Adventures in running

Since being done work I have had a time to get back to running. It feels good to get out there again, although I am not signed up for any races so I’m having trouble pushing myself further or faster. I just jog around aimlessly, listening to filthy rap music or Marc Maron’s podcast for about half an hour.

A few weeks ago, I got chased by a puppy. I thought I could hear barking but just kept on my way since dogs often bark at me. Then a six(ish) month old German Shepherd flew by me all gangly and silly. I pulled out my earbuds and knelt down, and he came to me tentatively. Meanwhile his owner was booting it up the street after him, causing him to dash off and back a few times (such a fun game! Pro-tip – chasing your dog will just make him run further and faster!). Apparently they were in the middle of practicing some training commands. I wanted to make a suggestion of a long training lead, but bit my tongue and smiled, and went on my way.

Often as I’m cruising along I encounter super fun roadkill. Squirrels. Birds. Rabbits. Skunks. In the city I had to watch for dog poo; in the country I keep an eye out for horse poo.

Last week I got chased by a Doberman. Again, super friendly and wanting to play, but his owner didn’t even notice him running into the street after me. I led him back to his yard, where his sibling dog (a big lazy Bernese) welcomed him, and his owner continued gardening obliviously.

But yesterday was my most exciting adventure so far! As I came over a hill I noticed what looked like a dead raccoon in the middle of the road. But as I approached it moved slightly, then I realized it was a turtle! A giant snapping turtle. A few years ago we found one in our pool filter and I thought it was big, but this Turtle! This Turtle was gigantic!

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I grabbed a stick to try and bait it – and Turtle ferociously snapped at it. However it didn’t grab hold like I hoped it would so I could pull it off the road. I then tried to use the stick to push it off the road, but that strategy resulted in Turtle jumping at me and trying to bite the stick. Things were not going well, then a nice pair of landscapers stopped their truck – one of them used to have a pet turtle and felt comfortable to grab its shell while I distracted it. Turtle flailed wildly and the dude dropped him on the first try, but we reset and finally got him into the woods which is the photo you see above. I wish I had taken a photo of Turtle beside my shoe or something, for scale.

To S, who is 4.

I can’t believe you are four years old. It’s so cliche, but it really does feel like yesterday that I was laboring in the tub, letting your dad sleep while trying to tell if you were being for real, or just fooling me.

For three years and probably 9 months you were the joy of our lives. While your sister can be mercurial, you were our easy going boy with a wry smile and a sunny disposition. The last three months you have been…. more difficult. You are starting to have opinions about everything and you need to test your boundaries. We’ll get through it, but I wish you’d get over it sooner rather than later. I want to go back to the moments when we’re driving in the car and you yell “Mama?” and I think you want to point something out to me but when I say “what?” you just say “I love you.”

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I could talk about your relationship with your sister for days. You worship her, there is no doubt. But, when you are together, it’s often like two cats in a bag. There will be tears. There may be bloodshed. You rely on each other, though, and I hope you continue to do so forever.

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I think a lot about the kind of man I want you to be. You have plenty of great role models between your dad, your uncles, and your grandfather, so that is a big bonus. But the way our world is right now… ugh, it makes me worry. I want you to be joyful, compassionate, intelligent, brave… so many things that seem to currently be of very little value. And you are so, so little, and the problems in this world are so, so big.

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But, instead of worrying about all that today, I’m going to make you laugh, make you sing, dance with you and give you a cupcake. You are my silly goose. You are my clever fox. You are my sweetest, sweetest boy.

Love, Mama.

M’s current obsession

Before the holidays, I did a lot (okay, I visited like three websites) of research on the age-appropriateness of Harry Potter for M. My go-to resource now is Common Sense Media, which appears to have pretty much everything you can think of, great reviews and advice before you introduce anything to your kids.

As with any resource, I used it as a guideline to decide that M, age 5 at the time, could handle the first book, so I ordered the box set for Xmas and in January we got to crackin. We read it together, because although she is starting to recognize words, and tries sounding out others, M is obviously not ready to read a giant chapter book on her own yet. Our rule is we can only watch the movie once we have completed the book, which is my general rule in life, but also helps her be prepared for any scary parts the movie may depict.

My intention was to read a book a year, or every six months….

But, dudes, she is seriously obsessed. Not only did we burn through that book, but we’ve blasted through two others and are 2/3 done the fourth. She loves it so much I’m able to use it as bargaining power when she’s being a ninny and doesn’t want to (eat dinner/take a bath/come inside/not fight with her brother).

For her birthday, she received several Harry related items – namely the first 4 movies from my mom and my sister. They came just in time, since we finished the first book right around then. She ran around talking with a British accent for three full days after watching that movie, and continues to do so quite often.

She also received a gift card to Chapters from my other sister, and lo and behold we found the perfect gift there.

Ms. PotterI’m having so much fun with this obsession of hers. I have neither read nor watched anything Potter related ever. I was never interested when it was originally being released, then when we had kids I made the conscious decision to wait to read it with her for the first time. And while we’re having an impossible time sticking to the Common Sense Media suggested age-appropriateness, I’m over the moon that she loves it so much, and I can’t wait until she’s reading again, next time to me.

