Living Stories

The sun slips through a crack in my bedroom drapes and I roll over to put an arm around my snoring Jamie. I should really do some writing today. However the musing quickly slides away as a mounting to-do list takes precedence. There are always so many important things to worry about these days.

I hear the kids perusing the kitchen, likely on the hunt for Lucky Charms—their special weekend cereal. Rolling over and pulling the pillow over my head seems like the best option but the to-do list stops me. That damn to-do list, it gets me every time.

My legs feel heavy as I pull on my burgundy hole ridden sweats. I take a fleeting glance in the mirror but I don’t stay long because this early in the morning I don’t have the self-esteem to deal with un-showered, un-shaven, desperately tired with a side of bedhead Lindsay. Don’t cry for me blogoshpere, the truth is it just takes a bit of time for my girl power to kick into high gear on these lazy Sunday mornings—‘aight.

After an impromptu trip to the grocery store for milk, a quick clean of the kitchen, a shower and some coffee slurping I am off to work. The shop isn’t open today but there are some bakery orders that need filling and a bit of prep that is better not left for the last minute Monday morning madness.

I crank my go-to 90’s tunes and get to baking. I’m dancing and singing and sifting and mixing and I’m feeling pretty fucking good about it too. That is until an old friend creeps gently into the forefront of my thoughts.

God you should write today Lindsay. How long has it been? 3 maybe 4 weeks now. Cobwebs. Oh how we hate going back to the cobwebs.

Often, by this point, it just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. You know, too thick with dust to bother.

The feeling moves down to my lungs and palpitates in a rhythm that cries; it’s over, you’re done, give up, writing isn’t in the cards, everything else is too important.

I wonder if writing will ever near the top of the to-do list again. Or if it really is just, over.

All of the greats say that if you are a “real writer” you will make time for writing. You will allow writing to be your first priority. YOU will live, breathe, eat and shit writing,

I don’t know how they do this.

It honestly baffles me. I am barely, just BARLEY, hanging in there with what I’ve got going on. Owning a business and raising two children, who by the way I’d like to be active members of society, takes all of the energy I’ve got. How could I possibly put writing in front my family’s well-being or my children’s upbringing into awesomeness? Obviously it isn’t an option.

But this angst that has now encompassed the entirety of my body does not let me forget. It tells me that it is my nature. It is who I am. It does not brush easily to the wayside for long. I’m in too deep now. Just a few words would suffice, several sentences, perhaps a paragraph if I’m lucky. However any bit will do for now.

After the bread has baked and the cupcakes have been frosted I sit down at a keyboard. I don’t know what I will write until my fingers stroke the keys and sometimes it is garbage that only its creator can appreciate. Occasionally by some vast miracle of the universe another person can find some sort of weird and unruly truth in it. Sometimes when that happens I smile and remember why it feels good to write for other human beings enjoyment.

But every time, every single time, I put words to paper I feel as though this clutching presence has been lifted and once again I can breathe easy.

I suppose that at this point in life, I am meant to be building businesses and bringing up babies, slinging sentences whenever I can and going a little crazy while juggling it all. I should feel lucky that I am one of the few that know, like really know, what they were meant to do.

And in time the writing will come. One day there will a desk that looks out onto something beautiful, a keyboard waiting to be pounded on and a brain overflowing with tales to tell.

I look forward to that day. But first, we must live the life to tell the stories.

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They Are The Reason

As my word processing program boots up and blinks back into existence it scowls at me. It’s been a while old friend, I quietly say, as I am hesitant to let people know that I talk to inanimate objects.

It’s been over a month to be precise. But when I say things have been busy, I mean it literally.

The shop is getting busier and busier as the days go by. I’m not complaining because just between you and me I like money. I like it a lot. What I am complaining about is the achy feet, the stiff joints (because apparently I’m 279 years old these days) and the reeling to-do list which accosts the tiny bits of relief that momentarily surface in my brain. Oh the joys of being alive!

This last week however Jamie and I have got a bit of reprieve from the daily grind.  We shipped the small humans up to my parents house to stay with them for the week and by the looks of the photos I’ve been getting they are in their glory. And James and I have gotten a small taste of what it’s like to run a business without having tiny people in tow.

So, I’m just going to throw this out there guys…All of you humans that have no kids, um, what are you doing? Why aren’t you ruling the world right now? How are we, the exhausted parents, not your underlings yet? You are clearly the dominant species and should be prevailing over all civilisation. You surely have the energy for it!

Maybe that’s going a little far but after experiencing this last week, I have a newfound appreciation for ‘the working parent’ that’s for damn sure!

After dropping the babes off and heading back to Lethbridge we were solemn and sad, wondering how we could possibly stand this week without our darling littles.

After day one back to The Hot Wire there we were counting our float with huge grins on our faces, signing;

 

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For the next week we got up early to prep and stayed open late when the customers just kept on rolling in. We seemed to have endless energy! The work we got accomplished was unprecedented. We felt like we had the world by the small and curlies and there wasn’t anything or anyone holding us back.

Now as I am writing all of this there is a tiny screaming voice in the back of my thoughts saying, “there is a special place in hell for people like you Lindsay!” Because really, who actually talks about how much easier and more productive life is without children? It’s fucking blasphemy. It’s despicable. Its ludicrous!

But it is also the truth.

This morning I was in the shower, enjoying the uninterrupted cleansing time thinking about all of this. I thought about how productive life has been these last six days and how thankful I felt that our business was doing well.

And then just like that, discreet images of my two favourite people started nonchalantly dancing around in my memories.  Sophie mopping the floor at the shop while giving me her famous “Sophie look”. Lars, sitting at the table across from the till playing Uno like a pro. The hilarious things they say and the weirdo stuff they do flooded my brain and  it occurred to me that these two small humans ARE the shop.

They are the reason we started this thing up. They are the reason we work so hard to make it successful. Their smiles brighten the place on Saturdays and their presence gives us the drive to keep on going even when things seem impossible.

Yes a week here or there is nice to catch up on the little stuff. We all (including the kids) need a break from the routine now and then. But as I sit here typing my gaze continues to drift towards the clock and I find myself anxious to go pick them up.

Because as fancy-free as life was without them, the real adventure is experiencing the growth and evolution of our beautiful family together. They are the reason for everything we do and I don’t think I will ever be able to thank them enough for that.

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Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down

 

Wow! Two posts in one week? What kind of bizarro land is this? Man alive how things have changed! I remember a time when I would write two posts in one day. Man I was egotistical and obnoxious. Thanks for hanging in there you guys. Because now, now my friends I am the most self-adjusted, well-rounded, down-to-earth person I know. I’m so awesome.

So I’m not even exaggerating here when I say that I had THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE yesterday. Sure nobody died. And yeah I went to bed with a roof over my head, warm socks on my feet (yes I’m the wierdo who sleep with socks on) and a belly full of a delicious dinner digesting ever so happily in my stomach. But either way, it was THE WORST DAY EVER.

It wasn’t the face that I had been painting the office at work all day that got me down. Even though that is a bitch of a job and nobody in their right mind should want to partake in such activities. And it wasn’t the raging customers that seemed to continue to stroll through the doors yesterday either. It wasn’t even that one guy who kept comparing us to Subway and asking why we didn’t have certain menu items that they did. Despite the annoying eye twitch in the corner of my right eye, this was just another day at the grind.

The real problem was the furious case of mom-guilt that had slowly been inching its way up the back of my spine and burrowing itself deep into the back of my brain.

I should have seen it coming. I should have known that it would be on the brink of my psyche any day now. The signs were all there. I had been so busy with work. My spirits had been way up. I was actually feeling pretty damn good. The mom-guilt is there to knock you back down to size.

All day long this skulking just under my skull was telling me that I could do better. That I must read more with Lars. That I must listen to his long and drawn out stories of Super Mario Brothers more intently than the mere nod of a head and smile I usually offer.

This thing that was wrapping its long, antiquated talons around all that is good in my memory was reminding me that I must spend more time with Sophie. I must get her into the singing lessons she so desperately wants to be in and what about those art lessons she was asking about last month?

The mom-guilt had broken me and by midday I was nothing but a withering urchin shirking my obligations as an operational human being of society. Where is that dark hole and how long can I hide there?

Perhaps it had had enough of telling me how terrible of a mother I was because soon after lunchtime it began in on the other aspects of my life. The mom-guilt never straight up tells you you’re doing a shitty job. It just gives you a little nudge in the right direction. Hints, if you will.

