The Truth About Bullies

A long time ago, back when I had a toddler and an infant, I was at the park with the two of them. Park play was a lot more difficult back then because I had to be right beside them in pretty much everything they did. Well, perhaps I didn’t but I was kind of a hover-mom back in the day.

Anyways there I am at the park with my almost four year old and my almost two year old. I am pushing Sophie on the baby swings when I notice Lars trying to play with a kid a little older than him. Back then Lars wasn’t as reserved as he is now, so even though the kid clearly didn’t want anything to do with my four year old, Lars was persistent. Funny thing about kids, they don’t really have that insecurity thing going on. I was about to tell my son to give it a rest and come over to the swings with me and Soph when the kid up and pushed him to the ground and began to scream at him that he didn’t want to play. This invoked a white hot rage in myself that I was not actually aware of and for a split second I envisioned myself in a jail cell due to punting a seven year old to next Thursday.

The kid’s mom had witnessed this too and went over to discipline her child, rightly so. Thank God she had seen the spectacle because if I were to have to tell her that her child was the little shit weasel that pushed my son, I probably wouldn’t have been tight-tongued about the issue. No amount of censorship could have stopped the atrocity of words that would have exited my mouth. Admittedly I go sort of ballistic when somebody comes after my own.

After the park incident Lars was a lot more cautious around strange children, never again running up and worming his way into a game of tag. In a way it makes me sad, and I wonder if the bully at the park that day took away a little piece of Lars’ Larsness. Nevertheless it is something that every child will probably endure at some point in their adolescent life, the hard truth is, there are bullies around every corner.

My dad has taught me many things over the years but something that has always stuck is that family must stick up for one another. Maybe that is where the deep seated anger came in when I saw my son being bullied. Maybe it was simply a primal motherhood instinct that I experienced. It wasn’t the first time I’d witnessed a family member of mine being tormented and it wouldn’t be the last. Sadly children aren’t the only people who get picked on by their peers. And each time I see someone I love being hurt by another I can feel that familiar anger begin to bubble.

A girl I know who is much wiser than her years once told me that she feels sorry for the people we as society deem as bullies. Me, being the hot headed person that I am, disagreed with the statement as soon as it left her lips. How could she feel sorry for the browbeaters of this world?

Just hear me out, she said. These people who try to damage others by physical hurt or name calling are so unimaginably broken in their own lives that they must project that misery upon the other people, the happy people.

She was right. It is so obvious and I’m sure that deep down we all know why bullies walk among us and how they’ve been created. The truth is we don’t want to admit it because it is so much more satisfying to meet hatred with hatred. Understanding takes work.

One day in the future I or another human I love may feel the oppressive hand of bullying once more. I will want to retaliate. I will want to meet hatred with hatred. I will want to stoop down to that level of name calling and crudeness.

However then I will bring to mind the words of my friend. I will recall the happiness that is experienced everyday in my family. The absolute love we have for each other and the euphoric feeling of togetherness that we share.

In the end, once the initial anger has flit away, all there will be left to do is feel sorry for the unhappy people. And then maybe we can begin to spread joy and understanding to those who need it most.

Partnerships Aren’t Always Pretty

When I was twelve I played badminton. I loved it. I was never a diehard sports fan but when it came to playing badminton with my best friend Janelle, we were unbeatable—of course I mean that in a metaphorical sense. Janelle was the brawns…And well let’s face it, she was the brains too.  I was mostly there to make weird and erratic gestures at our opponents to distract them while ole Nelly smashed the birdie into their court.  What can I say, we had a killer system.

Now maybe it was our genius strategy that made us great, or maybe it was just that we had a perfect partnership. We knew how to work together and we ran with that. Have you ever been the other half of a truly amazing duo? I hope so, it’s a wonderful feeling.

Luckily for me, my badminton days weren’t the last of the great partnerships in my life.

“MOM! You’re the worst!” Sophie yells at me because I will not open up the third bite sized chocolate bar she has requested in the last fifteen minutes.

“Nope, you don’t need anymore!” I say because I can blatantly see the cataclysmic sugar rush she is already coming down off of.

“YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING!” She screams. I wonder if we will one day have this same conversation but instead it will be about her wearing a skirt that is too short or going out on a date with a dude whose pants are held up by his ankles and cannot form full sentences when he speaks. I’ll have to worry about that later though, for now I send her to her room and she slams the door.

Ten minutes later I hear a CRASH-BOOM-BANG coming from Lars’ room. In all honesty I am not in a huge hurry to discover what has happened because I have simply had my fill of drama for this day. I can already hear the children squabbling.

“Okay guys settle down, what’s the problem?” I ask. It seems that they don’t hear me. “Sophie, aren’t you supposed to be in your bedroom right now?” Again my words manage to be drifting directly over their tiny heads and straight out the window. How curious. “Ahem! Children- listen up.” I raise my voice to a point that is just louder than there caws.

Lars slightly shifts his head towards me, it reminds me of the way a deer does when danger nears. Sophie slowly turns her gaze to meet mine.

“OK listen up guys, I don’t want to hear your screaming and yelling. Sophie you are in your bedroom, Lars you can clean up the mess in the living room that you conveniently forgot about. I don’t have time for this, dinner is burning!” I make sure I’ve made eye contact with both of them for this last part, “No more fighting, it doesn’t solve anything. If you have an issue with each other we will talk it out after dinner.”

I turn to go back to the spaghetti sauce on the stove. Maybe it is the burnt smell of tomatoes or the fact that the kids just wouldn’t listen today, but I break. Tears begin running down my face while I attempt to salvage what I can from the now smoking pot.

I hear the door open. It’s funny how one simple noise can sound so much like salvation.

Being the superb man that my husband is he moves towards me instinctively when realizing I am upset. I begin to tell him the happenings of the day and how I have come to the point of sobbing hopelessly into a heap of scorched spaghetti sauce.

“Man those guys are little jerks, like who are their parents anyways?” He says while making exaggerated and bewildered face. I laugh, because, well it sort of funny, and at the moment it is the only thing left to do. “Now don’t worry, I actually brought home some leftovers from work today and I will go and talk to those little worms.” He is so calm and in that moment I am actually envisioning him as a knight in shining armor. That Jamie, he is always saving me.

I’m not sure what he says to the kids but it must be effective. Moments later they enter the kitchen and both of them begin hugging my legs.

“We love you Mom, sorry we weren’t listening.” They say.

Most often a perfect partnership delves much deeper than what meets the eye. Even though Jamie and I bicker endlessly about the small stuff, disagree on many of the trivial pursuits of life and can quite often be found in headstrong heated debates, this thing we have works. Because in the end, we’ve got each other’s back and that is something I’ll take to the bank any day of the week.



My Birth Story


You all know how much I love to hear and share people ‘s stories and Miranda’s here is a very special one. It is about the difficulties and fears she experienced with the birth of her son but in the end how she prevailed despite the trials. Miranda’s story is very inspiring and it will most definitely speak to mothers, caregivers and anyone wanting to overcome hardships in their life.

Please take a moment to pop by her site and read her work!

Originally posted on PsychShare:

On November 11, 2014 I went into labor. I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant so Joe and I were excited to welcome our son into the world. We went to the hospital nearby. I ended up laboring for 10 hours with the help of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) until I was 7cms dilated. At that point I asked for an epidural because of the discomfort I was experiencing. The anaesthesiologist administered the epidural which was surprisingly not as painful as I had imagined. I was in the care of Dr. 1 whom was working alongside a medical student that night. Around 8:30pm Dr. 1 decided I should start pushing. I couldn’t tell if I was pushing but was assured that I was progressing. I was starting to have major pain while still pressing the epidural button so I told Dr. 1 and I was told they would let…

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Siblings? Yeah, they’re pretty great.

Today I walked into the kitchen to find Lars gently brushing Sophie’s hair. They were concocting a plan to meet up at recess later that day.


