, I need to get onto the point of this post. The PPD. I am not proud of it and I am really scared of saying this, but I think often about giving my kids to someone. Sometimes I think short term and sometimes I think permanently. I have tried to convey how hopeless everything seems and how I just can not cope anymore but no one seems to get it. I had my SIL totally tell me off after I lost the house and then try to act all nice a few weeks later and ask me to be her son's godmother. She is the only person that I went right out and told that I was at the end of my rope and that I couldn't even handle talking to her. But even she did not understand what I meant. At that time, I was fantasizing about just getting on a plane and leaving. I know I wouldn't be able to ever commit suicide but sometimes it crosses my mind. Im not crazy or whatever. Im just at my end. I need things to finally start looking up. But they aren't. This is why I started those gifts to myself to try and force some happiness.

I know that I couldn't actually let my kids go because I wouldn't be able to live with myself. But then I think about how much better off they would be with someone who had it figured out and wasn't such a fuck up. Im angry that Im a fuck up.

So I know that a lot of these issues come from being angry and that is something I can work with. But the thoughts of leaving or giving the kids away; the thoughts of no longer being a mother, they scare me and make me worry about PPD. My mom is a psychologist and she has seen more and more of this lately from me and this morning she asked me why I was so angry. I didn't tell her much because I couldn't through the tears. I did however tell her that I thought about giving them away daily. Since then, the house has been a little weird and even my dad hugged me tonight. I don't want to fuck up anymore but I am just worried that any move I make will be the wrong one. I cant even decide if I should continue to push for the government housing or if I should find a house that I can rent even though it would be too much money and could potentially mean the same problem. God, Im so sick of poverty and all of the bullshit that goes with it. I went to school so that I could make a better life for my kids and now that I have my degree, Im stuck here with a newborn and cant work.

I know this is long and I thank anyone who has made it this far. Just knowing that you have read this makes me feel better. I feel very alone in this situation and like I don't have anyone to talk to. Hopefully now that this is out there, I can get some support and help from my fellow Internets.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Grade Two

Kristi did a post the other day about her daughter's massive school supplies list for grade one. For comparison's sake, I am including Rayden's list for grade two. Note: Kristi had all of her daughter's things already PUT AWAY and LABELED when she wrote, I however haven't even braved the stores yet. So ya...

  • 30 sharpened pencils (only Dixon HB)
  • 1 pencil sharpener (one that contains the shavings)
  • 1 pencil box container
  • 4 white erasers (Staedtler Mars) <---I have no idea?
  • 4 large glue sticks (UHU)
  • 8 duo tang folders with metal attachments (2 red, 2 yellow, 2 green, 2 blue)
  • 4 exercise books (1 green, 1 blue, 1 yellow, 1 orange or pink
  • 1 pkg of construction paper (please sort the colours) <---ya there's an hour I'll never get back!
  • 1 pair of good quality scissors (fiskars)
  • 1 set of coloured lead pencils (sharpened) (no markers please)
  • 1 large box of Ziploc freezer bags (not with zipper closure)

First of all, do you know how long it takes to sharpen 30 pencils? I do cause I gotta do it every year! Oh and the blisters, what fun! But in all fairness, this list isn't half as bad as his grade one list was. So I feel for ya Kristi, even with that handy system your school has.

Also, because it is so sweet, Im going to add a copy of a letter his grade one teacher sent home. It is really sweet, and this teacher will be missed.

Dear Parents,

First, a big "Bravo!" to your children.
They have worked extremely hard over the last ten months! They have all learned to speak, read and write, in a second language, and when you consider their age, that is truly amazing. I am VERY proud of each and every one of them, as you should be.

Congratulations to all of you as well - you've passed Grade One French Immersion with flying colors!! Here is YOUR Report Card:

  • Hard Work (especially the last few weeks when you would rather NOT have had homework!)..........................................................................................................................5+
  • Cooperation (even when times were tough!)..................................................................5+
  • Patience (with your children AND with Mme!)..............................................................5+
  • Communication Skills (always open to suggestions and offering them as well!)........5+
  • Social Skills (especially for kindness!)...............................................................................5+

One of the most important factors in a child's education is the Parent-Teacher relationship, so I would like to leave you with a little advice - as a teacher AND as a mother:

  • Always remember that we are all on the same team.
  • Work closely with your child's teachers over the years.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions - you DO have a right to know!
  • And try not to be afraid of the answers - even though they may not always be the ones you want to hear.
  • Keep working, even if you have to work less.
  • Hang in there - they're only young for a little while!