*Boy oh boy, Jamie sure does work a lot harder than you.

*Oh look, that mom can handle her kid having a temper tantrum in public without totally losing her cool, why can’t you?

*Just a reminder friend, you have guests coming to visit next week and you’re home is literally the most squalid habitat on the face of the planet.

That evening when I drearily trudged into the house, I told the kids to play quietly downstairs. Meanwhile the mom-guilt laughed excitedly at how easily I had dismissed the homework portion of our routine. I ran a bath and sobbed; desperately trying to drown away this teeming culpability that had been building up inside of me all day long.

After I hugged and kissed my kids goodnight I too retired to my bed. I didn’t think about much. I literally zoned out on Gilmore Girls and wondered what it would be like to live in the magical hamlet of Stars Hollow. I needed sleep.

This morning I found the mom-guilt had disappeared, gone for now but certainly not forgotten.

Maybe it wasn’t the absolute “worst day of my life”. Probably not even in the top ten. But what I do know, is that the mom-guilt is real and when it takes holds it can be a hassle to break free from. For a long time I used to think it was just me, that I was just the worst mom ever, I was letting the mom-guilt win.

Now I look at it in a different way. I take what it so very subtly tells me, mull it over to see if any of it is viable information (mostly it’s not) and then quietly and matter-of-factly tell it to fuck right off.

And then I go back to being awesome.

So when I use this idiom, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” I mean the mom-guilt. Don’t let the mom-guilt grind you down friends. Because we all know how much of a raging bitch she can be sometimes.

Think Big. Act Accordingly. Stay Humble.

Jamie and I are officially on our Christmas break. We get an entire two days off and I don’t think I’ve felt this much Christmas glee in ages! It is the morning of December 24th and I am enjoying a warm cup of coffee at my computer. I’m not stressed out about getting to work on time to make bread or having to get the kids ready for school. I’m not thinking about upcoming Hot Wire orders or money or anything for that matter. I am just here in this moment and that feels great.

This last week has been a trial. We sort of snowballed when it came to making holiday trays. I put an add on Facebook that seemed to attract a lot of attention and long story short,  over the last three days Jamie and I have made around 500 eggnog flavoured cream puffs. This wouldn’t have been so bad if we, say, had two ovens to work with and, oh I don’t know, an employee or two. But really, what would a business be if it didn’t have some trials and tribulations to tell tales about in the years to come?! And you know what? We did it! It was probably a Hot Wire Christmas miracle but we did it none the less.

This time of year always gets me thinking about life and I am in awe at what we’ve accomplished since moving to this city. The friends and connections we’ve made have been irreplaceable and this experience; simply unbelievable.  Some days I come home and my back is killing me and feet feel as though they have lead pipes fastened to them. A better spouse would likely quiet this fact and ask how her partner was doing. Not me.

“Ugh, FUCK I’m so tired!” I will say in a bitter rage to my husband.

“It feels like I slept for an entire minute last night!” Jamie will rebut because if we are anything, it is on the same page about how close to zombies we’ve become since opening The Hot Wire up.

We persevere though because the shop means life and life is the shop. This is mantra as of late. ZOMBIES I TELL YOU — ZOMBIES!

A few days ago we had a couple of fellows stumble, and I literally mean stumble, through our doors. They approached our patrons asking each one if they would buy them lunch. Of course, once I caught on to their shenanigans I quietly asked them to leave.

“Well who the heck do you think you are little girl?” The one man slurred as the other fell to a nearby seat.

“Look guys, I’m not trying to be rude here but if you aren’t going to buy anything you’ll have to leave.” I repeated.

“Well what can I buy for two bucks?” He asked throwing a pile of change on the counter. I knew what he wanted but I find it difficult to give to those who barge into my life with unpleasant confrontations.

“Any of the baked goods.” I replied.

“What only these things?” he said smudging the display case`s glass with his oiled fingers.

“Yes sir…those things.” At this point he must have picked up on the condescension which was creeping into my tone of voice.

“Hey, so what, you work here or something?” He said as he swayed to imaginary music.

“Yeah, I own this place.” Screw Christmas kindness, I’m done being cordial to this jackass.

“Oooh whoopidity doo!” He replied rolling his eyes. “All of your food is too expensive anyways. You`re a joke.”

“Okay well you can leave then.” I reiterated for the tenth time.

I will spare you the gritty details, because in all honesty this conversation (if you can call it that) went on for another five minutes in loop-de-loops which resulted in nothing other than the man calling me a chubby cow and asking if I was smart enough to count change. All the while I kept a pretty decent cool if I do say so myself. Jamie managed to finally get them out of there by threatening to call the cops.

I could dwell on this. I could worry that I said the wrong things. I could waste so much of my precious time rolling it over in my mind thinking about what I could have done differently and how I can prevent this unpleasantness from happening again. But that would be pointless. The sad truth of it is, these things just happen. Rather than being angry about these two men coming into our shop, harassing us and frightening our customers, I am going to feel sorry for their lack of social interaction skills. I do however wish that if these guys were actually hungry and cold, that they would have approached us differently. We are happy to give what we can and provide a warm place from the cold to anyone in need. And I am so grateful that we have the ability to do so.

I`ve come to realise that Jamie really is my best friend. Together, it seems, that we can accomplish anything. We`ve grown a family, moved to a new city, built a business from nothing and created a life together. We are the epitome of the definition of partners; in business but more so in life. At the end of every month when our numbers get tallied we can see our hard work paying off slowly but surely. Our children are growing up healthy and happy and cared for. Yes we are tired. Yes we`ve had to make huge sacrifices. Yes some days it is difficult to find the wherewithal to go forward. But we will go forward. We will keep moving on with our plans and dreams and hopes and aspirations because that is what those who live in happiness will forever do.

Merry Christmas Friends and Family! I hope this post finds you all in positive spirits and looking forward to a new and exciting year ahead.

“stop trying to do everything by yourself.”

I woke up last Friday to find that my seven year old’s cheek was the size of a golf ball. It was red, swollen and looking very very painful. I asked him if it hurt and he said, “No but it feels a little weird.” I swear to God if I’d never seen him react to a stubbed toe I would think his tolerance for pain was extraordinary.

Turns out the poor guy had an infected tooth. We got the medicine and I am happy to report that he is well on his way to healing.

The whole experience threw me for a loop. Hello, worst Mother of the year over here, what with allowing my kid’s cavity to get so bad it became infected. We have the appointment booked to get it fixed but not until early November.  Until then, I guess I just have to let this enveloping feeling of guilt peppered with a bit of failure consume me.

Uhh yes the dramatics, hop on board, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride.

But seriously, the anxiety as of late, is coming at me from every direction and I don’t know what else I can do to fend this bitch off.

I worry about Lars and his tooth, I worry about Sophie and this newfound teenage attitude she’s dowsing herself in. I worry about school and if I am doing enough to help them along in what is the most important endeavour of their young lives. I worry about the shop and how to bring more customers in. I worry about money. I worry about time, because there’s never enough of it. And each time I conquer a hurdle I am oh so fucking worried about another worry pops up from the shadows. It’s as though it was just waiting there, ready to pounce as soon as I let out the tiniest sigh of relief.

Yesterday I started crying, like, what else is new? I was crying because of this overwhelming quilt of stress that started asphyxiating me. I didn’t exactly know how to remedy it. So I figured after a good ole blubber sesh I’d be able to pull myself together and pretend to be a functioning adult.

Well, the plan would have worked if not for my meddling husband. He was all, “What’s wrong Hunny?” and, “How can I help you right now Lindsay?”  Which was totally sweet, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes a gal just needs to wallow for a little while to get her wits about her.

So with a wrinkled cry-face and on the verge of hyperventilating I told my husband what was wrong.

“I’m just so stressed out Jamie.” I said because I thought it may not be very clear at that point. “I feel like an awful mother. I’m always such a basket case of anxiety, I don’t think I’ve been spending enough time with the kids, I should be helping out more at the school and I just feel like I’m totally failing my family.” My words were barely comprehensible, but Jamie being the star he is, knew just what to say.

“Stop being so stupid.” Awe so sweet. “Stop trying to do everything by yourself. There are two of us you know.” He said grabbing my shoulders and looking into my soul as he does from time to time.