“When you come outside go right to the twisty slide Sophie!” Lars was getting a bit frustrated from Sophie’s inability (or blatant refusal) to recognize what slide he was talking about. As they nattered at each other I couldn’t help but think back on a time when my own brother and I used to be an oddly unbreakable force.

Dustin and I were close, there was no denying it. We were stuck together on acreages our entire adolescent lives. That’s bound to make two people learn to enjoy each other’s company. Dad worked the oilfields and was gone frequently while Mom was left with two kids and acres of open land. We only had one vehicle back then which Dad usually took to work. So more often than not when I say we were stuck out there, we actually were.

We made due. We journeyed through the back forty’s wood and made blanket forts out of Mom’s plentiful collection of crocheted blankets. We had secret languages that weren’t languages at all but somehow we knew what the other meant. There was always an inside joke being created or chuckled over. And because of all of our cryptic laugh attacks due to nonsensical sentences, people often thought of us as a little strange.

I can’t imagine why…

Did I care what people thought? Nope. Well, not until I did I guess.

There comes an age in every young person’s life when they begin to take notice of what the other humans around them are saying. We start to recognize when people are talking about us. We begin listening more intently and taking to heart the details in which others perceive. For some reason once this time in our lives comes to pass we begin deeply caring about what our peers think. We will do just about anything to assure that we come off as “normal” to the squad (as the kids nowadays call it).

It was a little after my thirteenth birthday that I stopped hanging out with Dustin so much. I wanted to be with my friends and according to them; it really wasn’t cool to have your kid brother tagging along to the beach with you. So with a heavy heart (that was masked by layers of blue eye shadow and heavy mascara) I told my brother to hit the road.

I wonder about the day when Lars will find himself too cool to hang out with Sophie. Perhaps because their age gap is only a few years apart it will never happen. Maybe they will manage to stay friends throughout those awkward teenage years. For their sake, I hope so. I know looking back I could have used my brother in those uncertain days.

Lars and Sophie are still sitting at the kitchen table, he has finished brushing her hair but she is still mulling over the complexity of her brothers plan. There is something so special about the way they sit and talk, almost as if they know what the other is about to say. Their conversation flows without the complications or worries that are often veiled in so many other aspects of this life.

Once again my thoughts are drawn back to my brother and I realize how special the sibling bond can be. There have been many moments when we have had that same uninhibited conversation. We will talk early into the morning around hazy campfires, recalling childhood memories that only he and I could possibly understand. What a wonderful thing to have someone in this world that can place a value on those early days in the same way you can.


Lars flings on his backpack as though he’s been doing it for years and his sister follows suit.

As we approach Lars’ school doors Sophie moves towards her brother for a hug. “I love you Lars, have a good day.”

“Love you too Soph, remember, twisty slide at first recess!” He says then runs off towards his classmates.

As we walk towards Sophie’s classroom she looks up to me and says, “Don’t you just love Lars Mom?” I smile and reply in kind.

I am thankful that my children have each other. It is reassuring to know they have a friend in one another—especially for first recess meet and greets at the good ole twisty slide.


Short Story Time- The Tattered Olive Branch


Switching it up on The Mama this morning- throwing some Speculative fiction your way!

Originally posted on The Death of a 20-Something:

My name is Liza Toller, and I’m going to be straight with you, I fucked up big time. The article I just wrote will probably get me in some hot water, and by hot water I mean— boiled alive. But I don’t have time to worry about what the Gunmen are going to come down on me with; I’ve got to get the word out. Seeing as how, this word (as far as I know) is the only unaltered information getting to the people of this city.

I am a columnist. I know what you’re thinking; what the hell is a columnist? I work for the last print newspaper in the city- hell, in the country I’m guessing. It’s called the Weary Herald, a knock off publication of a popular newspaper back from when the city of Calgary was still called the city of Calgary. That was before Mass Fabrication. Before…

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The Never Ending Memoir of a Sleep Deprived Mama

“Jamie will you get up with Lars today?” My words float across our queen sized bed listlessly. For a moment I wonder if I actually have said them or if I was only thinking the sentence in my head. No, I’ve definitely spoken aloud as my husband lets out a groan and rolls over.

The garish nightmare that was my reality only several hours before comes raging back to mind. There I was in middle of the night cursing horrendously under my breath as I cleaned up popcorn smelling vomit. Just reliving this for even a moment makes my stomach curl and throat tighten.

Sophie had fallen asleep fast, this should have been my first clue. However I was more concerned about Lars and his “ear ache”. Do you remember six months ago when our darling son stuck that bead in his ear and had to undergo surgery to get it removed? Well it turns out this incident has caused a few psychological issues in the boy wherein he now is paranoid that random objects continue to get lodged in his eardrum.

It was ten o’clock at night and I was brushing my teeth when I heard the sobbing coming from Lars’ top bunk. There he is fanatically pulling at a very bright red earlobe insisting that there is something stuck in it.

“Well did you put something in there?” I asked.

“No but I think I can feel something!” Now if you need to know one thing about Lars it is that the kid is an awful liar. In the extremely unlikely case that he would shove ANOTHER object in his ear, there is no way he could spin a fib about it. So my next guess was that it was either an ear infection or it was all in his head.

I took him into the bathroom to get a better look and after a half hour of desperately trying to convince him that there was nothing in there I gave him some children’s Advil and sent him back to his room. This seemed as good of temporary solution as any, and as I lay down to go to sleep I reminded myself to check his ear in the morning before school.

It felt like I had closed my eyes for about two minutes when I heard the wailing of another child across the dark hallway. In a moment of selfishness I attempted to yell back to her, “What’s wrong?” The response was not that of any string of legible words but a dire sounding moan that was enough to shoot me out of bed.

“Mama” she said. It was in the liquid sound of her speech that clued me in to what was about to happen.

NOOO— I thought to myself.  I seemed to be slow motion running into her bedroom when I realized at some point in the last twenty seconds I had also grabbed the bathroom’s garbage can. I dove ever so awkwardly towards her to insert the can under her head. It was too late.

Oh how the scent still lingers at the base of my nose hairs. It tiptoes around that part of the brain that associates moments in time with certain aromas, certain stenches. I shall never eat popcorn again, and it saddens me greatly.

“WUGH!” That is the sound of me dry heaving while I cleaned up my daughters yuck. Last year we were wise enough to get our flu shots before the start of the sick season. Therefore the entirety of sickness in our home over last winter involved one bout of croup and a bead in the ear. This year however I dropped the ball and now as I was cleaning up half digested popcorn (why out of all things did I have to feed her popcorn the night before!) I was beginning to feel a sore throat coming on myself.

After I had fixed Soph up and put her to bed I checked the time. 1:30am. I fell asleep fast, but again was woken up by the distinct sound of yakking three more times during the night.

“Babe I need you to get Lars off to school this morning.” I say as I keep one ear open for the sounds of Sophie in the next room. Finally it seems she is sleeping soundly.

“Sure sweetie, everything okay?” I half hear him but am already falling fast into dreamland. I should tell Jamie to check Lars’ ear I think. Instead I allow sleep to take me. Somewhere in the far corner of my brain I know soon, “Mom” will once again be summoned, and so will continue the memoirs of a sleep deprived Mama.


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An All Hallow’s Eve Spooky Read

On a not so eerie and fogless night you find yourself sitting quietly in the front room reading from a thrilling Stephen King novel (maybe you aren’t as obsessed with Mr. King as I and if that’s the case… SACRILEGE!!!!!)

Ahem, only kidding.

I love you Stephen... *Madcap fan-girl whispers fervently into computer screen.
I love you Stephen… *Madcap fan-girl whispers fervently into computer screen.

Anyway, there you are reading away when you realize how peaceful the house actually is.

A little too peaceful. Things are never this quiet around here.

Your heart begins racing. It’s pumping so hard that you must consciously will it to slow down in fear you may have some kind of a cardiac episode. You’re not sure what kind of heart attacks young and virile people such as yourself have…But you’re sure you’ve heard tell of such incidents occurring.