I know, so sweet! And also so true, even though it is hard to remember sometimes. There is more to the letter but that is the most important part. This letter was written by Rayden's grade one teacher, Mme Bry.

Nap Update

What has it been now a week and a half? I have no idea actually thanks to that post-birth mommy brain of mine. I know I was upset about Michael having a late nap with his dad on a Sunday and I know I forgot to remind his dad about the new plan this last Sunday, so.... Sometime between 6 and 13 days, Im guessing; but even that could be wrong.

But anyway we pretty much have it beat. Sometimes he falls asleep in the late afternoon and I only let him go for about 10 minutes before I wake him up but that's not every day. He goes to bed about 7ish and wakes around 8 which is so much better than the nights of 11-7! He seems a bit more tired lately too but he does need some time to adjust. A couple weeks of consistency and he shouldn't even feel tired through out the day, hopefully anyway. He is also coming down with a cold so that could be making him a bit more tired. If that seems to affect him too much, Ill have to let him nap and redo this in a couple weeks. We'll see.

Yes, more pictures!

So just because weekends are usually really quiet around the blogosphere and I have some extra time on my hands today, I have a couple posts that I want to do. So first of all, a photo entry of my sweet little Josiah all grown up at 6 weeks old! The first is for comparison, he was 1 week old in that one. Also, I have no idea why the third pic turned sideways..?

I know, cute right?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Feel Good Gift to Myself, Number One

My hair appointment for Saturday had to be postponed until today. I was really disappointed at first but I was so glad when I went in today and the place was almost empty. My stylist has a bad habit of keeping you waiting and then really taking her time while doing your hair. Im usually there for about two hours for a simple cut. Today I was in and out in under an hour. So all is good.

This is what it now looks like:

I don't normally tell her what to do with it so it is always a surprise when I put my glasses back on to see what she has done.

The coolest part of all was that because my hair was so long, we cut it off into a ponytail to be donated to the cancer foundation. It will be put with other hair and made into a wig one day. How cool is that? I may end up doing this again, I mean it didn't take any effort from me. All I needed was an extra 6 inches of hair. It actually took a non-effort in that I didn't have to do anything (like getting my hair cut)!
So since this haircut happened late Im not sure If Im going to do something else for this week or just wait until next week. Im taking a cousin out to lunch on Sunday when the kids are with their dad so I should probably leave it until then. Maybe Ill buy those jeans I was talking about. We'll see.
The scale hasn't moved since last week. I cheated part way through the week and took a peek and it was actually down a couple pounds. Now when I checked on the regular day, it was back up. That's what I get for being too obsessive.
Im having trouble coming up with more ways to pamper myself. Im not one to normally do that kind of stuff or think about it too much so Im really at a loss. What do you do? And what would you suggest?

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Rayden turned seven last week. As my oldest I get to experience all of my firsts as a parent with him and Im always blown away at how much he has grown. To me he is still my little chubby-cheeked baby who was well ahead of his age with every milestone and who could make your heart melt with just a flash of his smile. He and I have been through a lot together in the last seven years and even though I know it has been really tough on him, I hope that it has made him a stronger person. He has taught me a lot and sometimes I worry that I haven't taught him enough. Our family started off with just the two of us and in a lot of ways, I was just a kid trying to be his parent. I had a lot of learning to do about life and people but I always loved my son and I always tried to be the best mom I could be.

My first mother`s day with Rayden

Despite his common bursts of energy and noise, Rayden is extremely thoughtful and intelligent. He has a wonderful mind for building and figuring out how things work. When The Ex takes the kids on Sundays, they often visit his parents where Rayden will spend most of his time in the garage with his grandfather. They work on various projects as he is always coming up with his next great idea. This past weekend it was a bed for his bear (I know so cute and please let him hold onto such innocence for a little longer!) and last week it was his go cart. The week before he made some sort of contraption for my mom to remember her dog who has recently died.