“But what about tomorrow?” I said, “Tomorrow I need to make a fruit platter for Sophie’s class, talk to the office about Lars’ medication, make Halloween treats for the shop, get the kids ready for the Halloween parade at school, AND OPEN THE STORE!” I’m not going to lie, I was hysterical by this time and unravelling more and more by the second.

He pulled me in close and hugged me hard, almost as though he knew that I may explode at any moment and he was merely trying to hold me together. It worked. Once again my brilliant husband held me together. Man, I love that guy.

“Lindsay, you do the things you need to do at the school tomorrow. I will open the store.” He said calmly – not to spook the monster that was retreating back into her hiding spot. “We are a team, we can do this.” He smiled at me, “I fucking love you.”

“I fucking love you too.” I said.

And with the help of my best friend I moved on to the next hurdle that needed slaying.

 

 

Night Time Rescues

My eyes spring open, they are hot. My eyeballs are actually hot. Or maybe burning, yeah, burning sounds about right. A quilt of darkness shadows the room and my hands instinctively go for the bedroom lamp.  Someone is screaming my name.

My heart begins pounding rapidly once that filmy layer of sleep slips off of my conscience. I listen to her shrieks as though they are the only sound I have or will ever hear. I fumble for some pants, a long shirt, something because my brain is telling me relentlessly that I must get to her immediately.

Jamie rolls over, “what’s wrong” he sees me struggling and I can see the panic and confusion setting in behind the sleepiness of his eyes.

“Sophie is screaming.” I say as I step out of the room. He is behind me within seconds.

We make it downstairs and our daughter is huddled under her blankets. She screams, “MOM!” and the urgency in her voice sends a shiver down my spine.

“Whats wrong baby?” I ask as I snug my body next to hers.

“I had a nightmare.” She says emerging from the protection of her blanket cocoon. She is sobbing and it makes even her words sound wet.

I glance at Jamie, go back to bed Hun, I say without saying anything at all. Everything is okay now. He leans over and kisses his daughter on the forehead.

I don’t ask what her dream was about, kid nightmares are typically the worst. Their imagination is still so unsullied and ripe, even their good dreams are scary as shit. Instead I wrap my arms around her and try to make her feel safe so sleep will come easy.

I really don’t want to fall asleep in her bed because Sophie may very well be the worst person to share a bed with in the entire universe. She kicks and moves and sometimes merely crawls directly on top of you because your body seems to work as a better mattress than the actual mattress.

So I will myself not to sleep. As an alternative I think about motherhood. I think about how seconds ago when my daughter was calling for me it was the only thing that could have mattered in that moment. I think about how the label, “mom” has become synonymous with day to day life but also a sentiment of caring that is far too profound to even try to begin to explain to the layperson.

I think about how the stresses of money and work and all of that day to day hullabaloo doesn’t begin to compare to how I felt in that instant when I didn’t know why my daughter was screaming in the dead of night.

I squeeze her a little tighter and hear her flush breathing of sleep. I slowly get up to leave when she sleepily wraps her arms around my neck and says, “I love you so much Mom. Thanks for rescuing me.”

I want to tell her that her and Lars have saved me, time and time again. Their existence is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. I want to say that I love them beyond comprehensible logic. I want to tell her that our little family is mine and her Dad’s reason for fighting so hard in this life so of course I will rescue her.

However, I think that may be a bit overkill. Sleep is about to take her again soon so for now I reply with, “Any time my love, any time at all.”

The Art of Generosity

My parents are coming, my parents are coming!! This is the single most looping thought I’ve had all morning. They are coming to see me (I guess the kids and Jamie too) and I couldn’t be any more excited. Well, I could be but I have to save some energy for work today.

Colleen and Dan Sawyer are pretty much the greatest parents in the entire fucking universe! The proof is in the pudding (did I just actually use that phrase!?) when it comes to how unbelievably supportive they’ve been through our current year’s life changing events.

As you well know these last few months have been trying. There were times when we weren’t sure we would be able to pay the bills and moments where failure was a precipice we tottered on often.  I would call my sister-in-law and tell her my woes.  I would cry to my brother about how scary this thing we were doing was. I would straight up avoid talking to Mom and Dad because I didn’t want them to see how unsure I was about absolutely everything in our life.

However, like families do, when Dust and Ashley would be over at my parents for dinner the topic of Jamie and I and our panini problems would surely come up. Nothing malicious, just general concern about how we might be doing all the way down here in the thick of the Southern Alberta heat. Literally and metaphorically.

Except Dad, he would hold strong in his resolve that we will be just fine. Dad is and always will be the voice of reason when things start getting dramatic (something that can happen quite often with me and Moms active imaginations). He would say, all they need is to get the word out, it is going to happen for them. It’s all about word of mouth.

One thing about my dad is when he is not dreaming up some outlandish plan of action he can be impossibly logical. He’s wonderful like that.

So the day I phoned my parents to tell them we had to close early because we sold out of all of our food at the shop, the words did not come as a surprise to them.

As I told Daddio how busy we’ve been and how the people of this city seem to be falling in love with our sandwiches I could hear a smile on his face. This was quickly interrupted however with ideas and thoughts on how to keep up stock and prep so closing shop early doesn’t have to happen again. Better to be open and making green than closed because we were not prepared adequately. Oh how I adore that guy!

As usual Mom had a plethora of questions to ask about the shop. From how early I go in in the morning to what kind of characters we meet on a daily basis. My mom, like me, is a junkie for people. Who will they be? What quirks make them tick? She wants to know what fascinating history has brought them to where they are today. And she will indeed get this information out of them, in the most subtle of ways all the while making a person feel like they are undoubtedly the most important human on the face of the planet.

Her enthusiasm when it comes to me, Jamie, the kids and astounds me. She has this unbelievable way of making us feel like we are doing god’s work. Even if it is just pressing paninis for a living. We spoke for hours that morning on the phone. After I hung up I realised that I need to call them more. Talking with them brings me this extraordinary feeling of triumph. An overall sentiment that is better than it was before I heard their voices.

Besides the hundreds upon thousands of life lessons my parents have taught me, one that sticks out as I sit here today is the lesson of generosity. This, they have shown me time and time again. Generosity doesn’t have to come from a bank statement or a wallet. The kind of generosity my mom and dad have so aptly doled out to my brother and me over all of these years comes from a kind and steadfast spirit. That extra push saying that you can and in fact will do what you’ve set out to do. Their generosity has been as simple yet profound as building our confidence up (sometimes to, perhaps, obscene levels) when everyone else is rooting for us to flop.

Generosity is an art. If you give and then immediately feel you need something in return I’m sorry to break it to you but you’re doing it wrong. Generosity is about giving what you can without expectation. It is about being rewarded by the knowledge that you’ve done something good. And true generosity is a beautiful thing. It proves that there is still so much good in this world, in the human race.

Now, as I sit here and read over these words my heart is eager to see the two people who have selflessly had a hand in giving us the strength and confidence to make it to where we are today.

Only a few more hours!!!  421008_561102740585388_1187082580_n

Life: Open For Business

So going back to work has been a bit of a learning curve.

You know, I really didn’t think it was going to be that difficult to get back into the swing of things. I imagined I would breeze in there all like, oh yeah I’m Queen Bee of working and moming and I am the master of both my domains!

**followed by exaggerated maniacal laugh. **

Except this is not at all how it has been going.

Every day I drag my tired screaming body out of bed and wonder what the fuck I’ve gotten myself into. I think about how easy my previous life was in comparison. I fondly reminisce about all of my worry-free days of stay-at-home mom-ery and I fawn over those memories with longing.

However after a cup of coffee, I punt myself back into reality while I slather on some mascara and get on with life-as does every other person on the planet.

I do the mornings at the shop while Jamie does the long afternoons. I can’t complain. Jamie typically bests my nine hour shifts by two or three hours more each day. He almost lives there. But I do complain, a lot. Not about the fact that I’m tired and I am having a difficult time getting into a routine—these things will come. I complain about the tiny, minuscule things I miss about the ‘before times’.

I miss Sophie’s haphazard and dazed look when she awakens and trudges her way upstairs in search of cereal. I miss the way Lars would hide around the corner of the kitchen only to yell, “GOOD MORNING MOM!” as loud as he possibly can in those wee hours as I myself would be trudging into the kitchen. I miss Jamie rolling over still half asleep, putting his arm around me and whispering that the kids can wait just five more minutes as he nuzzles his cold nose into my neck.

These are the little things that I complain about not getting enough of anymore. And although they are small, the price seems like a big one to pay.