You shoot up frantically from your spot on the couch. Immediately upon placing weight on the legs you had been foolishly sitting on for the last half hour you tumble to the ground, hard and loud. You let out an agonizing scream and think for a moment that this may well be it. The Charlie horse you are experiencing is currently shooting straight into your ass cheek and you don’t know how much more you can handle.

You begin recalling beautiful memories from the past, like when you finally murdered that pesky fly that was buzzing you the other day and the time you didn’t have to engage in the struggle to get into your favourite skinny jeans.

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Luckily your spouse comes to the rescue. He runs to your side. “What’s happening here?” He yells. He is clearly very confused from the scene he has walked in on.

“Butt cramp! House too quiet! KIDS!” You reply.

After he assists you with a bit of an awkward bum rub, you both realize there is no time to waste.

Hand in hand you move stealthily towards the hallway that leads to your children’s bedrooms. The lights are dimmed making your home reminiscent to a bad 80’s horror flick and you immediately regret installing all of those dimmer switches when you were going through your home renovation phase.

The hall looks much longer than you remember it and in the middle lays a solitary toy.

It is the rubber chicken that your daughter pleaded with you to buy her the last time you were in the pet section of Wal-Mart. You tried to explain it was a dog’s toy. That meant nothing to her so you purchased it anyways. But ever since then you’ve been having wicked dreams of clowns and rubber chickens…Like the two worst things ever to be invented.


Your partner steps directly atop the things inflated belly and it lets out a long and exasperated squeal that makes both of you yelp! You can feel the slightest trickle down your inner thigh and you wonder how old you have truly become.

You turn right—towards the lavatory. You flick the light on without expectation and what you find terrifies you more than any amount of incontinence could explain.

“No!” you place a foreboding hand towards it, as though trying to telepathically push it away from your line of sight, “NOOOOO!!!”

Your husband appears seconds later and joins you in an ominous chorus of misery.

“Why? Oh WHY! What is happening in this house!” He despairs .

There, staring up at you menacingly is a poo that has coiled quite perfectly around the inside of the bowl. Some may ask what is so scary about a coiler. And admittedly it is not the fecal in which you shy away from, you’ve dealt with your fair share of shit before.

Photo credit: Google Images
Photo credit: Google Images

In truth it is the lack of toilet paper accompanying this turd that makes you cringe in the very deep of your soul.

Somewhere in this house there is a pair of underwear stashed away that holds a shart streak to end ALL shart streaks. It must be found, it must be removed.

You and the hubs look at each other for longer than what seems acceptable when standing over a log that is quite possibly the length your daughters arm. You are silently brooding over what to do next.

For a moment you wonder if you have developed the ability to telepathically speak to your spouse so you say, “Can…Can you hear me!?” silently…When he continues to just stare at you with a blank look you realize you haven’t quite got there yet.

So Instead you whisper, “What the fuck do we do now?”

He grasps your hand in a, ‘we’re going to get through this together’ kind of way. You shift towards the children’s bedroom. Again the agony of anticipation creeps to the forefront of your better judgement and you can feel the beginning of an anxiety attack.


You open the door slowly to really articulate the *creeeeeeeak* sound it ever so creepily makes.

There sitting in the dead centre of a clutter filled floor are your children. They are waiting for you. Your partner squeezes your hand a little tighter upon seeing their empty eyes, their vacant smiles.

You begin scanning the room for the underwear in question and you wonder if in fact it could still be located on their person. A slight tang of poop wafts past you in the stale air of the room.

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And in unison your spawns say,

“Hello Mother, would you like to play a game.”

The Arrival Home

The house was dark and still when Jamie and I rolled our suitcases into the front foyer. As we made our way into the house all of its usual smells sprung to memory and I realized that even after a short week I had begun to miss this place. Or perhaps it was just the thought of the small people who lived here that had my heart skipping a beat.

Daniel, Jamie’s brother, was asleep on the couch. The hallway lights were turned off and I’m positive at that moment I had never felt quiet quite like that. The time was somewhere around eleven o’clock at night as I made my way towards the children’s bedrooms.

After all of these years of parenting, all of the frustrations and meltdowns, I really didn’t think a week long break would be that difficult to endure. And believe me I’m not complaining. You know, the sun, the sea, the amazing quality time that my husband and I got to experience in our seven days of childfree time was very much treasured.

It seemed however that so many of the activities we participated in while visiting the Mayan Rivera would remind us of our little darlings back home. As I snorkeled with sea turtles I could only imagine how elated Sophie would be to meet those massive sea creatures too. Or whenever Jamie and I would stumble over one of the hundreds of iguanas that roamed our resort we couldn’t help but think of Lars and how fascinated he would have been with the small reptiles.

Needless to say our flight home was filled with anticipation. We both couldn’t wait to give those first initial hugs and kisses to our babes after what seemed like a lengthy time apart.

As it sometimes happens we got a bit held up in our arrival back to Canada and found ourselves at home much later than we expected. Despite my efforts of “accidentally” waking the kids up by clumsily dragging the suitcases up the stairs and flicking on every light in the place, that evening they slept right through the night. Go figure.

I decided to unpack the suitcases that night, because well, I’m that kind of a type A human being. As I created a mountainous pile of beach wear that needed washing I wondered how the kids’ time away from us went. If you remember a couple of weeks ago  I had poked fun at the fact that they were so excited for us to leave that they couldn’t help but verbalize it in their honest adolescent way.

A major part of me expected that this is exactly what happened. I was sure they had hardly thought about us or our absence at all and they had had the time of their lives while we were away. But I must admit there was a tiny part of me that hoped we were missed.

The saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder” I’ve come to discover is true in so many different circumstances. Here, I realized how our time away from the kids has made me appreciate their beauty and uniqueness in a way that I think we all as parents can sometimes overlook in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But I have to wonder if children experience that same kind of logic and reasoning when away from the people they love?

“Daniel?” Sophie called from her bedroom faintly. I rolled over to look at the clock, 6:30am. Jamie’s brother Daniel had tucked her in the night before and she must have forgotten that we were coming home.  I moved eagerly towards her room.

“Good morning my love.” I said.

“Mom?” She asked.

“Yes, sweetie, it’s me.”

“Mama, it’s you!” Tears began to immediately stream down my daughters face as she jumped out of bed and ran towards me. “I missed you so much Mom! I love you.”

I knelt down to hug her; I too was now crying because of this unexpected emotional response from her—the kid who usually is least likely to show this kind of sentiment. She grabbed my neck to pull me close to her, “I really love seeing your face right now Mama.” Lars then joined us from his room and we all moved towards mine and Jamie’s bed for a cuddly family reunion.

I guess it goes to show that distance certainly does makes the heart grow fonder and that is true for any age group.



Worry “Warting” About Nothing at All

Well, it was finally happening. After years of me yelling in an enraged and demented voice, “I NEED A VACATION!” Jamie and I were doing it.

Jamie’s boss, aka: the most magnificent boss in the world had offered to take us to Mexico. Six months ago when the offer came up I was dumbfounded. I could hardly believe what was being proposed to us—a full week of sun, sand, multi-coloured beverages and relaxing in a way I haven’t even dreamed of since giving birth to my children. Yep, you heard it; this particular vacation was going to be child free.


In all honesty the days leading up to our departure filled me with anticipation. I couldn’t wait to be sitting poolside in almost nothing but an excessively large wide brimmed hat sipping some kind of tropical beverage–that hopefully had far too much tequila in it–whilst the hubs and I heartily laughed about all the suckers still toiling away in the deep freeze of our Albertan fall.

(turns out fall isn’t that cold this year and I’ve suddenly turned into this old prude when it comes to nude beaches)

Maybe I was going a little too far. In reality as I prepared for Jamie and mines week away I was nearly soiling myself in fear that my darling children wouldn’t be able to cope without me. What if I’ve coddled them so much over these last seven years that anything more than a mere sleepover will send them spiralling down a self destructive path of sucrose overdose and tantrum overthrows? What if they miss me so much that some weird medical incident ensues and they end up becoming completely mute for an undetermined amount of time? What if…I should probably just stop myself now.