Pressing the brake

I’m struggling a bit on the sharing front here on the old bloggy-o.  I’m pretty much an open book, I think you would agree. I have tons of issues, and I’m generally up front about them, and when they concern other people I try to gloss over the details. But now my kids are of an age where shit is getting real, and I’m questioning my capacity as a human to deal with them, and trying to work all that out. Usually part of my process would be to post here, to share, and get feedback.

But is that fair to my kids? Cause they definitely have their own shit that’s started to develop, and I don’t feel I have a right broadcasting that. But these things, and how I feel about them, are so tightly woven through my self-work that it’s hard to blur them out and still get to the root of the issues as they relate to me.

I’ve seen other bloggers take steps back from sharing their kids’ stuff when they reached school age, and always wondered why. Now I get it. No amount of “anonymity” that I give them here really amounts to much. I just erased a very long post about something we’re going through right now because shit if I didn’t ask myself “what if I was reading this about myself, written by my mom?” If I post about something shitty they are doing, or something difficult, I’m sure once they are internet-aged they’re gonna be real pissed about it. And I don’t need to add that to the list. The very, very long list.

 

Three Weeks In

Part of the purpose for leaving my job was to get our home running more smoothly. After spring break was over, I literally threw myself into this task by beginning the purging, cleaning, tidying, updating, repairing etc process.

And I’m not going to lie – it’s completely overwhelming. We have done little to nothing inside our home since we moved in five years ago. For instance today I transferred my spices to magnetic jars that I bought when we moved here. Five years ago.

Our housekeeping routine also has a poor track record. While it hasn’t been quite 5 years since the last cleaning, we generally rely on parties and company coming to motivate us to get it up to snuff. This means a HUGE spring clean is underway. And that means moving furniture…. and lifting…. and reaching….  and bending.

Ya, so I broke my back.

Not really, but I could barely move for three days. So now I’m trying to eeeaaaase into it. My joke for the week has been that I tried to go Medieval Housemaid when I’m more at a Xanax and Chardonnay level… M has even started helping me by boosting me out of her bed after we read Harry Potter at night. BECAUSE I CAN’T ROLL OVER.

So, three weeks in, I feel like I’ve been making a difference?  Maybe? My first “reno” project is M’s room, because there isn’t that much to do other than decorative stuff. We do want to do some big reno projects, but as excited I am to get those going, I do recognize there is a lot on my plate.

Our first March Break!

Kindergarten is in full swing, with all its ups and downs, but one of the benefits is that M gets a real-live spring break. We had considered different day camps for her, but when we decided I would leave work earlier than originally planned, we timed it so that I could spend the week with her.

We took the opportunity to practice our skating, and by the end of the week she could do a full lap of the rink (and more) without pushing a learning bar and without falling.

We spent an afternoon painting ceramics with her auntie, which was super fun, although by the end of it the adults were pimping out their projects while M watched some Netflix. Don’t be fooled, though, she is very excited to get her finished project – she asks me every day when it will be ready (firing takes two weeks).

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Our biggest outing was to the Museum of Nature in Ottawa, which is really not that far away, and since Ontario has a different spring break week than we do the museum traffic was tolerable. The main draw to the museum was the Dinosaur exhibit, however as we pulled into the parking area M started to freak out and scream that she was too scared and didn’t want to go. We had just driven over an hour to get there, and she had been talking about it for days, so I wasn’t willing to give in. I literally had to drag her out of the car, which I’m sure may have looked alarming to outside eyes, but we got inside, and both decided to leave the dinosaurs to the very end.

I underestimated her curiosity greatly, and also was very surprised by the things that interested her most. While she enjoyed the mammals, the reptiles, and the ocean (albeit was a little worried about the huge whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling), she was most engaged while we explored the Earth exhibit. Yup, my six year old really digs rocks, planets, and plate tectonics.

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We did make it to the dinosaurs, and while she refused to look at the life-like replicas, she was very into the fossilized versions!

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We also spent some time just relaxing and being lazy. One thing that really surprises me is how different she is without her brother around. So much easier, a lot more grown up and responsible. The two of them together are like two racoons in a sack.

I would like to say we had some kind of crazy bonding moment, or that I learned something about our relationship that I didn’t know, but I can’t. We just had a really great week. I feel so lucky that we got to share it, because one thing I did realize how fast she is growing up.

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**watch this space

**watch this space

We are fixing to make 2017 our bitch.

We have all kinds of things shaking up our household this year, and hopefully our gambles will pay off in a big way.

E changed jobs, which is a pretty giant deal after being in the same role for around 15 years. His new workplace is about 8 minutes from home. After commuting an hour each way give or take a bazillion hours when there was traffic, this should improve our quality of life immensely.

Oh, and also, I quit my job. There are many, many, many reasons, but suffice it to say nothing was working. Home certainly wasn’t working,and work definitely wasn’t working, which meant my brain was spinning in on itself 24/7. We traveled to Mexico again – as family we needed it very badly, and I have to say the sunshine did me some good. And then one day after our return I was back to square one, struggling, miserable, stressed. That’s not normal.

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So I quit. March 3rd was my last day, and I have spent this week at home with M for her March break and finding my breathing space. I have a lot of plans – for myself, for our home, for the kids – but this week I’ve been concentrating on play, exploring, and trying to be with M in a positive way.

One thing I want to refocus on is this blog. I obviously need to change the title, since it has been 5 years since we’ve lived in the city, but I also intend to post more frequently. Hopefully the changes I make go smoothly, but please be patient with us while we rebuild.