Aside from the mom-things that have been effected, there are a few other aspects of this new life that are quite daunting.

Let’s begin with the fact that Jamie and I are business owners! Do you know how different that is than being an employee?! When I worked outside of the home I always considered myself a pretty star wage earner. I’d show up early and stay late if needed. I went the extra mile. I was always friendly and courteous. I was one hell of a trainer when necessary. And I felt like I treated my position with as much respect as I would if I owned the place.

Except I didn’t. Not. Even. Fucking. Close.

The truth of the matter is, one doesn’t know what it’s like to be a business owner until you are, in fact, a business owner. Before, I never understood exactly how much was on the line if something (anything) happened to screw up. You don’t realize what one bad review of your company could mean. You have no clue how completely and utterly accountable you are until it is only you, you have to answer to.

We’ve done well thus far but the sneaking knowledge that our entire future is riding on this venture is always weighing in the back of our busy minds. It’s a large burden to bear to say the least.

So there’s that.

And about a hundred other things that continue to make me look back on the days before The Hot Wire, before moving, before everything changed, with fond recollections.

How easily it would be to slip back into those days of carefree living.

That is, until I dredge up how ‘carefree’ it wasn’t. Perhaps before the Panini shop (which now feels somewhat like a lifetime ago) we may not have had such *pressing* (see what I did there) issues but we did have issues none the less. We felt like we were standing still and not progressing in the life we were living. We felt like we were teaching our kids to sit and complain about all of the woes in life rather than going out and doing something about it. We felt lost because we simply weren’t doing what we were meant to be doing. We didn’t feel in control of our own lives and there is actually nothing worse than that kind of a thing weighing you down.

Now, those feelings are but a mere story of how we started on this current journey.

I think anywhere we go in life there will always be the learning curve. There will forever be challenges and worries that we aren’t doing right for ourselves and our family. There will be doubt.

It doesn’t matter how far you move, what new challenges you face, there will sometimes be moments of suffocation. There will always be moments of victory. I don’t think any successful human being can have one without the other.

So whatever it is you are doing, keep doing it. Keep trying the new. Keep yourself on your toes. Be scared and excited and thrilled by anything. And do it every single day.

Life is weird and uncertain and totally terrifying at times. But at any given moment it can also be very very magnificent.

 

 

2 Cent Saturday

 

Some days I can do three loads of laundry, make a pancake breakfast, and get a week’s worth of writing done all before nine a.m.

Some days I find myself huddled in the corner of the bathroom with a bucket of Nutella attempting to scarf it down as fast as I possibly can without the offspring locating my whereabouts.

It’s all about balance you see. It’s about having the ability to discover what kind of day you’re going to have before it has even started. Will it be an “I am Wonder-Mom” kind of day? Or, more likely, will it be a pajama pants because you can’t even bring yourself to squeeze into the yoga pants kind of day? It’s about accepting the plight that is parenthood and giving into it gracefully.

Because when it comes down to the nitty gritty we can’t do the Wonder-Mom thing every God-damn day. Well not without a vessel of Valium and about thirty-five martinis that is. And you know how the Granola Moms frown upon that these days. So we are left with having to accept that some days we just can’t do it all.

It is either one or the other—slobby do-nothing Mom or Wondrous Wonder-Mom. Black. White.

Or at least that’s what everyone’s been telling me.

There is this strange mentality that I’ve noticed popping up lately and that is that everything seems to have to be all or nothing. Perhaps it has always been like this and I’ve just been too wrapped up in myself or apathetic to notice. But I’m noticing now, and it’s weird and makes me feel uncomfortable.

As parents we seem to categorise ourselves into these sections. Like “hover moms” “free range parenting” “no preservatives” “McDonalds parents” and we hang on to these stereotypes like they were our first born child.

Let’s get real here people. I try my damnedest to feed the Lars and Soph clean healthy food, however when I’m pressed for time or simply having a PJ pants kind of day they are getting a big ole box of KD with extra ketchup. I let my kids play in the backyard unsupervised because I’ve smashed “stranger danger” into the farthest depths of their brains. However I still go and check up on them every single night before I turn in to assure they are breathing. I’ve been doing this for eight consecutive years now and in all honesty I can’t see myself stopping any time soon.

Picture this if you will: me, sneaking into Lars’ apartment when he is 25 years old and stealthily popping my head over his bedside to investigate whether or not he has breath sounds. It will be when I ever so gently place the small mirror I’ve brought (because I like to think ahead) over his mouth to see the breath in question that his girlfriend at the time awakens. Resulting in extreme awkwardness. For them.

Motherhood is weird and poor Lars will never be able to keep a steady relationship with my crazy shenanigans.

I think as a society we need to expel this notion that when it comes to parenting there is only wrong or right. In most cases at least. Obviously some things are just downright wrong and some things are gloriously right. Like Tacos.

Ain’t nobody gone tell me tacos on their wrong list.

Ahem, Oh look once again I’ve been sidetracked by the fabulous thought of tacos.

Anyway, it’s the ego’s downfall that we are constantly at war with each other over issues like which parenting methods are best and what colour a dress on the internet is-I don’t know why I’m still on that, it was like a million years ago.

If we could for one moment set aside those big pulsating ego’s we could see that in most cases there is a middle grounds that we can all come to reside in and be overall contented with. And if there isn’t? Then allow your self-image a few moments of humility and try to see something from another’s point of view. The stubbornness we exhibit does not progress us as a society. We stay stagnant at an impasse because none of us can agree on what’s best.

If we open ourselves up we may learn a thing or two, moving forward into new potentials.

Or, you know, just go sit in the bathroom and consume copious amounts chocolatey Nutella, whateves.

Taking a Breather

Quickly I run the mouse over the red X in the right hand corner of the screen. If I am going to get anything done I have to pull myself away from the tantalizing grips of my Facebook world. As I watch the screen disappear I feel a momentary melancholy because all I really want to do right now is mindlessly scroll through a sea of Selfies and dumb political opinions. I don’t want to think, or read or have to conjure up anything from the foggy depths of my brain because I am just too damn tired for that.

It’s been about two weeks now since I’ve sat down at this computer and wrote anything at all. I force myself to put my fingers to the keyboard because whenever I happen to go this long without writing a sneaking fear begins to burrow its way into the better judgement section of my brain. What if I forget? What if I lose the ability to sling sentences? What if I lose interest in the art of wordsmithing altogether? What the hell then?!

As much as I don’t actually believe this will happen, there is a small part of me that will probably never let go of this completely irrational worry.

So here I am, writing. I don’t really know what to write about at this very moment but my hands seem to be clicking away at a good pace so I will just let them do the work I suppose.

Everything has been going pretty swell at the Panini factory. Our doors are open and every day we seem to be gaining more happy customers which is truly a beautiful thing. I think one of my favourite parts of this new adventure is meeting all of the people who walk through The Hot Wire’s doors.

A few have been back several times and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that our little shop is a place that people just like hanging out. This is what Jamie and I always envisioned when we talked about opening The Hot Wire. Now, it is coming to fruition and we couldn’t be happier.

Of course it hasn’t all been a pleasure cruise. For the first few days we were pretty dead. Like I mean NOBODY new about us at all. Here I was thinking I was such a marketing wizard with my awesome Facebooking skills. What I’ve learnt about Facebook advertising is that a whole lot of people can “like” your page and that does not mean jack when it comes to them coming into your shop.

On grand opening day we were packed to the roof with prep and bread from the hordes of people we imagined would be fighting each other (literally just destroying each other) to get a mere taste of our sandwiches. In reality we had about ten costumers. It was not very glorious at all. So in the days to follow Jamie and I would be mentally willing the people who walked past the front of our shop to pop their head in and take a whiff of the delicious treats we had on display.

Now, by “mentally willing” I actually mean awkwardly staring down anyone who came near our doors as we wore ridiculously large smiles and expectant expressions on our faces. We were probably scaring more people away than anything. I would have been scared.

However a few humans did brave the weird vibe we were giving off and ended up loving the food. This is exactly why you shouldn’t judge an oddball book by its cover people!!

And there it began, the infamous word-of-mouth advertising. Seriously it works like a charm!

Each day our numbers are growing. We are becoming more confident in this huge endeavour we’ve taken on. And damn does that ever feel good!

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Yet Another Post About the Infamous Sleepy Bear

 

As mothers we stress. I think it must be something in our chemical make-up. If I told you how many times a day I find myself getting all worked up in the feels about some random thought…Well, I just wouldn’t tell you because it’s embarrassing.

