Friday, September 28, 2012

Raising Boys World Article #5: On Boys and Noise

Hello readers!

Yesterday, my fifth article for Raising Boys World (RBW) was published!

I was invited a while back by this awesome website to be a monthly, contributing writer for them - but summer was incredibly busy - what with all of that raising boys that I do - and having them all at home with me required me to slow down a wee bit on the writing thang. 

In the meantime, RBW has continued to be incredibly supportive of my writing and this blog and left a standing invitation for me to submit articles.

So here we go again!

To read my past articles for RBW, please click here.

This new piece is about how incredibly loud life is when your home is full of members of the male persuasion. I am quite experienced with this as I have three little boys and a husband...but also grew up with 2 younger brothers.

Two of my three boys playing their "drums" and singing.

So here is the link:

As always, thanks to Tara, Renee and the entire RBW family for continuing to publish my work and for their on-going support and wonderful website!



Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm Tired of Being Tired

It seems as though I am tired all of the time.

Dare to dream.
Oh...I will take that dare!
I dream of getting more sleep.
But it is kinda hard to dream if you are not sleeping.
I am tired just thinking about it!

I'm tired when I go to bed.

I'm tired when I get up in the night because I can't sleep.

I'm tired in the morning when I rise.


I'm tired all day.

Maybe it's all the weed guys!

And I am tired of being tired!

I photo shopped out the toothpicks holding my eyes open!

It is rather tiring!

I mean, I get it. I'm a busy mom. All moms are tired to a certain degree. I know I am not alone here.

See? Here's another tired mom.

Part of my problem, I think, is that I can't quiet my mind enough to get much proper sleep. Ya know, that good, deep REM stuff that rejuvenates your body.

No, not the band REM.
And thanks Mr. Stipe. I appreciate the offer of a hug, but what I need are some Zzzzzzzzs.

I think a lot of the sleep that I do get is the lighter stuff...what I like to call "surface sleep". Sure, I am sleeping, but am I getting proper rest?

Me in the morning. OK, she is younger, but we have a similar hair colour!

Apparently not.

I photo shopped out the toothpicks once again. They looked a little creepy.
Actually, this pic of me still looks a little creepy.
Maybe I should get more sleep!

I have a baby which does not help matters. He wakes up in the night and I think my body has gotten used to "sleeping with one ear and one eye open". Since I became a mother over ten years ago, I have become a very light sleeper.

When I do get the opportunity to rest, I always feel as though I should or could be doing something more "productive" - as if getting proper rest is not worth my time.

Mother guilt kicks in. I have laundry to do and food to prepare and phone calls to make and shopping to do and cleaning to get done and jobs to apply for and writing to do and yadda, yadda, yadda.

It is that "yadda, yadda, yadda" in my head that won't shut the frick up!

And so, of late, I have been getting sick. In fact, I am sick right now. And I am here writing instead of sleeping.

Sometimes the justification I use is that if I get enough done first, I will be better able to sleep with the knowledge that some of the to dos on my list have been crossed off.

And this blog post is done. It is certainly not my finest work, but I am gonna let go of the guilt and get my ass into bed.

This is exactly how I look while I sleep.

Because I'm tired of being tired.

See...the toothpicks popped out and I can hardly keep my eyes open!

Short post. is my son's birthday...and I just finished running around getting all of the prep ready for when he gets home from school. I should feel guilty if I didn't do my annual 'birthday after-school surprise' horse and pony show! It's tradition!

Not bad for a tired, sick mom!

And so now...even though this blog post kinds sucks as I said...I am gonna take a nap.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Cloud Conversations

For as long as I can remember I have been rather fascinated with clouds.

I remember as a child, I used to sit on the little hill in my elementary school yard with my best friend Krista and ponder the white shapes in the sky. We loved to look and point out to each other the different shapes and pictures we saw.

This is not Krista and me...but you get the point.