Of course I didn’t actually believe any of this would happen (or did I?) Probably not as it was going to be a combined effort from our friends and family members to look after our wee clones. And we felt so very gratified that we had such generous people in our lives willing to watch our most precious little people—while we get drunk on a beach somewhere.

This was the beach...It was FAB!
This was the beach…And it was FAB!

However this still didn’t prevent the constant worry that had pitted itself in the back of my brain. I’m sure that any mother feels like this when taking leave from her babes. I think about how Sophie still sometimes wakes up in the night because she is afraid of the dark. What would happen when she cried out for me and I was nowhere to be found?  Or what about when Lars gets one of his nosebleeds because of the dry weather? Would he keep his calm like Jamie and I have been teaching him? Or because of our non-appearance will he become overly upset? Thus creating a surplus of bloody tidal waves exiting his tiny beautiful nostrils.

There is also their calendar to think about. Luckily they aren’t in any extracurricular activities at the moment, but even their school schedules are quite involved. Will the babysitters be able to handle it all? Probably, once again I was letting my fears whisk me away.

Not to mention I had concocted a detailed ten page synopsis on how to live with the legendary Lars and Sophie. This included their usual routines down to the tiny quirks that I feel were necessary information for the adults who will temporarily be taking the place of Jamie and me.

But was it really enough? Will their hugs be the same as mine while watching that scary Scooby Doo movie? Will their taco Tuesday meal be as gloriously fun-filled as ours usually was? Will they know there is extra toilet paper underneath the bathroom sink?

As I wrote this heartfelt commitment of love about my darling miniatures, Lars sauntered up to me.

“What is your column about this time Mom?” He asks.

“I’m actually writing about when your dad and I go on our trip.” I say tentatively, assuming this will start a torrent of emotion to flow freely out of my oh so sensitive son.

“Cool! You should tell them that I am so excited for you to leave so I can have a sleepover at Uncle Dustin’s!”

His exact face when he told me this. How matter-of-fact of you dear son.
His exact face when he told me this. How matter-of-fact of you, dear boy.

And that was that my friends. Gone are the days of over-romanticizing my title as Mom. Hello beach lounging and tequila shots.


The Trusted Words of a Friend

In my experience, the humans who run in my usual circle of friends do not seem to like the idea of me writing stories about their personal lives. Weird, right?! Since my literary debut I’ve had a plethora of acquaintances utter the words, “this better not go in your column Lindsay” on several different occasions. So I’ve come to accept the fact that I simply cannot use the real names of the people I write about.

None of this however applies to my friend Janelle. We’ve been through way too much together to worry about details like that.


Janelle and I have been friends for longer than Justin Beiber has been alive. We endured all of the embarrassing moments of puberty side by side. We’ve fought over idiotic things. We’ve cried together for no reason at all and nearly wet our pants during adolescent laugh attacks (who am I kidding we were well into our twenties and still peeing our pants laughing at one another). We were there for each other’s pregnancies and the aftermath of birth. We have surpassed many of the milestones that lifelong friends ought to.  I’ve always been the eccentric one that on occasion tends to blow run of the mill situations sky high. And she is the reasonable one who usually pulls me back to earth.


So a few weeks ago when I had had a headache for three consecutive days I decided to phone her to dictate my Last Will and Testament. Yes, I had one foot securely plunged in the grave. The doctor I had spoke to about the situation told me that if the migraine meds that had been prescribed did not work our next course of action would be a CT scan—to rule out a brain tumor. Well, obviously this was not my usual doctor and she did not realize my, I’m going to be kind and say “slight” case of, hypochondriac tendencies.

I literally wrote out the first paragraph of my own obituary. It was good. You would have cried.

“Stop being stupid, you’re just getting old.” Maybe those weren’t Janelle’s exact words, perhaps she was a tad nicer (probably not) but you get the gist. I proceeded to tell her my entire list of woes and exactly why I thought I was probably going to die of a brain tumor or meningitis or some other fatal brain related doom. How could Jamie raise the kids alone? How could he handle work and our full time school and extracurricular schedule? What about Sophie’s particular hair-do requests? What would become of mine and Lars’ wacky breakfast conversations? What of the hopes and dreams for the future that I may never get to witness!?

“Look, you probably just need a massage.” Might I add Janelle is a massage therapist. Sometimes I think she thinks that massage will solve ALL of life’s problems and this was one of those particular times. I didn’t want to hear that a massage would relieve all my fears of an untimely death; I wanted her to wallow with me in my preconceived misery!

“But the doctor said…”

“There are tons of reasons that could cause a headache. Book a massage and if it doesn’t help you at all then you can start to worry.”

So I booked a massage. And yes if you were picturing me to be that awkward first-timer who asks if they need to take of “all” their clothes and then proceeded to make inappropriate and very unfunny jokes throughout the entire process then you are pretty much right on the money.

But after it was done, my headache was considerably less. My back felt better even though I didn’t know it was hurting in the first place. I have now been back to the massage therapist several times and the headaches are almost all gone and for all intents and purposes I now know where they were coming from in the first place. I am indeed getting older and a combination of dreadful posture and a bit of stress has managed to wreak havoc on my upper back and shoulders.

So I suppose what I’m trying to say is that it’s beneficial to have those levelheaded comrades in our life. And if Lars and Sophie inherit this particular worrywart trait of mine then I will have to make sure they have a few friends like Janelle around. Because everyone needs that special someone in life who’s not afraid to tell you you’re simply getting old.



Hotheaded People

Hothead: (noun) a person who is impetuous or who easily becomes heated and angry.

Yesterday the kids and I went for a walk to the park and in an effort for health and well-being I decided we would take the long route. As soon as we hit the fork in the path and I turned right instead of our usual left they both stopped and stood there dumbfounded. “Um, you’re going the wrong way mom!” Sophie said with blatant unease. I explained that I wanted to take the long way so we could get some exercise. What followed could have been a scene straight from the apocalypse itself.

There were devastating screams and horrendous moaning. There was “BUT WHY?!” and “NO NO NO” and even, “THIS CAN”T BE HAPPENING!” It was a sad ordeal to say the least. And it made me wonder where they both get this hotheadedness from.

Surely it couldn’t be me. Could it?

Lyndzee Posed-3231

A few months ago we decided to switch internet/cable providers. There were some great deals going on with our current providers rival so we took the opportunity and jumped ship. Everything was going great. The kids were happy with the new channels they got and I was pleased to have my beloved HBO back. Jamie was the only one who was perturbed because his faithful hardwired internet connection had to be switched over to WIFI which he claimed made the internet slower. I told him to stop being such a geezer and get with the times.

A few days later I received a letter from our previous provider stating that we still had rental equipment of theirs, including but not limited to their internet modem. It took me the better half of an afternoon to locate all of the random pieces that were listed as not ours. It was the modem that I found last.

Self admittedly I am rather dim-witted when it comes to electronics of any kind. That’s why we keep Jamie’s brother Dan around, he’s our go-to guy when it comes to technology in general (and we consider the 4 slot toaster tech savvy).

Unfortunately at the time Dan was nowhere to be found. So there I was idiotically gawking at the hookups for the WIFI and modem. I located the old modem but it hadn’t been sloppily tossed in an old box like the other items I had retrieved. It was sitting beside an unidentified device which had the new service providers name on it, the old modem’s lights were still flashing and it looked completely operational.

Well, I tell you what, any rational person probably would have investigated this a little more but not I friends, not I. I got the new service providers on the blower and before they could ask me for my account number I set forth on my tirade.

“Did you people use my old provider’s internet modem to hook up your service? This is blasphemy! That is rented equipment and I need to return it! What do you expect me to do after I give it back? How will I get online? How will I access the internet without a modem?” These were the actual words coming out of my mouth. “You had better get over here and hook it up properly because this is entirely on you!” I had only paused to catch my breath when the unfortunate customer service person who had picked up my call began trying to deescalate the situation.

“Ma’am I’m sorry you are having issues with this, but I assure you that it would be quite impossible for us to use your old service provider’s modem for our own use.”