Jamie is a stress-case too, which you would think would make things super awful pretty much all of the time with us both riddled with anxiety. However that’s not the case. My husband is an entirely logical man. He looks at the world through rational and balanced eyes, which is one of the hundreds of reasons why he is so good for me.  So when Jamie stresses he stresses about issues that are right there in front of him and how to fix those things that need fixing.

I stress about different stuff. The stuff that has no real value in this day to day life because if it were to happen it may probably change the course of history as we know it. I stress endlessly about zombie apocalypses and how I would save my brood from an undead army. I stress about that time I said a snappy comment to that cashier and she looked like she was about to cry. I stress about make-believe conversations I might one day have with my arch-enemy. Then I stress about the fact that I actually have an arch-enemy.

I stress about what the hell would happen if we ever lost Sleepy Bear.

This last thought hits a nerve. That bear is Sophie’s world. Literally, her entire existence revolves around one grimy disgusting bear that wears a pink and white polka doted hat.

I’ve tried to teach her that we shouldn’t rely so much on physical things to make us feel happy and content. It is our loved ones and our inner happiness that truly keeps us satisfied. Whenever I say this she just looks at me with a blank look and squeezes the bear tighter as if I am about to yank him out of her little grasp right then and there.

Last night as I was tucking her in I asked her if she was enjoying her new after school program. She said she loved it but she wanted to bring Sleepy in her backpack tomorrow.

“I don’t know if they let you play with toys from home there sweetie.” I said to her thinking that a little time away from the bear may be good for the kid.

“That’s okay I will just have him in my backpack.” She paused but then realizing that I needed further explanation continued, “Mom, I just feel better when Sleepy is with me. Even if I can’t play with her I just like knowing that she is near me. She’s like my kid.” The frankness in her voice was beautiful for a child of five years old and in that moment I had two emotions punch me in the gut.

First, pride. Pride that my little girl could so eloquently explain her love for the small stuffed bear that she holds so dearly. How amazing it is that she can open up to me and effortlessly describe her feelings when it comes to her plaything.

Secondly anxiety. Which brings me back to the stress of losing the damn thing. She referred to it as her kid for the love of God!

And so there it is, just one more random thing to get pushed into my already crammed brain when it comes to things that keep me up at night.

I think life would be a lot easier if I was a normal stress-case and worried about typical things like money and the economy and whether or not Trump is going to one day take over the world.

Whatever type of stress you have it can be a really scary thing. But I think the answer to all of it remains the same. Confront it head on, let it know you won’t be scathed and move forward with confidence.

 

Helping Our Small Humans

Change is great. Change is healthy. Change is good. These are the things I keep telling myself because if I don’t I will spiral into a pool of self-pity and sorrow. Okay perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic, although, our writer-reader relationship has probably evolved to a point where that doesn’t surprise you.

The Brown household has been feeling the pressure of change in these last few weeks and despite my valiant attempts at embracing it all, I find myself withering fast.

Jamie and I are having to work double time at the shop hoping to have it ready for production by early May. However, even that seems to be a long shot now as there continues to be issues popping up left right and center. This in turn leaves the poor children dangling helplessly over the precipice of neglect and abandonment. Again, with the dramatics.

We’ve enrolled them in an afterschool program which I am positive they will love, however it hasn’t started yet. So we’ve been doing what so many Ma and Pop shops have done since the dawn of Ma and Pop shops. We haul our small humans to the Panini factory and they hang out there until we are done our work. Lars definitely has it better as he is in full days of class so it is rare that we need to bring him, but Soph is still in kindergarten which means only half days. Every morning Jamie and I load her and approximately 700 teddy bears into the car to make the journey across town to work.

We then toil away with whatever is on the chopping block that day while Sophie interrupts us every five minutes. She is very good about keeping us in the know when it comes to her hunger or her boredom or when something smells slightly strange in her general vicinity. Occasionally her left toe is bugging her and when it’s not any of that you can be sure that some other peculiar five year old woe has hammered down upon her.
It pains me to say it but we can see the agitation in her everyday life. She is ornery and short tempered. She continues to try haggling with me for mere sport.

“Mom, I will clean my room if you give Sleepy Bear a birthday party tonight. With cake. And presents.”

“Umm first of all that bear has had like ten birthdays already this year and secondly you will clean your room so it doesn’t develop an army of bug creatures from all of the filthy clothes that are peppered around the place.” This is just one example of our bartering conversations.

Oh and the tantrums. How could I forget the tantrums?

There we were in the parking lot of the school while she was screaming louder than I’ve ever heard any human being scream. Her little face was nearing purple while tears streamed down her cheeks.

She was perturbed that her brother had gotten into the car before her.

As the child stomped her feet on the pavement I reimagined the song Hello, by Adele.

 

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As the lyrics swept through my skull I started to think. I knew that these temper tantrums were stemming from somewhere. Sophie wasn’t inherently angry like this—no kid is.

Other Moms were walking past the spectacle side-eyeing my dilemma. In that moment I felt like the worst parent to have ever walked those school grounds. Although I’m sure that most of them just looked at me with a sad pitying kind of stare. Let`s face it, we’ve all been there.

It didn’t take much to realise what the problem was. My daughter was simply missing me. She has never had to share me with a full-time job and that is a big challenge for our little family. So instead of threatening her with no ice cream after dinner. Or pulling out that notorious whisper-demon voice and telling her to get into the car. I wrapped my arms around my little girl and I hugged her hard.

I did say something into her ear as I embraced her, and that was that I loved her. It took a few seconds but she relaxed, melted into my hug and eventually told me she loved me back.

Change is great and change is healthy and it is good too but we must remember that change can only be all of these things if we take the time to help escort the people we love most through the difficult times.

 

Embrace It

I’ve always believed that happiness equated to success. If you are happy, you are successful. No if’s, no and’s, no but’s. Joyfulness, without a shadow of a doubt, means that you are rocking this thing called life. The theory fits pretty snugly into everyday life. When we are feeling cheerful, we sit on top of the world. Nothing shakes us. We are firm in our resolve that if we can keep up this feeling of euphoria then all will remain right on this big ole sphere.

However therein lies the problem—we cannot be happy all of the time. Well at least I for one can’t. It’s exhausting. I have hundreds of moments throughout the day where stress showers down on me. Periods of heartache and disappointment from the many unforeseen experiences of everyday life. There are times when a myriad of emotions will whitewash me and I will be left with this astounding feeling of nothingness.

It drives me to believe that any emotion other than happiness means we are not doing “it” right. Right? Where did that idea come from? Why do I feel like I am somehow failing when I am anxious? Why do I expect some foreboding disaster to appear when I’m sad? Why do I liken any emotion other than joy with negativity?

When did it stop being acceptable behaviour to feel?

Lately I’ve been “feeling” a lot. Let’s start with my inability to decipher a scam phone call when it is right in front of me (humiliation/anger). Or perhaps we should talk about the fact that I’ve been procrastinating getting the kids into another after-school activity (guilt). What about how I’ve somehow managed to gain five pounds despite my new workout routine (failure). We are very behind schedule at The Hot Wire and most definitely will not be opening on our sought out date of May 1st (angst).

All of these emotions resulting in a gaping feeling of despondency. If only I could remedy these woes or simply push them away, all would be right in the world once more.

However I don’t think life works that way. There will always be sadness and anger and guilt and humiliation. There will always be those uncomfortable moments. If there wasn’t, I don’t think happiness would feel so good.

It doesn’t matter how many scam artists I dodge, or after school programs I cram down my children’s throat or even if I lose 30 pounds—there will always be something else.

Now I can see that this post is taking a turn for the melodramatic so I will shift.

We’ve established that there is and always will be a reservoir of emotions at the stem of our life, but the question now is what to do with that. Clearly allowing it to steer us into even greater emotional disparity is unwise, so what’s left?

Dare I suggest that we allow oneself to validate those feelings.

When we feel the crippling anger of being misled for example, instead of trying to push that emotion away what if we honour it? What if we were to spread that feeling out thin enough to wrap ourselves up in it? Allowing every inch of our person to understand what it was feeling. To give ourselves time to grasp why the anger was there in the first place. What if we embraced the “bad” feelings as closely as we do the good ones? What if we granted ourselves the time to work through our emotions rather than condemning them?