Rayden can map things out in his mind and has this amazing ability to see and understand all the parts required for almost anything. So many times I would find him on his bunk bed building something out of legos or sitting at his desk drawing blueprints. I say he will be an engineer one day and he certainly could be.

Rayden with one of his lego contraptions

In school Rayden's subject is without a doubt math. His performance is rated on a 1-5 scale and his math marks are always at least a 4; usually all 5s but he has gotten the odd 4. Language is also a strong point for him but he has been struggling a little this past year in grade one. Rayden is in an early french immersion program at school and because I only have a basic working knowledge of the language, I can only be of so much help to him. Ive also allowed his homework to slide this year and as a result he didn't do nearly as well as he could have. Im obviously still extremely proud of this child who after only two years of french lesson at school can speak and understand so much of the language.

This year Rayden has gotten quite frustrated though at his inability to read English. French Immersion requires that all subjects (other than gym because they only have an English speaking gym teacher) be taught in French and so no English is allowed in the classroom. Because of this, Rayden has had no exposure to English reading and he wont until grade three. Ive tried showing him the odd thing but I really haven't put enough effort into something that he really wanted. But Rayden being the boy that he is, has taught himself to read English. He will still say that he cant read it but that is more of a self-esteem issue because when I push, he is always able to do it.

Rayden`s first day of kindergarten, two years ago

I tend to tell Rayden way too much about life and the things going on in our lives. I treat him as a bit of a partner sometimes and forget how much of a kid he still is. When he is just being a kid though he loves to laugh and play with his younger brothers. His older cousin has recently moved to the province and there isn't a day that goes by that Rayden doesn't ask to see him. Being the oldest among the local cousins I guess has always made him be the responsible one and as well made him have to play younger games and such. With this cousin though, they can play board games and video games and they both understand the rules! By far one of his favorite activities is his video games and so this year for his birthday his dad and I bought him a wii. He has wanted it for quite awhile and we finally decided that he is probably old enough to look after it properly; I just hope we were right cause damn, they ain't cheap.

My Boy

Active play has always been a challenge for Rayden because we lived in an apartment building for a large portion of his life so far. There was a large field near by but he couldn't play there by himself and there was rarely time for me to go out with him. Now though that he has his own yard he never wants to be in the house. Usually I just let him go outside as he pleases because of all those times he sat at the living room window looking down at the field and watching other kids play. It breaks my heart to remember those days when I had a young baby and just couldn't bring Rayden outside to play with those other kids. He will play for hours on his scooter if I let him, always trying to do a better trick or go a little faster. I have no idea where he is picking it up either, but he is starting to pick up some slang to go with it and usually I have to guess what it means. Im only 25 and do not consider myself old but I just do not get half of what kids say anymore.

We tried soccer again this summer and unfortunately haven't been able to go very often. Rayden hasn't been in soccer every year and didn't quite know the rules as much as some of the other boys and so he felt a little awkward playing on the team. I always had social issues that I don't think I overcame until my adult years and I just pray he doesn't have the same problems. Feeling like an outcast as a kid can be incredibly painful and can stay with you for your entire life. Anyway he always tried his best when he was playing and whenever he would be put in a goalie, he would try his hardest to protect that net. I think his favorite position was defense because he didn't have to try to keep up with the ball as much. He would always be on the outskirts of the group of boys running after the ball and so he would never get a chance to get near it. His tournament starts this week and I really hope I will have a chance to bring him to the games and give him a few more chances at it. This will be his last year because the boys that play are getting better and better and unless he decides that this is his sport, he just wont put the effort into it.

Soccer with his blue mohawk!

Rayden has such a unique personality and thinks about things way more than most kids his age do. He saw a mohawk a couple years ago and started to think about what it would be like if he had one. So during this whole last year he has been asking to get one. I agreed that he could but he had to wait for summer. So as soon as school was out, his uncle gave him a mohawk and we coloured it blue. This was in late June and by the end of July, he was ready to shave it off. He decided that it just wasn't right but has plans to have a full mohawk (back and top) next summer with an intricate multi-colour die job as well. We`ll see if the plan lasts the year though.