"Is that is just what you want me to believe internet service provider?"
“Obviously that is just what you want me to believe internet service provider!!!”

“Well it’s hooked up, the lights are flashing! What do you say about that?” I went on for quite some time repeating much of the same argument because I couldn’t find any other points to quarrel with in my state of blind rage.

“Ma’am, why don’t you just try to unplug the old modem and see if your service is still working?”

I did just that thinking all the while that this was such a waste of my time.

I looked at the Google bar on my computer.  I looked at the unplugged modem. It finally occurred to me that perhaps the old modem had only been plugged into the wall. Silence and mortification followed as I quickly said, “Thank you, that’ll be all” and hung the phone up. I looked over to Jamie who was now hysterically laughing at my obvious faux pas.

“Who’s the geezer now?” He said between snorts.

Moral of this story: teach the kids that hotheadedness never pays.


The Best Damn Jam This Side of the Web (Yes, The Blogging Mama has Turned Food Blogger)

So there I was about to make a pot of jam, when I got struck with the most fan-fucking-tastical idea I’ve had since I decided to deem Helen (don’t act like you don’t know her) as my blogging alter ego.

Before I go on, I have some apologies to make to you, dear friends and readers. As of late, I have undoubtedly abandoned you all and it is pretty obvious that you have more than likely been going through some outrageously cray withdrawals over the lack of Blogging Mama showing up in your news feed. For this and all of the mental hardships my absence may have caused you I am truly sorry.

But I’m just going through some stuff right now okay.


I’ve decided that I want to be more earth friendly, frugal, and resourceful in my approach to life and existence in general…Or at least give all that jazz a shot. You know, see what the big hype is all about. So for the last few months I’ve been growing a bunch of my own food, baking my own bread and doing a hell of a lot of canning.

So between all of that and the raising of boy and girl child, I’ve been a little swamped.


2015-08-20 16.15.50

Maybe…Just maybe,

I could be a food blogger!!!

I could combine my love of entertaining you and my love of food…



*Hundreds of food bloggers, from all corners of the world, suddenly feel a universal urge to facepalm for no apparent reason*

But honestly how hard can it be, I thought nonchalantly as I pulled out my trusty cell phone deeming it just the right tool to take the photographs I would need to bring this new food blogging dream to fruition.

So on today’s menu we have a pot of SUPER SIMPLE 3 INGREDIENT RASPBERRY JAM!


Shall we begin?


That was actually a rhetorical question, but let’s just try and breeze on past this awkwardness. 

Super Simple 3 Ingredient Raspberry Jam

What you will need: 

  • 4 cups Raspberries (go ahead and raid your neighbours garden- like Mom always says, “the more you pick the more they produce!” So really, you are just doing them an awesome favour. Your neighbours will surely be thanking you in the long run.)
  • 4 cups Sugar
  • The juice and pulp of three lemons

  • 1 Water Bath Canner (many people would argue with me and say that you don’t need a water bath canner for this type of canning due to the copious amounts of sugar that will preserve just about anything without bringing it up to a bacteria slaughtering temp. My response: WHY DO YOU PEOPLE HAVE TO TAKE THE FUN OUT OF EVERYTHING I DO?!)
The one on the left is the canner (but if you don't know that already you probably shouldn't be using this blog site as a tutorial) **DISCLAIMER
The one on the left is the canner (but if you don’t know that already you probably shouldn’t be using this blog site as a tutorial) **DISCLAIMER
  • Between 10 to 12 half pint canning jars
  • 1 Jam Pot (much like this one I Instagrammed earlier)

  • 1 Lemon Juicer


  • Canning Funnel


  • Canning magnet 
  • Run of the mill ladle 
  • More tea towels than I care to admit 
  • Canning picker upper thingy 

Let’s do this.

  1. Combine raspberries, sugar and lemon in jam pot over medium heat.
  2. Meh, put it on high heat if you like to live dangerously.
  3. Watch that shit carefully!
  4. Nobody likes burnt jam people.
  5. Meanwhile fill your water bath canner a little under half way full.
  6. Due to buoyancy and junk you will have to fill your jars with water before placing them into the water bath. Water should always be at least half an inch above the jars.


   7. Begin the boiling/sterilizing process of the jars and their lids.

(but just pretend the jars are in the pot in this picture and the lid is on the pot too)
(but just pretend the jars are in the pot in this picture and the lid is on the pot too okay)

   8. After jars have boiled for ten minutes and jam has thickened it is time to begin ladling the jam into the jars. Have a dry clean tea towel laid down beside your jam pot to place the hot jars on. Use your picker upper to retrieve all of the jars and place them on the towel. Then begin to ladle your jam.

Forewarning: This is a bitch of a job. Hot jam can be ridiculously hot.


2015-08-20 16.11.18


    9. Next, after your lids have been simmering this entire time, use the magnet to retrieve the lid as well as the screw ring. This also must be carried out with extreme caution as these little bastards will be quite warm too.

   10. Screw tops on until fingertip tight.

   11. Fingertip tight means that you are just using your fingertip strength to tighten them. So obviously not like hulk shit…If that was what you were doing taker down a notch.

   12. Using your canning picker upper thingy place jars back in the water canner and let boil (in canning lingo “process”) for ten minutes.

  13. Use picker upper to lift jars out of the water bath and place on clean dry tea towel.

You will begin to hear the wondrous sound of the lids sealing shut- POP POP POP!

It is delightful, I tell you, DELIGHTFUL!

Feel free to create your own geometrical shape with your jam creations.
Feel free to create your own geometrical shape with your jam creations.

PS- If you have jam left over, repeat entire process of sterilizing jars, jam ladling, “processing” ect.

Okay, get ready to have like a totally foodie orgasm…IN YOUR MOUTH.


Next time on the blog, 

Wheat Bread.

Yep, that’s the best name three intense minutes of brainstorming got me. Time well spent.


Until we cook again my friends:

Bake Boldly

Create Cuisine with Class

Eat Gloriously

And try frying something naked at least once in your life

(thrilling I tell you, absolutely thrilling)

Thankless Jobs; and Why They Are Sometimes Worth It.

As a writer one must adopt the knack to take criticism positively and use it constructively. It is a difficult feat sometimes, especially when you’ve toiled so hard on a project only to have to revamp and once again revise, revise, revise. Nevertheless the writer knows what must be done to achieve the overall fulfilment they will eventually reap from their work. And this entire process, I’ve come to realize, is quite similar in the long journey of parenthood.

Just recently I’ve decided to expand my reach by submitting a few short fiction stories to some literary magazines. I’ve had a severe love affair with science fiction and the fantasy genres for as long as I can remember so I thought it was high time to send some of my own fictitious tales of escapade out into this big literary world. For weeks I poked and prodded at the ten short stories I had decided were worthy for submittal.  I read and reread the overall storylines; I cut characters and added more interesting ones. I custom made my sentence structure; I was witty (but don’t worry not annoyingly so). I murdered, I schemed, and I plotted (in the stories of course) and I repented over none of it. By the end, these tales I had created were a part of me. They live in the depths of my mind and their characters will forever survive in the warm caverns of my imagination.


Yet some do not see it that way. This morning as I argued with Sophie over why she must brush her extremely knotted hair I glanced at my phone to see I had received an email from one of the magazines I submitted to a few weeks ago. My heart gave a little skip but immediately thereafter faltered.  I opened the email to find yet another rejection letter. I’ve lost count currently but if I had to guess I would say it was about the twelfth or thirteenth, “sorry not for us” reply I’ve gotten.

This however is all okay, and that is because of one simple quote I’ve taken on as my personal mantra, “By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.  Leave it to one of the great “king’s” of literature to craft such a vast beacon of hope for aspiring writers everywhere.

Now all of this talk about rejection has started me thinking about how similar the feelings that arise from parenting can be. We work so damn hard to be the mothers, fathers, and caregivers we have to be. We laugh with them, rack our brains to come up with awesome activities to keep them stimulated. We love them unconditionally. We’d murder, scheme and plot for them if it meant their safety and happiness. And yet we expect nothing in return.