Let’s look at how we teach our children for example. When our kids get good marks in school or draw a fine picture we celebrate them accordingly. There is no time limit on this celebration, only an unbridled happiness shared by all. However when they are angry or saddened by something, sure we may allow them an allotted period of time to “get over it” but subconsciously we are willing them to move on and just be done with that emotion. It is unpleasant therefore it is unwanted.

This afternoon Sophie was upset. She was crying and feeling sad and there seemed to be nothing I could do to “fix it”. So I gave her the only thing I could, time. Later, I asked her if there was something she wanted to talk about and she replied, “Mom, sometimes we all just need a big cry.”

And you know what, I think my five year old is onto something. This life can be so chaotic and complicated and scary and mystifying that there is no possible way we could move through it with only a handful of emotions to rely on. We are a complex species thus our emotions will be vast—infinite. We should celebrate these sentiments rather than feel indignity over them.

It means we are living and that is as prosperous as it gets.

 

 

 

Fan Mail

I’ve been writing my blog, The Blogging Mama, for close to four years. I’ve been writing my column, Me Plus Three, for two. In my history of publicly writing I’ve heard things like, “you are so funny, and descriptive!” and “I love that you are so in touch with your emotions.” This last one is a little questionable, they may just be getting my irrationally unhinged personality mixed up with being “in touch”.

I’ve also had complete strangers message me saying that writing such intimate stories about my children for anyone to read is immoral and just plain bad parenting.

It startled me I’m not going to lie. The day I opened that message on my Blogging Mama Facebook page my heart stopped for a moment and my breath was taken away. Did someone actually think that my writings were hurting my kids? Like, screw you lady…is what I wanted to write back.

For about a millisecond I thought about quitting. But then an uplifting Taylor Swift song came on and my confidence came dashing back upon the crown of my stalwart imaginary pony. I told my friend Scott about this message I had received. Scott’s in the movie biz and has had his fair share of awful to unusual fan mail so I figured he’d understand my dilemma.

He told me to ignore it, that’s always the best way to deal with these types of people. So I did, I ignored it. Not only because it was obviously the right thing to do but also because I keep hoping that sooner or later Scott will introduce me to some famous people and when he does I can talk about how I too have to disregard “all” of the wearisome mail that comes piling in sometimes. I envision the famed folk talking a lot about their fan mail, it seems like that would be a regular topic of convo in that circle of peeps.

**I am imagining my friend Scott reading this and shaking his head right now.

The thought of celebrities has gotten me so off track I can’t remember what the hell I was talking about.

Ah yes that’s right, me, being the worst mother alive because I have gained fame (well that’s stretching it) and fortune (now that’s just going way too far) off the innocent stories of my small humans.

I guess it comes down to a waiting game of sorts. Right now Lars and Sophie think my job is cool. Lars is always asking what my blog is about and Sophie is closely following her Mama’s footsteps as a descriptive storyteller. She is amazing!

Perhaps in years to come the novelty of my writings will wear thin for them. Maybe they won’t enjoy me spinning these tales about their life and times. Of course if and when that day comes I will revolutionize my subject matter to some further newfangled theme.

The greatest writers all say the same thing and that is to write what you know. Well I know my children. I know them better than I know anything else and I love etching down their everyday lives into permanence.

It’s been over a year since I received that message in my inbox. Maybe the woman was just having a bad day and needed to take it out on a perfect stranger. Maybe she actually read some of my stuff and realized how incredibly hilarious I am and immediately felt terrible for writing such things to me. Or maybe she went on with her day never thinking twice about her words and how they could affect their recipient.

I wish I was the kind of person who could easily breeze over these types of situations, but sadly I’m not and probably never will be. They sting. They eat away at the depths of the soul (too much?) and sometimes in the still of the night I wonder why people needlessly aim to hurt others. It is a sad state of affairs but one that we have little control over. So I think the best I can do is stand up, be kind to others and keep doing what I’m doing with glitzy jazz hands.

Faultfinders will follow you to the ends of the earth. I’ve decided that I am going to take it as a compliment. It means I’m doing something with my life worth talking about. If these people want to chat about my comings and goings like I’m some sort of…CELEBRITY! Then I thank them kindly.

That means I’m just one step closer to that exclusive circle of legendary humans whom tête-à-tête all day about fan-mail.

WINNING!

 

Being Kind & Kicking Ass

It was painting day at the Panini shop. As of right now I seem to be bathing in a slew of Panini’s so you will have to deal with yet another sandwich-store related rambling. We had decided to scrimp a bit in the paint department since our bay has outlandishly high ceilings. We didn’t want to be spending a small fortune on paint, so we chose the cheapest orange (The Hot Wire’s logo colour) paint we could find.

I was pumped and I just knew it was going to be spectacular!

However after the fourth application of paint I began to get a little perturbed. By perturbed I mean sobbing hopelessly on the ground asking the thin air in front of me why I could still see every damn brush stroke and flaw that this stupid bastard of a wall had to offer.

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I kindly asked impatiently pressed Jamie to go down to the paint store to ask them what we could possibly be doing wrong. I would have gone myself but lately I’ve been trying this “kindness” thing on for size and let’s just say I wasn’t in a particularly kind mood at that moment.

It turns out orange is one of the most difficult paints to apply. Right from the beginning this detail in combination with our super insanely cheap paint was a cocktail for the perfect disaster. These were the “expert’s” exact words to Jamie when he explained our painting plight.

Would have been nice to know when we were in there yesterday buying all of this contemptible orange paint—but yeah, okay, thanks for the tip Tips.

Things started looking up however after applying the fifth and final coat to the walls.

I was feeling good until I looked at the time to find that I had about seven minutes to get to the kids’ school to pick them up. Now if you know me, you know that this would have sent my emotions reeling. I had to get across the city in seven minutes or else I was going to be late. Me? Late? NEVER!

As I spotted my car I contemplated doing the whole jump and slide over the hood spectacle but envisioned myself simply body slamming into the side of it as a feeble alternative. I’d probably dent it up pretty bad and end up smearing the still wet paint from my clothes all over its white exterior too. It would be a mess. So I just walked around to the driver’s side instead.

I was making good time until that sweet little elderly woman cut me off.

“Be calm Lindsay, it’s just a little further. Stay calm.” I was on one of the busier city streets and the ninety year old was topping her motor vehicle out at a whopping 30 kilometers an hour. I had what was adding up to be a damned convoy behind me of angry motorists some of who were even flipping me the bird.

I was about to throw down some pretty creative language myself when I remembered my “Quest for Kindness”. Earlier that day my friend Janelle and I were talking about how we wanted to actively bring more kindness into our lives and the lives of others. I’ve said that before, but I actually meant it this time—I swear. So I curled down my middle finger and gently put my hand back on the wheel.

Eventually I got to school. I wasn’t even late…by that much. It actually killed me a little inside.

On our way home the kids asked to stop at the park. As much as I just wanted to get home and wash the remnants of that dastardly orange paint off of my skin I agreed because I’d rather them blow off steam in the open fields of the park than in the small confines of our car.

Moments after I sat down I noticed a few of the surrounding parents staring at me. Some of them were having full out conversations and I seemed to be their subject matter. The anger was rising and if I were in a bad 90’s movie I would have said something catty like, “take a picture it lasts longer.”

I was worn down from a wretched day. Sodden in sweat stained clothes and shitty orange paint. My hair was whipping about wildly as I had lost my tie somewhere in the midst of it all. I probably looked homeless. No wonder these assholes wanted to style a few verbal jabs in my direction.

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I gave them a friendly/awkward smile and a wave. They looked shocked that I had acknowledged them and that made me feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.

Perhaps that’s why I then yelled in the grimiest of voices, “Come’n kids! Uncle Toenail gets out on parole today and it’s our turn to pick him up!”

And it occurred to me then that sometimes kindness can be as simple as giving the judgemental strangers on the next bench over something interesting to talk about.

Pressing The Button

The trek to school is a lot longer since we have moved into the new house. Before it was quick jaunt down the back alley behind our home—a minute and a half tops. This was nice because if necessary we could leave two minutes before the bell was to ring and still make it there on time. Of course that very rarely happened due to my obsessive compulsive need to be early for every event I’ve ever been involved in throughout the history of my entire life. It’s sort of a problem.

Typically, even with the convenience of our close living accommodation, my children were the first to arrive at school almost every single day.

Now however, it takes us about ten minutes to walk to their new school and there are some obstacles we must overcome while doing so.