There is so much more that I could write about this wonderfully curious boy that I have the privilege to help nurture and grow. He is such a ray of light in my life that without it I wouldn't be the woman I am today. He is truly my special guy.

Rayden on his birthday with Josiah

Friday, August 15, 2008

Baby stuff

When Josiah was born, I pretty much had nothing bought for him; just a couple of sleepers and a package of diapers really. My brother and SIL gave me a bassinet as a gift so I didnt think there was anything else that I would immediately need. And I was right, mostly. Im breastfeeding so bottles and all that feeding gear was useless. Im not even pumping yet so I didnt even need it for backup. Ive decided with this baby to decide as I go what he needs and hopefully save money in the long run.

Problem is, he likes everything! During his fussy couple of weeks with thrush he needed to be comforted constantly and that is taxing on a single mom. I would stand swinging him in his carseat FOREVER waiting for him to go to sleep. So from this I decided to buy him a swing. It took awhile to find one used in the area but I finally did a few days ago. He absolutely loves it! I got it for a steal at $65 and its one of those neat two position ones that can swing forwards and sideways.

I knew from the get go that I would need a double stroller. I sold my tiny car when I was still pregnant because there was no way in hell all those car seats were going to fit. So now Im without a car and do a lot of walking. That will be fine until the winter but Im hoping to find a decent van before then. Like the swing though, I didnt want to spend the full price of a new one so Ive been looking forever for something local and used. But I eventually was successful and the guy dropped it off the same day I got my swing. I only paid $60 for the stroller and even the cheapest one I could find in a store was $180. It is obviously worn but my boys will be just as rough with it anyway and as long as it works and is clean, Im happy. It also has a little steering wheel for Michael in the front seat, which he will love!

Ive ruled out the need for an infant bathtub for the little guy but that was more because mine is in storage while we wait for our house and I wasnt going to shell out the money for another one. I loved mine too with Michael and I was looking forward to getting some more use out of it. It came with a little shower head so that you could rinse baby with fresh was just so darn neat! Ive gotten used to bathing him in the regular big tub now though and I cant see me switching to the infant one so late in the game.

My newest purchase has been for a wrap. Ive decided that if I do have to go a little further and take a bus, a big double stroller is going to be inconvenient. The rules here are that children have to be taken out of strollers while on the bus and the stroller must be collapsed; not so easy to do with a double. So if I could get away with putting the baby into a wrap and Michael into his regular stroller/umbrella stroller/harness it may be easier. But instead of shelling out the $50 to order a wrap online, I once again browsed the local classifieds. I couldnt find anything for a wrap (about a million slings though, even though I cant see how they can be any good at all) so I posted an ad and a lady sent me an email about how easy it was to make your own. Now, Im not a crafty person by any means but with her simple directions, I went ahead and made my own:

So my super smart plan to wait and let my baby decide what I should buy has backfired and had me spending any freetime browsing online ads. I had saved money on every purchase so far ($265 in total for three baby items) and everything will be able to be sold again when Im finished with it so I guess it wasnt a complete failure of the system.

What about you oh wise internet, what items did you absolutely love with your babies and what could you do without?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Its Make Over Time

OK. Hmmm. Alright. So it seems that I've really let myself go in the last oh year or so. No wait, it has definitely been longer because last summer, I was a MESS! Ugh, I don't even like to think about that time in my life. I guess I did clean up a bit last fall though, I mean I did have a man and I did get PREGNANT. So maybe I should just say that during my last pregnancy, I let myself go. OK, glad I got that settled. Sheesh.

I haven't had a hair cut since last October and Im pretty much totally embarrassed to go back to the upscale salon/spa that I usually go to. What makes it worse is that my stylist is actually really good friends with The Ex. I noticed that he had a fresh hair cut this past Sunday when he was dropping off the boys though so Im guessing he wont be back to see her for a bit yet. Maybe if I go see her now, she'll forget all that we talk about and wont have any dirt to give up to him. Nah, that's more of a joke, well kinda. But I do feel uncomfortable talking with her about him and she always brings him up. But really, I am in serious need of a total do-over on this thing that sits atop my head. And that is why I have made an appointment for Saturday. Yay, go me! Ha!