Much like writing it can sometimes be a thankless job. We will collect unwanted, unwarranted commentary from our peers because they would do it a different way. We gobble up the criticism from the experts and call it constructive because what on earth else are we supposed to do with that information?

Parents and writers are constantly on the search for recognition, and yet in reality it is so seldom that we find it.  This morning after I received this particular email I quietly retreated to my bedroom. I once again thought about that famous quote from Mr. King and it made me realize that it not only applies to the rejection we feel as writers but also the rejection we can feel in everyday life. It occurred to me that no matter what has got you down, the key is to keep moving forward.


Yes sometimes our parenting endeavours can feel unappreciated. It is a job we do out of candid love rather than for acknowledgement or praise. And even when the girl child refuses to brush her hair or the boy child tells you you’re the worst mom ever for not letting him play the tablet, you will still carry on. We do this because of that tiny voice inside reminding us to always do best for the small humans we are bringing up in this world.

And one day, just like my creative writing, our hard work and effort will pay off and we will hear the words, “You did great, thank you” and just like that we will fail to remember how complicated it once was.

Removing The Energy From Kids…Or at least trying to.

The kids are bouncing from wall to wall. Their shrieks of merriment are carried easily throughout this otherwise peaceful house. They are currently playing a rambunctious game of hide and seek. Sophie makes her way, rather surreptitiously, into another room to hide but when discovering her ideal spot she continues to giggle explicitly until Lars follows the sound uncovering her location. I’m not sure if this is part of the game or if it is just Sophie’s inability to keep her glee under wraps.

Upon learning her whereabouts, they will both let out an ear piercing screech of surprise and then proceed to run at top speed back to the living room to start the game over again. It looks like fun, but at the moment I’m too exhausted to give it a go.

Yesterday I spent the day at my parent’s house in the garden hilling potatoes. I have the blisters on my palms to prove it. It was hard work but, of course, worth it for that oh so lovely yield that will be soon to follow.

I woke up this morning with the idea that I would tire my babes out today so we could get at least one early night in on these summer holidays. So I decided we’d walk. Enough walking in a day will drain the excess energy from anyone…Right?

We walked down to the lake for our morning swimming lessons. This was a good enough plod in itself not to mention their strenuous half hour lesson fighting against the hammering whitecaps of Sylvan Lake. Well, maybe the conditions weren’t that dire, but the water did look awfully cold.


Any sane person would feel like this was enough for one day, not me however. I was on a mission and I needed to secure my success. It had been awhile since we had paid a visit to the kids’ granny so I decided we would hike over to her place after lunch. This was an even longer journey than our beach jaunt so I told the kids they could ride their bikes. Now keep in mind this would be our first long ride of the season with Lars on two wheels and Sophie riding her own bike. It was going to be interesting.

We started off on a good note. At least while we were journeying on the bike paths, far away from other human beings and cars and various dangers of that sort it was good. There are three rather long bike/walking paths we take to get about half way to this particular granny’s home. After these paths ran their course however it was nothing but sidewalk—a sidewalk that ran parallel to a very busy street.

Lars is still a bit wobbly on his two wheeler and there was more than one occasion where I was sure that his handlebar was headed straight for the shiny paintjob of a parked car. When there weren’t any parked cars around he seemed to gravitate straight towards the road and the oncoming traffic. Luckily the kid is phenomenal at stopping short when I cry, “LARS HOLD UP!”

Sophie on the other hand was painstakingly laid-back on her bike. Whether it was her seat felt weird on her butt, her handlebars were bugging her or a bird in a tree above us was singing a wondrous princess song and she just had to stop to enjoy the beautiful melody the distractions the girl discovered were plentiful. I actually fear when the day comes that she begins to drive because if her concentration skills while bike riding are any indication of what kind of a driver she will be then anybody on the road in those future days had better watch out!


Eventually, after a lot of, “HOLD UP LARS!!” and “Hurry up Soph!” we got to Granny’s house and had a wonderful visit.

The way home seemed to actually go smoother since everyone was moving at an acceptable pace. I was sure that the near nine kilometers that we journeyed around town that day would have tuckered the kids out so my anticipation was growing as we neared the house.

However my high hopes have been shattered as it is currently 9 pm and the tiny humans are still at it with the high pitched laughter and hyperactivity. And here I am simply struggling to keep my eyes open and my body from collapsing into a calling bed.


Moral of this story; children are much too unpredictable to promise yourself a relaxing evening of rest simply over of a few kilometers trekked. Now please excuse me while I fall into a deep and comatose slumber. Until next time friends…


Making Milestones

It appears that in today’s world certain adolescent pressures continue to bombard our children. There are so many milestones to break that simply being a kid is a thing of the past. Nowadays they must be walking by a year, potty trained by three, breezing through Atlas Shrugged by six and out the door to work a 9-5 by ten. Well at least it seems that way.

Don’t get me wrong, I am just as much to blame for this as the next overachieving parent. I wanted to keep up with the Jones’ when it came to my children; no matter what kind of emotional stress it may have caused them.

As the beautiful weather continued to embrace us I kept revisiting the idea of removing the training wheels from Lars’ bike. We had tried last year but ended with little success. I’m pretty sure the experience scarred him more than anything as he had taken a few pretty nasty falls in the process. We were bound and determined to get him on two wheels—constantly telling him how superior dual wheel riding was than his current quadruple conditions (say that five times fast!) Meanwhile we kind of forgot that kids typically sort these kinds of things out in their own time.


I got to thinking, how old was I when I graduated to a two-wheeler? Probably 6 or 7, that seems to be the general consensus of people my age when it comes to the topic. And in that case why the heck are we all in such a rush to rid our children of their training wheels?

So this year we decided to let Lars choose what the fate of his summer transport vehicle would be. At first he was still hesitant but when I finally backed off and stopped staring at him expectantly he agreed to give the no training wheel option a shot again.

Jamie was elated as he and Lars headed towards the little treed path behind our house. I think for my husband it wasn’t about the success of getting him to ride rather the fun and bonding they had while learning.

Jamie has always said that learning how to ride a bike is one of those memories that will forever stick in a kid’s recollection, so it is our job as parents to help make it a damn happy memory to have.


Perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, that’s a little sappy…” I thought so too, at first. Then I started recalling my own early riding experience with my Dad. We were in a parking lot kitty corner to our three bedroom townhouse. There was Dad pushing the back of my bike as I peddled on frantically for dear life. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the paved lot that I realized at some point ole Daddio had let go and left me to it. ALONE! At first I was livid that he would forsake me like that, but soon after I realized it was a good thing and completely worth it now that I knew how to ride solo.

All of these years later this memory still sits easily in my mind’s eye. What a wonderful thing.

Within an hour and a half of their riding lessons, Jamie and Lars came barging into the house bellowing my name. “Come look, come look! He’s doing it!” Jamie roared. His face was red and hot with exertion but gleaming with pride even so.

It’s funny how two full grown people can get so overjoyed about something as basic as bike riding. As Jamie and I stood on that little path behind our house and watched our son ride off into the sunset I felt pure happiness for him. He was a little wobbly but upright and confident; he had prevailed and conquered. The two of us were cheering and screaming his name. At one point I think Jamie may have enthusiastically thrown his fist into the air above his head. And there it was one of those magical moments that will be held gently in our memory for the rest of time.

And with that Lars Brown was officially the rider of a two-wheeler.


Most good things in this life are worth waiting for, the happiness I shared with my husband and son that day was definitely worth the wait. It made me realize that the achievement isn’t in keeping up with the Jones’ but the will and determination it takes to get there.

An Enlightened Day at the Beach

We’ve officially participated in our first beach day of the season, and let me tell you, it was fabulous! I cannot begin to explain to you how important these days are in ones mothering career. They go hand in hand with the coffee/play-date, popcorn for dinner and the elusive, “Mom, we are going to play in our rooms quietly so you can get some work done.” These moments may not come often but when they do they are the ultimate blessings in disguise.