The first time we hiked it, we hadn’t yet discovered the short cut. The treacherous journey took us nearly twenty minutes. We had to walk beside an increasingly busy roadway which did not do well for my nerves as Sophie continued to absentmindedly wander annoyingly close to the racing by vehicles. I must admit that I have done an awful job so far in preparing my children for the “real world”. For example, when I go grocery shopping, instead of bringing them along and teaching them something about food costs and preparation, I do my best to ditch the babes at home with Jamie or wait until they are in school. This is probably why seemingly normal aspects of life tend to astonish them.

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Which brings me to my next point.

Once we found the shortcut to the school, life got a bit easier. I wasn’t as paranoid that they were going to fatefully walk out in front of one of those speeding city buses. Not to mention it cut down our walking time by half! Plus there is only one busy junction we must conquer on this route which makes things a lot simpler. Or that is what I originally thought.

Apparently, the crossing button, is officially the coolest thing in the entire universe. Ever since having to explain that we mustn’t ever step out on the street without pressing the button Lars and Sophie have become infatuated with it.

I believe my exact words were, “We cannot go on the road until we press the button and the sign tells us to walk.” They may have read a little too far into that.

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As we approached the dreaded button this morning, Lars began running full bore towards the thing. My heart stopped momentarily because I envisioned the kid not being able to stop in time and haplessly running out into oncoming traffic. Will that lurking paranoia ever end? You know, the imaginings of horrible and awful things. Maybe it’s just a parent’s lot in life.

Anyways he was able to stop and before I could tell him to let his sister share in the pressing of their beloved he had already made contact. The BEEP-BOOP sound pitched high above us and we moved to cross the street. Well, at least Lars and I did.

Sophie had plopped herself on the sidewalk and was crying to the Gods above asking why oh why she was never granted the gift of pressing that God forsaken button herself. (Even though she had pushed it not even twenty-four hours before).

“Sophie what are you doing?!” I said halfway across the street. Lars was already on the other side and the anxiety was beginning to build inside of me. Three cars were now lined up awaiting our crossing. One kid on either side of the street and me stuck in the middle. Sophie wasn’t moving and Lars wasn’t listening to me as I stridently screamed at him to come back to the other side. I had to make a decision where to go because I surely couldn’t stay in the middle of the street. The look of the motorists faces were that of pure loathing. They hated me and my current awkward predicament.

I ran back to grab the girl child as I figured she had the highest flight risk.

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“Okay there, you can press the button.” I say as I pull her off of the ground, all the while keeping a firm eye on my seven year old who was halfway down the block by this point.

Sophie immediately turned off the waterworks and gaily hopped towards the crossing switch. She pushed it with a dainty finger and waited for her queue to move across the street.

I was still quaking with nerves and I had to wonder if our morning exercise was worth the years I was losing in mere stress over the event. We caught up with Lars and he nonchalantly asked what had kept us so long. I didn’t answer but instead told them that from now on, I think I will do the button pressing when it comes to crossing the street.

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The Toothpaste Predicament

My son has a certain way of doing things. He is stubborn and persistent and to tell you the truth he probably gets that from yours truly. The kid has a mind of his own and will most likely continue to do things in his own weird way. And it’s really never been a problem, well, until it was.

One of the small and seemingly insignificant things he does, is when putting toothpaste on his toothbrush he lays the tube on the counter horizontally over the edge while holding the brush directly beneath the nozzle. He then will lean his entire weight down on the tube, generating a magnificent surge of peppermint smelling sticky stuff onto his brush.

I have told him time and time again not to load his toothbrush this way since he is wasting paste, making a god-awful mess and not to mention annoying me to no ends. I have made him scrub away the caked on mess he gets on the counter, cabinetry and floor and I have showed him how to properly remove the toothpaste from the margins of its cylinder.

At the time he listens to my advice with knowing eyes and a complacent smile.

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However he rarely abides by my suggestions and when I am not glaring over his shoulder he continues to use his unconventional ways when preparing to brush his teeth.

This morning, like most mornings, I woke up and had the overwhelming urge to pee. I stumbled to the bathroom still half asleep, plopped myself down and let flow.

Maybe I saw the bright green gob of paste on the toilet paper out of the corner of my eye. Maybe I did not notice it at all. Or maybe at the time I simply did not care to comprehend what the effects of using that particular piece of paper would do to my poor nether regions. What I know for sure is that soon after, I experienced a kind of unease that no human should ever have to endure that early in the sunrise hours.

As I stood up it happened. The slight burning sensation commenced.

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I paused mid stance and thought, “Well that is rather uncomfortable.” But engaged in a little shimmy thinking maybe that would help.

To be clear that made it absolutely worse.

Before I could know what was happening to me, my entire front bum was encompassed with a burning awareness that would have made the depths of hell envious. I froze to the spot, wondering what in the name of Hades Torch was happening to my fuzzy peach. The tingle had evolved into a scorching attack of soft skin and tenacious pink flesh. It seemed to creep into every crevice of my cave of wonders, not missing a single cranny!

I let out a yelp and instinctually grabbed for my lady garden, but straightaway realized that that was a terrible idea. I’m not sure why the contact of my hand made my plight even worse but it did.

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It was then, as my entire hoo-haw was being consumed by the horror of this red-hot suffering that I looked to my right and saw the toothpaste container hanging guiltily over the porcelain counter. There was a gob of green toothpaste on the floor beneath the toilet paper roll…And slowly I began to put the disturbing pieces of this predicament together.

Without thinking I hopped bowlegged into the bathtub, cranked the cold water and began splashing soothing fluid onto and around my notorious V.A.G. Instant relief came to me and I began feeling a bit more relaxed. That was until I heard the doorknob rattling.

I considered the spot that I was in.

Legs spread as wide as the Grand Canyon, pelvic thrust towards the serenity that was the flowing cold water tap, and an expression of pure horror combined with an unsettling look of reprieve plastered on my face. I didn’t know who was on the other side of that door, all I knew was that I wanted NOBODY to see me in such a perilous position.

It was not my voice that next exited my person, but something else…Something from somewhere deep within me.

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A half-hoarse demented demon creature shouted in the darkest and most sinister way, “DON’T COME IN HERE! I’M BUSY!” I then continued splish-splashing the pacifying water on my Susie Q.

Finally the horror of it all had passed. Completely and utterly worse for the wear, I hobbled out of the bathroom.

I found my son.

I crept up close to him, leaned in so my words would hold a little more value and ominously told him that if he ever left toothpaste anywhere in that bathroom other than his toothbrush I would throw the thing in the garbage and he would never be able to brush his teeth again.

He nodded his head, his eyes were wide and I could tell he knew in the deep of his soul that something terrible had just happened.

To this day the bathroom has been kept incredibly tidy by the small humans I share it with. However I’m no fool, never again will I let my guard down and allow my velvet underground to fall victim to the dreaded toothpaste predicament.

Bedtime Struggles

There is this pivotal moment in all of our lives when we must sit back, stifle the urge to scream out in exasperation and simply give in to the methodical twitching that has currently taken over our left eye socket.

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It is the bedtime routine…No let me rephrase: It is in the aftermath of the bedtime routine and I am moments away from finding the closest underpass, befriending the patrons perusing the space and brown bagging a bottle of cabernet sauvignon with them simply to escape the lunacy that is Motherhood.

“It is an hour after your bedtime Sophie, you need to go to sleep.” This is what I say to my daughter who has been slumping around the living room for the last half hour. I think she thinks I don’t notice her.

The girl slinks closer to me as though apologizing in advance for the fresh hell she is about to radiate. She then places her lips about a quarter inch from my earlobe and says in a half whisper half scream, “I’m so hungry.”

What in the…I won’t finish that sentence as it is in no way appropriate for newspaper reading. I think you get the point though.

“You ate your dinner and you had desert there is no possible way you can be hungry.” I pause and look directly into her eyes which are unwavering in her quest for a midnight snack.

“HUNGRY.” She replies in that guttural, Paleolithic sort of way.

The eye twitch is coming back but I will it away by shutting my eyes tightly for ten consecutive seconds.

“What are you doing, you look weird.” I am attempting to ward off the insanity, I want to tell her.

I shove a piece of bread with butter into her tiny hands and tell her that will do for tonight. She looks greedily at it and moves back downstairs to her fortress of teddy bears and sparkly lip gloss. After a few minutes quiet erupts in the house and a cool shiver creeps every so steadily up my spine.