Aside from the hair, there's a lot of other "stuff" that I need to take care of. But I will start at the beginning cause I know how all the numbers just sound like "blah blah blah." So Im lucky enough to not usually gain much or any weight during my pregnancies. I gained 10lbs with Rayden and lost 1lbs with Michael. Now with Josiah I stayed at the exact same weight the entire pregnancy. I wasn't very small when he was conceived and at the first doc appointment I weighed 188 lbs. At my last doc appointment I also weighed 188 lbs. It was pretty cool. At Josiah's 1 week check-up I had lost 22lbs weighing 166. He is now 5 weeks old and I weigh 163. It hasn't been coming off nearly as fast as I would like it to this past month, but considering the large boost that I started with, Im quite happy. My goal though is 140. Im 5'7 so that isn't anywhere near skinny but a nice number for me. Oh, and might I add ONLY 23lbs TO GO!

So considering both of these areas of myself that I need to get under control, I've decided to start a make over of sorts on myself. The weight loss will continue until I get there and since the cold weather is on its way, it may take awhile. Im hoping for more like 6 months tops but we'll see. But the fun part is that Im going to do something that will make me feel better about myself each week. Im not really talking about the repeat-five-things-you-like-about-yourself-in-the-mirror type feeling better, but more the shopping! getting my hair done! girls night! type things. This will be the first week with my new do on Saturday. I haven't decided yet but I think next week will be a new pair of jeans. Right now I spend most days in pjs and its really getting depressing. (See below!)

Just to show you what we're working with here, this pic was taken on Rayden's birthday last Friday. Be warned before you scroll any's a little scary!

Notice how baggy the top is? Ya, that's cause I wore it last month, while I was pregnant! Wish me luck.

Sans Naps

Yesterday marked the first day that Michael will no longer be taking naps. I hate to give them up so early I mean he is only 21 months, but he really needs to. Most nights he is awake until at least 10 and sometimes even later. Ive always been a put-the-kids-early-to-bed kind of person so this just isn't working for our family. One of the biggest things that I establish early on is an early bedtime and an early rise. Usually 7-7 works for me. I am totally willing to get out of bed early so that I can have a peaceful evening to myself. When I just had Rayden we would sometimes be up at 5am having breakfast because he went down for the night at 6. That was when he was a small baby but he has continued this pattern and still prefers to go to bed early.

So Day One was a little challenging, especially since Josiah was fussy for a lot of the day. Around 3pm Michael really wanted to take and nap and he kept asking me for a bottle because he was sooky. I eventually distracted him with a snack and some play time and then he seemed to have a second wind until about 8pm last night.

Today is definitely harder already and it is only lunch time. He started to get tired around 11 this morning and will probably crash in a few hours. From doing this before though with my older two, I know that after about 3-4 days of consistency in this new schedule, he will reset his sleep at night so that he gets more out of it and isn't as tired during the day.

I have no idea what we are going to do together when the older two are in school next month and Josiah is sleeping. I was really looking forward to that time for myself so that I could get the normal daily things done. This way I guess he and I will have some quality time together though that Im sure he is sorely missing since the new bambino came along.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tid Bit

Me: "What are we going to have for lunch?"
Chris: "I don't know. Im not the boss, you are!"

Sunday, August 10, 2008

One Month

Josiah turned one month yesterday. I never would have thought that time could go as fast as it does when you have four small children. My God, it feels like maybe a week has past since I was sitting here day after day just waiting for this child to GET OUT OF MY BODY! I went to L&D three times before he was actually born, which made it feel like he was taking even longer. But eventually he came and he was perfect.

His birth was such an empowering experience. The room was all only women; from my labour coaches to the doctor and nurses. Right from the start everyone took the approach that I knew what I was doing and they all just let me do what I needed to do. It wasn't as perfect as I wanted it to be considering I had to have a few stitches and it took four hours. I was GBS+ so I had to be attached to an IV bag which limited my position options. I prefer to labour standing up as much as possible because it moves things along much faster and I believe it gives the perineum a chance to stretch. I spent this entire labour on my back though in the bed until the last ten minutes or so. I had to move to a squatting position because he would start to move down and then go back up again. Oh what fun labour is! But for my last child, it was still a wonderful experience.