"Look at that kinda looks little a bunny!"...or "Hey...that is a perfect heart!"

Cool! A bunny!

I have a heart on for this cloud heart! :)

Even on a mostly cloudy day, shapes and forms can be found in the spaces between the clouds.

Hmmmm...a square or a box found between the clouds.
What could this mean?
Kinda looks like it has cloud eyes.

Love this band and love this song!
You knew I was gonna do this...come on!

And to this day, I still enjoy doing this...both with my children and on my own.

I actually did a Silent Sunday post not too long ago with photos of clouds I had taken. You can take a look here.

Now this may seem a little juvenile and/or crazy and/or new-agey for you, but I also like to ask questions of the look to them for guidance...or signs.

If an angel cloud can't give you some sort of guidance, I don't know what cloud can!

Kind of like when a palm reader looks at the lines on your hand to predict the future, I like to look at the sky to see what is in store for me.

So that's what it's called.
I learn something new with every blog post I write!

Now I am not a superstitious person, but I think this is fun - and really, that is all it really is to me.

For example, I may take a topic - say "career" - and then say to myself "OK, the first image I can pick out of the sky via the clouds will have something to do with the next job I am going to get."

Then I will look up and see what I can see. Recently, I saw a giraffe.

This is not the giraffe I saw.
Actually, mine was there!
Too bad I didn't have my camera on me at the time!

Hmmmm. Maybe my next job will have something to do with animals. I am in non-profit management, so perhaps I will get a job for a non-profit that helps wildlife in some way?

Or maybe I will get a boss with a really long neck?

Or maybe that boss will look over my shoulder with that long neck to make sure everything I do is perfect. Oh no!

Or maybe I will be at that job for a really long time!

Or maybe I will stick my neck out to get the job done well!

Or maybe I will switch careers all all together and become a Zoologist and specialize in the study of giraffes!

Funny...just the other day I found - and bought - a giraffe-print, Lands End tunic shirt! I got it at Value Village - that's right! - for $6.99 dudes! I love a good cloud...and I love a good deal! And apparently, I love a good giraffe print!

And here it is!
Nice, right?

"Dude...stop looking at the clouds and check out Lora's shirt!
I dig it! Maybe I should get one!
Oh...wait...I already have a coat like that!
And hey! So do you dude!
We should really call each other before we get dressed in the morning.
This is embarrassing!
Let's make sure we wear different ensembles to the Zoo Awards next month!
I'll call my stylist!"

I just took a bathroom break - sorry for the TMI...but I realized that my shower curtain is kinda like a giraffe too.
I just discovered I have a thing for giraffes.
But wasn't this post about clouds?

OK...digressing here as usual!

In any case...I guess I will find out if my cloud giraffe sighting has anything to do with my next job when the time comes. In the meantime, I will wear my shirt and have my showers and hold my head...and neck...high.

So anyhoo...this is kind of how I play the "Cloud Conversation" game.

It all just really stems from my fascination with the natural world and my appreciation for its beauty. It is a fun way to really pay attention to something natural and enjoy a few moments of personal down time.

So the next time you are outside, enjoying the autumn breeze, try taking a look up and see what you can find.

And have a little conversation with the clouds.



Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Passing Ships

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. 
 - John Steinbeck

Marriage is not for the faint at heart peeps.

Apparently this ugly, grey nail polish is.
This colour is called Faint of Heart.

I know, I know. You are very welcome for the frickin' newsflash!

But here's the thing.

I write this nice, little bloggy blog about my nice, little family and my nice, little home and how I try to live my nice, little authentic life.

But this blog is not the whole picture.

This is me using funky photo apps to illustrate my blog not being the whole picture.
Hey dudes...I try!

And it never will be the whole picture.

Some things are not for sharing here in the blogosphere.

Anything is appropriate...but it depends on the blog and the person writing the blog...and the people involved in the personal stories that are shared on the blog.