Now, you’d think that after all of my troubles with trying to get her to sleep, quiet would be a welcome change. But you see, you’d be wrong. At least not in a mothers psyche. Suddenly thoughts of my baby girl somehow forgetting how to chew and swallow food correctly flood my good sense. I imagine her choking on the bread and how she, at this very minute, could be coughing and sputtering and completely helpless down there. All because I carelessly gave her bread to shut her up and get her back into bed. It’s the ole ‘Bread in the Bed’ predicament.

So I make my way towards the girl child’s bedroom. All seems quiet upon first inspection. I can hear the soft snoring of Lars coming from his room which sort of makes my heart swell because at least I have one child who slumbers deeply throughout the entire night.

I pop my head into Sophie Anne’s Room. She is not on her bed—substituted for my daughter is a pile of ragged and torn looking bread pieces laying delicately atop her pillow.

I spot the top of the kid’s head behind her nightstand. She is crumpled on the floor and by the slump of her shoulders and the angled look of her head I can tell something is amiss. Before I can ask her what the problem is her head shoots up and there staring me in the eye is what looks like a war-torn Sophie. She wears crinkles of fret across her forehead and her cheeks are lined with a thick layer of tear streaked dejectedness.  “SLEEPY BEAR IS MISSSING!” She yells out in anguish. “HE IS GONE! GONE TOTALLY GONE!”

I look to my left and see the grimy leg of a bear wearing a familiar pink polka dotted jumper. He lays half under a pile of dirty clothes. I pick the thing up assuring not to hold it to close to my face because as much as my daughter seems to adore the ripe tang of the squalid plaything I prefer to keep my distance.

“You found him! Thank you!” She says as though he had been missing for years. I am about to tell her that if her room was cleaner Sleepy wouldn’t go missing, but instead I just smile.

At this point, after the night we’ve had, sometimes we parents need to recognise when to pick our battles.

Now, would somebody please buy me a bottle of wine and direct me to the closest underpass?

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Today I Choose Tacos

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day when I see one of my friends showcasing their yoga handstand for all to see. Now, I’m not going to lie, I sort of instantly found myself Facebook crushing, hard. Like seriously, who at 30 years old can actually do a handstand without the crippling terror of their own body weight combined with, hello, gravity working against them and crushing their oh so fragile neck into smithereens. It is a constant fear that dangles precariously in the back of my mind at literally any given moment when the mention of handstands, cartwheels or even a damn somersault for that matter comes up in conversation.

So yes when I saw this video so nonchalantly placed on her wall, I was pretty impressed to say the least.

And it got me to thinking, hey, I should really try to tone up the ole bod. After all I will be entering back into the workforce soon and I’d like to be sort of in shape for those grueling eight hour work days. I have a feeling I’m not “work ready” right now. I say this as I eat tacos at the computer chair and it’s 9 o’clock in the morning. And as the good lord is my witness I will never give up those morning tacos so I’m going to have to start counter balancing them with something.

My problem with working out is that I actually hate it. It’s just so hard! I always start off strong. Every day for about a week I will exercise, but then once I remember my total and utter hatred for the task I end up quitting. This is a problem for two major reasons. One, it really isn’t helping me in my getting healthy goal and two, I am setting a horrendous example for my children. I can’t just let them see me quit every little thing that makes break down crying from exertion. I must teach them that exercise is healthy and a necessary *coughevilcough* for a hale and hearty existence.

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Um…Ya, okay.

Therefore I have decided that if I am going to exercise I should really look into the different programs and explore what would fit my lifestyle best.

I do really enjoy jogging, although with the state my body is in at the moment it is more like walking and hopping into a job when I feel nervous about a dubious character approaching me. (It was an old lady walking her dog. She looked pretty buff from afar in my defense.)

Walking/sometimes jogging is something I enjoy but I feel like at this point I’m going to need to up the ante a little.

I began looking online for some workout videos and came across a particular hybrid yoga fad that is pretty big right now. It involves dance and yoga and some other pretty cool things that I think I could totally get on board with. Upbeat yoga? Yes please.

Look out Facebook friend, I will be joining you in news feed handstands in no time! I think to myself as I saddle up for my very first online class.

Now, never in my life have I been coordinated, not even a little bit. I fall down almost every day, usually while walking over level ground. But that doesn’t matter, it’s all about having fun while you work out. This is the money ticket, I can already tell.

It begins. A tribal beat pumps methodically out from my computer speakers and I find myself unconsciously moving to the sounds. I am squatting and bouncing and I imagine if an outsider was looking in it would seem as though I was doing some pretty unholy things to my living room floor. I am feeling fantastic.

Pretty soon I am literally the sexiest woman who has ever lived and I am yoga-ing and dancing in ways I never knew possible.

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That is until I catch a glimpse of myself in the reflection of the television. I don’t want to say I look awful because that would be cruel and self-loathing but I will say I resemble that of an uninhibited sloth attempting some sort of grimaced and lonely mating ritual.

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In every instance in the past, this mere sight would have turned me off of my new exercise endeavour, however not today. Because today I choose health! Today I choose to teach my children about sticking with it! Today I choose to make a difference! And most importantly today and every day henceforth I choose tacos!

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Sophie’s Bus Ride

There is a bus stop that sits directly outside our home. Ever since we moved into this house Sophie has been pretty much obsessed with it. She plops herself down in our front room window and simply stares out at all of the people waiting for their transport.

I have a sneaking suspicion my daughter may follow in my footsteps when it comes to spinning a story. She loves to create tales about the humans who pause in front of our home. However it gets a little awkward when said humans happen to turn around to see a big eyed, wild-haired five year old gazing intently into their soul. Some have even went as far to move on to the next stop. This infuriates the child because it has ruined her ability to finish her deeply thought out yarn.

Once she told me that the person left because he was about to “diarrhea in his pants” it was then I realized she has indeed taken after ALL of my literary skills.

So imagine Sophie’s surprise when I told her that we would be riding on that very same bus.  She was elated! I may have even seen a single tear of joy roll down her cheek.

Lars on the other hand shrugged his shoulders and said, “oh yeah, that will be cool” in the most unconvincing voice I’ve ever heard. Soph didn’t take any notice however, she just skipped away with Sleepy Bear propped under her arm while speaking to no one in particular about how splendid the bus ride was going to be.

My family had come for a visit and it was with them that we ventured downtown on the bus. As we waited at the same stop in which Sophie had been staring at for the last month I could see the anticipation growing on her face. Of course, as with most public transit the bus was a little late.

“Is it not coming!?” She cried to her Uncle Dustin after we had been waiting for a considerable amount of time. Just as he was about to answer the sound of the buses massive air brakes came whistling down the street.

 

“IT’S HERE!” She screamed as the doors opened. It was from that point until we reached the downtown terminal that Sophie was the star of this specific bus route.

The population inside including the driver could immediately tell that we were newbies at this public transit thing. If it wasn’t me asking how much we owed him for boarding, Sophie definitely gave us away when she organized a joyful twirl while walking down the aisle and saying, “it’s so awesome Mom!”

I like to believe the seven of us were more of a humorous attraction to our fellow passengers rather than a disturbance. We were quite vocal in our queries of which terminals or stops to get on and off of but everyone seemed to be very forthcoming with information and assistance.

Meanwhile the only one of us who seemed completely at home on the large means of transportation was Lars. As my mom said it seemed like “old hat” for the seven year old. He had plopped himself down on the seat propped an arm up on the armrest and sat idly by waiting for his stop.

“Lars are you enjoying the ride?” His Auntie Ashley asked him about half way to our destination.

“Yeah it’s alright.” He replied.

“What do you mean it’s alright?!” Sophie screamed, “It’s amazing!” Her gusto made everyone smile and I had a feeling that taking the bus downtown would end up being a regular occurrence. This was fine by me since I had been swept away with nostalgia from the time I stepped onto the vehicle. Before having the kids and moving back to our small hometown of Sylvan Lake I was a bus riding professional in the cities I wandered. It was surreal to be brought back to those times but now hand in hand with the children I never knew I’d have back then.

We had a great time exploring City Center and some of its eclectic shops and cafes but once again Sophie’s real point of delight was sparked by getting back on the bus to ride home.

There are days in this new city when I miss Sylvan Lake. I miss our friends and the easiness of hometown living. But experiencing simple yet extraordinary moments like we did on this day allow me to realize how much this new home of ours has to offer.

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