It is hard to tell what Josiah's personality will be but for now he is a happy baby that loves faces and socializing. I can tell that he is listening when I sing or talk to him and he just started to coo and make noises back. He smiled for the first time (for real!) the day before he was one month. In the few days since then he has perfected the art, smiling almost every time he looks at some one's face. It is one of the most precious things I have ever seen.

He also loves baths in really warm water. My baby bath tub that I bought for Michael is still put away from the move so Josiah has been taking baths in the big tub. I hold him with one had behind his head and his little body just floats around while he coos. Even when I take him out to dry him off and get his pjs on, he is still so happy and content that he rarely cries.

Early on though Josiah developed thrush and I attribute that to the antibiotics that I had during labour for the GBS. It took me a couple days to get him into the doctor and by then his tongue was thickly coated. I was also in a lot of pain and had to psych myself up just to put him on the breast! After a few days of his medication though both he and I started to get better. I was using a cream as well which I have continued to use because Josiah's tongue still has a hint of white even though his medication has been finished for a while. While he was still taking the medication though, it gave him terrible pains and gas and the poor guy was so fussy every day. It was all I could do to get through the two weeks.

When he was over the medicine, he started acting colicky. Im still not sure what is causing his screaming fits but he is obviously in pain and has a lot of gas. Im experimenting with my diet now though and he has had a few good days so I know it has to do with food. I haven't quite figured out all of what bothers him but I do know that I have to cut out whole grain bread and pitas, watermelon and instant oatmeal. I also tried to drink a little gingerale, but I think that bothered him too. Rayden had a lot of sensitivities to foods that I ate as well so Im sure this will be a similar experience of having to really watch what I eat and how it affects him.

On days when he isn't in pain, Josiah is sleeping really well. Through out the day he sleeps mostly in a chair because he refuses his bassinet. I have to get more strict about it but for now I just need him to sleep so I can get things done. He is awake for an hour or so in the morning while everyone is getting up and dressed and while I am making breakfast. He usually falls asleep in his chair watching all the goings on then I move him into a quiet room for a couple hours. Then throughout the day he wakes long enough to be changed and have a feed before dozing off again. Around supper time he wakes again and watches all the happenings of the house. After supper we play and have family time before he goes down again for the night. If he wakes in the late afternoon however he will usually have another awake time around 10pm which keeps me up and makes me Cranky the next day. So I try to avoid that.

All around I don't think this month has been too hard on us as a family and we are adjusting well. Josiah fits perfectly with his brothers and they all seem to be ok with him (for now!). Hopefully this next month will bring more of the same, except with a little more sleep for me.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Writer Failure

So Ive failed my self-challenge of posting here every day. To be fair, it has been a busy couple of days with Rayden's 7th birthday and all. But even though I have been posting, I cant stop thinking about my blog. Do you other bloggers do that? It may just be the novelty of having a new blog or maybe Im just crazy like that; who knows? What Ive been worried about though is how I come off. Like Ive mentioned, Im not sharing this blog with my real life peeps and so the only medium through which you have to know me are these words. That is probably one of the worst things I could say to fellow bloggers though because for the most part we are not supposed to care about what people think of us. I also started this blog as a place to document my thoughts and life with the added bonus of community and networking thrown in. But I do care, in a not-really kind of way. Could you imagine what internet rejection would be like? Yuck!

So back to where I was going with this; Im not a great writer. Im not witty or creative and I have no idea about grammer or other english major type stuff. To be honest, I dropped out of school after grade nine and barely passed the writing portion of the GED 3 years later. My four years of university is the only thing saving me from sounding like a cave woman trying to communicate with a series of grunts and odd gestures.

Despite my failings as a writer, Im willing to push through and keep up with this blog and hopefully one day find my voice. Who ever I am will eventually come through in my writing as I relax a bit and get comfortable with the whole idea.

Because I hate to end it on a negative note, here are some cutie pictures of the newest addition:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Been there, done that

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to just leave everything behind and hit the open road? Pack up your belongings, say goodbye to your job and everything else and just leave with no idea of what lies ahead? I think its safe to say that a large portion of the western world has flirted with the idea, even if only a little. Personally, Ive thought about it on many occasions and have in fact done just that. It wasn't as romantic as the movies or my daydreams would make it out to be and even now I look back on it as just another part of my life. But it was an adventure and it was fun.