For example, I tend not to write too much about my marriage. Not in too much personal detail because I believe much of that is sacred and my husband is a fairly private person - much more so than I am.

So I need to respect that. I want to respect that. And I am pretty sure I have succeeded thus far.

What I wanted to touch upon today is something that I think many of you who are married...especially married with children...will be able to relate to.

I had to. Sorry.

When you have been with your partner (even if you are not officially married) for a long time and you have young kids...often your relationship takes a back seat.

Yup. A back seat with the kids.

It seems to go in waves, in my personal experience.

I'm still waiting for this particular wave. ;)

Just to give you a brief overview - for those of you who don't already know - I met my husband 16 years ago and we have been married since April, 2000.

This is my husband and I on our wedding day.
OK...I lie.
That was yesterday afternoon.
(We are trying to spice things up.)
But seriously now...

We proceeded fairly swiftly to have our first son in September, 2001.

Our second son was born in March, 2004.

Then (surprise!), our youngest son came along quite a bit later in October, 2010.

Of course I am gonna show you another photo of my boys!
And yes...this is really them.

Since we met, we have owned 3 homes in two different cities.

I have held 5 different jobs - each one with increased responsibility - at 5 different companies.

My husband has been with the same company for over 20 years.

After my first son was born I went back to work after my one-year maternity leave. After my second son was born I stayed home for about 3 years. After I went back to work, I ended up getting laid off after a year and then stayed home for close to another year. Then I went back again. Then I got pregnant with my youngest...broke my feet and started an early maternity leave by lying in bed for 3 months.

Thing is...he is just as busy as I am.

My youngest will be two in October and I am still at home. Yes I have been earning a bit of money writing...but I am now ready to go back to work full-time.

OMG! Can I do all of this?
(I use "OMG", because I am trying to be young and hip...despite my recent 40th birthday.
Speaking of hips, mine hurts. I must be getting old.
Never mind. I didn't say that!)

So all of this being said...we have been rather busy.

A cheesy stock image of parents being busy.

And I realize we are not special.

All parents are busy.

And this is the main excuse we all have for letting our marriages slide to the proverbial back burner.

Back seat...back burner...whatever.
And hey...who knew there was a beer called "back burner"?
Ahhhh, the school of life never ceases to amaze me.
I'll take a 2-4 eh?

The one person that should be the most important person in your life, slowly but surely becomes a passing ship in the night...a co-parenting roomie...the person who sleeps next to you when a scared child or a cranky baby isn't instead.

Pretty much.

And I'm here to tell you that it happens to the best of us.

It is no wonder why divorce rates are so frickin' high.

When you and your partner are so busy with children and demanding jobs, there is little time or energy for much else.

But at some point, you either have to get your priorities straight or your marriage will implode.

I say this because my marriage has been through many ups and downs. Most marriages experience this.

Those who don't probably are very static and dull.

Now if you claim to feel bliss all the time in your marriage...enjoy!

I am not here to argue with that! You are either in denial...or you are incredibly lucky...and I am sure you know in your heart which one you are. If you are grateful for that indeed!

In my case, I found that with each new baby came some low points. Post partum depression did not help. Being at home for long stretches of time did not help either.

I have accepted that I am a happier person and a better, more balanced mother and wife when I work.

So I am on the job hunt once again.

But in the meantime, my husband and I have come to the realization that we need to pay more attention to our relationship.

We need to give it more priority.

We need to nurture it in small ways on a daily basis...not just when we have time or are not busy...because really, we rarely have time and we are always busy.

What we have learned through experience is that we need to make time and put some of our busy-work on the back burner. we need to take care of our marriage like we take care of our children.

Because if we are not happy...any toxicities that develop as a result seep in to our kids. And if our marriage were to implode...well...obviously that would affect our children greatly.

So we must do this not despite our children...but for them. And for ourselves. Because we are the backbone of this family.

Every marriage...every different.