I’ve been feeling a great love for my friends recently, not that I don’t always, but as of late I’ve really been appreciating them all. So I decided I would plan a day at the beach where the kids could frolic and splash gaily in the water while we relaxed, watched our babes and conversed over all the weird and wonderful things we do as mothers of small children.

The kids managed to mash up together beautifully. There was no, “I don’t like him!” or, “She’s being a farty butt head…” They all seemed to get on quite, “swimmingly”.  As did the grownups. It is a wonderful thing to be able to sit back and appreciate the coolly self-assured age we all have grown into. Gone are the days of catty remarks behind a fellow friend’s back or simply not being sociable with someone because your current friends don’t approve.  Now, in these mature and confident times we live in, we simply do what we want. Fancy that.

The day was one of the best days I’ve had in a while. There were laughs, snacks and good conversation between like parents. I was just beginning to think that nothing could ruin it when Sophie began walking towards our blanket bow legged with an odd look on her face.

“What are you doing?” I ask her eerily.

“I had an accident.”

Not now. Not here. This had been happening as of recently. For some reason in the last few weeks these “accidents” had been on the rise and it was maddening. The worst part was upon inspection there were no pants involved and the accident in question had smeared in a slapdash mess beneath the flowered sundress she wore.

I lost my cool. I admit it here and now, that the bad mood monkey attached itself to my back and from that point on I was no flower to be around. I grabbed Sophie by her arm and dragged her begrudgingly to the dingy beach bathrooms to clean her up. While we did our business in there I began explaining to her (quite loudly) why she must use the potty every time.

As I sit here writing this I think about my daughter in a few years and wonder what she will think of me writing these kinds of tales about her and Lars for all to read. My finger lingers over the back space button. But then I chalk it up to a little payback and leave it.

It was near the end of my exasperated rant that I realized Carla, one of my newer friends from our play-date group, had made her way in with her daughter to use the washroom. Oh no, I thought, did she hear me yelling at Sophie? This is one of those make or break moments in a new friendship isn’t it? Maybe I’m not as assuredly aged as I had hoped.

We made our way out of the stall and approached Carla and her daughter as they washed their hands. I, perhaps with a sheepish look on my face, moved towards the sink. She gave me a knowing smile.

“Ugh, sorry about that, it’s just so frustrating sometimes.” I said because really, honesty is the best policy in most ill at ease circumstances.

“What?! Don’t be sorry, we’ve all been there! I’ve went through the exact same thing with my kids too. Don’t even think twice about it.”

When regression happens with potty training or any kind of milestone it can make us feel like the worst parents in the world. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, motherhood can be a dangerously lonely game. But it makes it that much easier when we have new and old friends alike to help us through those tough moments. To know there is someone else who understands.

When Soph and I made our way back to the spot where everyone sat on the beach I realized how lucky we were. Surrounded by good friends a beautiful day and contentment. So in the end a mishap made for an enlightened day; and isn’t that all we can ask for as parents?

Examining The Possibilities of Summer

With each day that brings us closer to that magical occasion which is summer holidays I can’t help but feel a certain degree of relief floating around in the pit of my stomach. The end of school means no more scrambling at 8:17am to find lunch supplies for the boy child so I can have him out the door by 8:25am. The end of school means no more 8:30pm battle of the wits to find new and inventive ways to get the kids to go to sleep in broad daylight. The end of school means road trips and not having to work around the school time schedule. It means relaxing with our feet up. It means putting the brakes on for a couple of months.

Or does it?

Perhaps once the pressing matter of school has ended I will once again throw us into a plethora of extracurricular activities and other “must-do” engagements. Maybe I will find myself scheduling every minute of the months of July and August and conceivably we will be just as busy, if not busier, than we were during the school year. So where does that leave us? Scuttling around once again in the wee hours of the morning trying to get ready while the kids whine that they are tired from getting to bed late because, when it comes down to it, who can really go to sleep when it looks like it’s four in the afternoon outside?

It leaves us stressed out and anxious.

I’ve consciously made the decision that’s not what our summer will be about this year. Quite frankly I’m overdue for a break and if I know my children, they are too. I want my family’s two months of summer bliss to be about carefree whimsy.  Because what’s the worst that could happen if we just simply let the day take us? What if we woke up every morning and instead of calculating each and every step forward, we let the day fold out naturally?

I want to picnic at the beach. I want to sporadically pull the car over to pick a bouquet of wildflowers with Sophie. I want to drive remote control cars at the skate park with Lars (I’m not entirely sure you’re allowed to do that actually). I want to bring all of my romanticized ideas of parenting to light this summer because it seems that so far in this parenting game I’ve been too busy planning every upcoming second to do otherwise.

I was a 90’s kid and I loved summer vacation. We usually were living on an acreage somewhere but that didn’t stop my brother and me from doing all of the awesome things that kids always have and forever should appreciate about summer break. We explored. We rode our bikes (a lot). We were private eyes. We built shoddy tree houses to hide in from the monsters that lurked in the wood. We snuck juice powder from the kitchen cupboards and hid out in the tree line while our finger tips were slowly dyed purple.  We had our imaginations therefore we had it all.

I can’t recall my mom ever planning out my summer for me, can you? It actually sounds quite preposterous when I think about my own childhood. Summer was a time to exercise the imagination — so if you were an adult, the only way you were getting in on our play was if you had a pretty darn good idea for a make-believe scenario.

But now with Pinterest boards called, “Summer planning on a budget” and blog posts like, “100 ways to keep your kids moving this summer” it simply seems the norm to map out every moment of the your child’s two months of schooling freedom.

I read an article online a few weeks ago called, “10 Way to Give Your Child a 1970’s Kind of Summer” and I thought it was great. It was aimed to an older age group than my children so of course a few ideas must be tweaked (I probably won’t be dropping my four and six year old off at the movie theater for the day thank you kindly) but the essence of this article was bang on.

I want my children to experience the same stress free summers I did. No deadlines. No “Have to’s”. No set in stone plans.  No monotony. Just what summer holidays were intended to be — a split from the everyday.   This summer, instead of jam packed, premeditated and Pinterested activities; I’m going to teach my kids how to create their own adventures.

The Return of the Renovations

One of the first articles I wrote for my column, Me Plus Three, was about home renovations. This piece explained in detail the hellish ordeal I put my family through when deciding I wanted to revive the joint with a fresh coat of paint. If you weren’t a reader back then the entire article can be summed up in these two sentences: Painting the interior of your home while children still reside there is indefinitely the most idiotic thing a person can do. It will involve many tears and many swear words.

This was me nearly two years ago. Now I sit here with my tumbler glass half full of Cab Sav because, well, I avoid cleaning wine glasses at all costs and I look at the walls I toiled with so long ago. In past me’s defense, they do look pretty darn amazing. I still have to wonder though, was it worth it? Was it worth the constant stress that some little finger would find its way to the wet wall? Was it worth constantly harping on the people I love to NEVER push their chair up against the newly painted surface? Was it worth singlehandedly transforming into the psychotic drill sergeant I did, ordering my husband and all of our helpers about like they were mindless drones in a painting crusade of apocalyptic proportions? Probably not.

So why I wonder did I of sound mind choose to undergo this process once more? Yes you read that right, the Browns had decided to renovate…Again.

You know how I am always poking fun at myself over the hoarded mess in my basement? Well among the piles of random stuff there is a heap of laminate flooring. It has been down there ever since Jamie’s mom put new floors in her home and we decided that we would—in an effort to reduce, reuse, recycle and not to mention make our wallets happy—salvage the laminate floorboards and install them in our home, in due time. Three years later we pulled ‘em out.

Before we could lay down the new/reused stuff we had to rip up the carpet. In all honesty between the incorrigible innuendos  Jamie kept coming up with in regards to this task and the fact that the destruction of it all allowed me to release some pent up frustrations of my own it was probably the most enjoyable part of the entire flooring experience.