I was a new mom and faced with raising my son alone in the town where I grew up or heading off with my crazy family for a province we had never even seen. Obviously I chose to follow them blindly, but with every intention to move back if things didn't work out. So we sent all of our belongings with a mover and an agreement that he would store everything until we decided on a new town. We had no idea at the time but it took about two months to find one and for those two months I was living out of a suitcase with an infant.

At the time I really thought we were crazy and I occasionally regretted the decision. Here we are though coming up on 7 years in October and Im still living here. My parents settled in a smaller town about an hour or so outside of the capital city and I tried that for awhile, but it just wasn't for me. I relocated in a much more urban environment and Ive lived in the same neighborhood ever since.

What brought about this walk down memory lane today was my mother's mention of her applying for a job in the wilderness of the NWT. And Im talking WILD-ER-NESS, like north of the arctic circle. She recently finished a masters degree in counselling psych so she is now on the job hunt and our current province, just doesn't seem to cut it. My dad as well is just finishing up a BA in anthropology and his options are also limited as he wants to pursue a higher degree; hence the drastic move, AGAIN. This is all still early, as they are just applying for jobs so really there is about a 50% chance that it will actually happen. But still. It just seems crazy to completely uproot yourself twice in a lifetime without a clear path. This time I guess is a little different than the last because they would at least have jobs to be going to. Sigh, what a big thumper to get smacked with.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

To Clarify

I realised after I published the last post that if anyone does happen to read this then they may be a bit confused about my situation. So to clarify, at least partly:

The kids last summer at our local botanical gardens

  • I have four children, all boys
  • The first was born when I was 18 and his dad didn't want to be a dad
  • When I was 19 I met my ex-husband who I then had two more children with
  • When our third was only a few months old, the Ex moved out
  • Somehow I managed to find myself pregnant again when my third turned one but this time with a guy I hadn't been seeing very long
  • The guy disappeared when I told him
  • Baby number four was born July 2008 and I haven't spoken with his dad since Dec 2007
  • Ex Husband is engaged and had a baby girl in June 2008 (2 wks before mine was born)
  • All the kids live with me and the three oldest visit the Ex

I also realise that this post opens me up for a whole lot of judgement and criticism. I am prepared for the first however I will not accept the second. I am writing here for myself, as a benefit to me. I have chosen to be completely honest about my situation and the mistakes and choices that I have made in the past. If you can not accept me and only want to criticise then please move along, no one is forcing you to read.

After the Fact

My ex-mom-in-law and I didn't really get along all the while I was with her son. It wasn't as if she was particularly mean or anything, we just never really felt comfortable with each other. We were pleasant none the less and we certainly got along better than FIL and I did, like times a million. After the break up though things got worse long before they got better. After about a year or so of her son being an ass however, she started to turn around a little bit.

Whats so great now is that she actually steps in and gives me a break, like all the time. Our custody arrangement is pretty pathetic as the Ex only takes the kids Sundays from 10-4 and comes by our house Wednesday evenings with his fiance for about a half hour. If that wasn't bad enough, the guy pretty much stopped coming Wednesdays when his new daughter was born at the end of June. But then to my surprise in comes MIL to pick up the kids and take them out for an afternoon before depositing them back to me with full bellies and lots of fun stories. She even makes sure Michael doesn't have a nap so he'll actually go to bed on time. The Ex doesn't even do that on Sundays so my Sunday nights are HELL. The greatest thing about all of this though is that the ex-MIL does this every single week, even twice sometimes. Take today for example. The kids are at the mall right now surely running around causing all sorts of trouble and I don't have to deal with it. I mean I feel a little bad for the 60+ year old woman that has to chase them, but hell I gave her a stroller for the little one so at least she is mobile.

The really sad part that has me dreading the rest of the summer is that this woman is leaving for a whole month to visit her daughter in Ontario. I have no idea how I am going to manage having all four of them for 96% of every week until at least Rayden goes back to school and (hopefully) Chris starts preschool. I can barely manage a weekly trip to the grocery store with the babe as it is. I don't know, maybe Im just being overly worried about nothing. I did handle three kids all by myself and the youngest of them was only a babe, so whats one more?