I am not saying all marriages can or should be saved. I am not saying working is for all moms (or dads).

All I am doing is sharing my experience.

Communicate your wants and needs to your partner. Even if it is difficult and there are arguments.

Most meaty arguments mean that you need to get to the bottom or the core of something important. The other alternative is to remain silent and non communication is the silent killer of the majority of marriages that don't make it.

Not fun.

Marriage is work.

I used to think it shouldn't have to be work...but it is. Most things worth having in life involve difficult times and effort.

On the other hand, marriage should also be fun. It should involve laughter and joy and happiness.

"We are married and 22 years old and have no kids and are on vacation in Hawaii.
No wonder we are having fun!!!"
But seriously...

There need to be a balance.

So here we are...on that teeter totter, up and down, back and forth. Trying to help each other find a balance both as a couple and as individuals.

Bobble head couple on a teeter totter.
Who would buy this shit?

It ain't easy. But we are giving it our best shot.

And that's all we can do.



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Roasted Kale Chips (Trust Me!)

I have made no secret of the fact that I am lookin' to get healthier.

And part of this quest includes my journey to finally lose that frickin baby weight!

I know, I baby is almost two.

It has been a long journey!

And part of this journey includes figuring out my weak spots and trying to remedy them with healthier alternatives.

So like many others, I am an evening snacker.

Here I am eating and watching bad, reality TV.

I can go all day...up to and including dinner...eating pretty darn well.

But once the kids are in bed and no one is watching...well...often all hell breaks loose!

This is the time when I crave those evil, complex carbs!

Evil buggers!

Chocolate, cookies, bread...oh my!

If only I could lock my mouth shut after 8pm, I would probably look like frickin Heidi Klum.

Including the wings and light-up underwear!

OK...maybe not. But my ass would be slightly smaller at the very least.

So where am I going with this?

Well peeps...I am gonna tell you about a healthy snack.


All hail the mighty kale! be precise...Roasted Kale Chips!

Sounds pretty yummy, right?


Yeah...that was my reaction too.

I have a friend who suggested this snack because it had helped him with his weight loss journey. I was, like "ummm...yeah dude...I'll try those pronto!"

My have when my friend suggested I try kale chips.

And then I didn't.

A few months later, I was at my sister-in-law's place and she started munching on something crunchy that resembled dehydrated seaweed.

Mmmmmmmm....dehyrated seaweed. Yuuuummmmmmyyyyyyy!!!!

What I meant was Grrrrroooooosssssss!

"Want some roasted kale?" she asked.

So I told her that a friend had recently recommended this "treat" and so I decided to give it a whirl.

And guess what? I rather enjoyed it!

Me like me some kale chips!

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I went to the market and bought me a honkin' bunch of fresh kale to try my hand at making my own!

So here's the recipe. Nice and simple!

Take a bunch of kale and wash and dry. Then cut the leaves from the stems.

Toss with some olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Lay as flat as possible on a lightly olive-oiled backing sheet (you will probably need to do this a few times if you are doing a large bunch).

Bake at 350 for about 7 minutes. Take out and turn. Bake for another 3-4 minutes or until crisp. 

(The first few times there may be a bit of trial and error concerning the time as all ovens are different. If the kale starts to turn brownish it is over-done. You can still eat 'em...but they taste better when they are crisp but still green).

Here's what mine looked like:

Not bad for a kale chip virgin...but a little over-done.
Still tasty though!

Here's a pic of what they should look like:

These ones are still on the stem, so technically not chips.
The stems are kinda tough so ya gotta eat the kale off of them.

My husband liked them. My 11 year old son liked them. My 8 year old son liked them. are a few tips (because I'm nice that way!):

1. Best to brush you teeth after indulging in kale chips. Trust me.
2. Kale chips on a salad add a nice crunch without the crouton carbs! Yum!

So there you have it! Enjoy!

Now I gotta get me some more kale!