It was what came next that began our quick spiral into renovation damnation.  We put the underlay down with little troubles (for all of you flooring virgins out there this is the foam matting you place under the laminate boards, I only relay this information because I was in fact a flooring virgin before this ordeal).

However when we began to attempt to click and lock the first few boards together something was wrong. They weren’t clicking or locking. Instead they were shifting and sliding. It was at this point I hooked up the sprinkler in the back yard for the children—the only place they’d be out of earshot of their fathers current use of colorful vocabulary.

Turns out fifteen year old laminate does not hold up well in dank, cold and moist basements. We had a pro come and look at it for us and he stated what we were all thinking; it was unusable.

We toyed with the idea of painting the sub floor a funky color and calling it modern chic. Or perhaps we could just staple a bunch of layers of the underlay on and each time the kids had a spill we’d tear a layer off! Really the ingenious possibilities were endless. In the end we opted for a perhaps more traditional route and bought new laminate flooring to install. Unfortunately this particular product already had the underlay attached to it so the better half of the following day was spent removing the thousands of staples we had punctured violently into the floor in our attempt at effectively securing the previous (now useless) underlay.

I won’t even start to tell you the hassle we went through when it came to the stairs, one because it is sort of embarrassing if there are any flooring specialists reading today and two I simply do not have a high enough word allotment to begin to get into that horrific turn of events.

Eventually we finished, no worse for the wear…Wait, what am I saying? I think we may be scarred for life when it comes to the home renovation process.

And then an unnerving thought crosses me. Our unfinished basement.

To The Little Tweenage Jerks Who Flipped Me Off Today

To The Little Tweenage Jerks Who Flipped Me Off Today,

Believe me when I tell you that I truly wish I could be the kind of person who would have breezed on past and simply not taken notice of your ruffian behaviour. I wish that I could have neglected the fact that you were riding by on your dumb little BMX bikes, kicking over full garbage cans and laughing as all of the trash flowed outwards to the street. Oh how I long that I was that individual who is too soft spoken or shy to call out to you and ask why you’d do such a thing.

Alas, I am none of these things.

There I was walking my six year old son back from dropping my daughter off at school and there you were a block away zipping along with your little posse of pubescent patsy’s wreaking havoc on my neighbourhood.

At first I heard the sound of the large garbage can smashing to the pavement, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Surely there weren’t young humans committing acts of rebellion right in front of me. Surely they would be frightened of getting in trouble. After all these children couldn’t have been any older than twelve or thirteen with their Justin Bieber haircuts and unreasonably taut cuffed slacks. These were all the things that were racing through my mind as I stopped and stared at the dire happenings you were creating.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m hip and with-it, so I attempted to approach you in a civilized manner in which you teeny-boppers could jive with.

“Um, excuse me fellas tipping those cans over isn’t cool man.” Were my words to you, and yes in your defence, perhaps they were said in a bit of a distrustful tone. But I really did think this would simply do the trick. I can remember back in my day when an adult confronted me when doing something I wasn’t supposed to I nearly pooped myself with that foreboding fear of authority.

However apparently, in this day in age, there is no such thing as fear of authority (or maybe it is just that I do not evoke those types of reservations in your younger generation.)

Now what happened next is a bit of a blur because a blinding rage set in shortly after my sentence ended. You began to laugh and point at me, whooping it up and yelling, “Yeah right, whateves!”

I was appalled. Outraged. And quite frankly my feelings were hurt.

So I did what any self respecting adult would do. I attempted to preserve my influence as the grown-up of the situation by shouting angrily back at you. I told you that you were little no-good ingrates. And that if I was your mother you’d be getting the walloping of your life for taking such a disrespectful tone with an elder.

I was beginning to think that I may be getting through to those pubertal brains since you had “slowed your roll” and were now looking at me as I spoke.

“So,” I paused, “What do you have to say for yourself? Go and pick up those garbage cans and I don’t want to see you doing that again!”

I was feeling good. I was feeling proud of doing something first-rate in my community— after all; it takes a village as they say. Just before my head started to really swell from this deed of good-doery I saw the leader of your pack’s hand move. It was as though it happened in slow motion.

He reached his hand slowly towards the sky, as though attempting to fist bump with the big-guy upstairs but instead he slowly, methodically, raised his middle finger with a vengeance that will stick with me for days to come.

“Go fuck yourself Lady!”

And there ends the tale of me, you and the tipped over garbage cans. I’d like to say I got in a few good come backs before you peddled off into oblivion but I was too horror struck to say anything at all.

I truly hope this was a simple case of “boys being boys” and perhaps you boys had taken it a little too far.

Because if not…If this is what our future generation feels is a suitable way to look after their elders – well folks, come old age, we’re all screwed.

Soccer Mom

Soccer season has officially begun. If I was feeling apprehensive as the days before Lars’ first game approached then I was an all out wreck by the time we arrived to the field the day of. But, like any good mother I swallowed up my nervousness and pushed it down to that same place that houses our inadequacies as parents and the mystery meat I ate for dinner the other day.

There was no particular reason I was brimming with anxiety over a small child’s soccer game, it was just that I somehow knew what was to surely unfurl just before the game commenced. Because though I was worried, Lars was even more so. This is something I’ve come to learn about my son. He gets nervous. Whether it be a bunch of children at the park he doesn’t know, trying out new hobby or starting an extracurricular, tension usually gets the better of him. Jamie can tend to be a nervous person and I seem to get flustered over anything that has to do with the children, so perhaps, Lars has learnt this behavior from us—I’d like to think not, but the possibility is definitely there.

However like most road bumps we’ve learned a few tricks of the trade to conquer and prevail. Mostly the ability for Jamie and me to veil the anxiety we are feeling over whatever anxiety Lars is feeling. In other words, my husband and I have become masters at faking serenity. Or so I thought.

The soccer field was filling up quick and it occurred to me that Lars seemed to be one of the only kids on his new team that hadn’t previously played the game. All of the soccer moms huddled together and the majority of the boys on the team were fist bumping and excitable.

Lars was kicking the ball around when the coach called in the boys to begin. The kid had literally stepped a foot onto the field when he was accosted by a flood of tears and terror (perhaps terror is a strong word…To me it felt like terror.)

“I—I just can’t do it…I’m too nervous!” He was saying between hyperventilating and compulsively tugging at the laces of his cleats.

“Oh you can do it buddy.” Jamie was saying supportively to him.

I had known this was coming from the moment we enrolled him in soccer and yet I was completely unprepared. I should have begun thinking up positive things to say as soon as I noted how tight-knit this soccer field and its patrons were, instead I just stood there rubbing his back uselessly.

I looked around at the other moms. They were yelling stuff like, “Get your foot on the ball!” or “Force them down to the other end of the field!” to their soccer star seven year olds. Hell I didn’t even know what half of it meant. These cheering mothers were sitting on fancy collapsible chairs with makeshift coolers as tables, it made my blanket strewn messily about over the ground seem rather inferior and incredibly novice.

I did the one thing no parent is ever supposed to do when faced with a similar situation. I said to my son, “You know Lars, if you don’t want to do soccer, you don’t have to.” It might have possibly have been the lowest point in my parenting career thus far. The pressure of soccer had gotten to me and I was ready to flee.

Thank God that Lars is the mature one out of all of us though. After the words came spewing regrettably out of my big mouth he seemed to have a change of heart. He wiped away his tears, grabbed a ball from the sidelines then ran in without anymore hesitation.

By the end of the half hour game he was just as enthusiastic as his teammates when someone would score a goal. He bragged for hours afterwards that he had kicked the ball six times (exactly) and next game he would definitely get it in the net. He was ecstatic.

As we drove home Lars said, “Mom, I’m really glad that I decided to stay. I really like soccer.” It was in that moment that I stopped worrying about Lars’ nervousness. I stopped worrying about how I was feeling in comparison. I stopped worrying about our inexperience in soccer and the other soccer moms, and I told Lars how proud I was of him.

It takes a lot of courage to stand up to your own nervousness. That night, my son taught me how to face your fears in the best kind of way.