Thursday, October 27, 2011

Christmas Fears....

Two months to go....
Christmas this year will be different. The first Christmas without my mom. It makes me very sad thinking about it. She loved the presents and the cookies and the big family suppers.
Kayla and I tried to do the gift draw like we've done for years. Mom & Dad, Me & Dan, K & Dave. Each must buy for one person. $100 gift. No getting your spouse to do the shopping for you. (a rule for the boys mostly...) This year we decided not to do it. Just didn't feel right. It made me think of last Christmas. Dan had mom's name. He brought her a big bouquet of flowers. So perfect and bittersweet. She always joked with him that she'd expect flowers @ the home once a week...
Last Christmas was as special as it could be. We booked a board room on 5A and ordered a huge pizza from the cafeteria. Mom was well enough to come down in a wheelchair and open some presents with the kids. Her emotions were fried by then, so its hard to tell if she enjoyed it - but i think she did. i was her last time interacting with her grandkids.
Plans for this year are still up in the air and stressing me out already. Kayla will not be coming home. It's their year to stay in Medicine Hat with Dave's family. We have no idea what Dad and his "roommate" Jo-Anne will be doing.
*Will they have separate celebrations with thier families?
*Will dad go with her to Saskatoon?
*Will she stay here?
*Will her family come down here?
 Right now, for me. I hope they both go to saskatoon or else have separate christmases with their families.
-I don't want to do it with her family down here, as if we're some big happy blended family!
-If she stays here, she won't be welcome @ a Shier family gathering - so it would just be us and them - which would be painfully awkward and boring and not something we want to do.
-If dad goes with her to Saskatoon he won't be missed. (what a terrible thing to say - but it's kinda true)
-I'd like to celebrate with the Shier's (like we do every year) They are our closest family, they are fun, and will be missing her just like us.
- Another option is for us to pack up and go to Edmonton to spend Christmas with Dan's family. Might be alright, but will be overshadowed by sadness, as Dan's cousin passed away this summer and everyone will be mourning/missing him. (instead of mom...)
-yet another option is to go on a "holiday" just the 5 of us. Hotel, Swimming, Pizza, Fun. That'd be a good one too!
I know it's 2 months away and I have lots of things to worry about/get through before then, but it is always there bouncing around in my mind.
But wherever it is, whoever it's with, we just have to remember to say Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus and be thankful for all the good in our lives.

No Yell Parenting?

I hate yelling. I feel like all I do is yell at my kids. They don't listen the first 2 (or 10) times I say something and they only sometimes listen to me when I yell. Even after yelling they go right back to what I asked them not to do (or whatever...) This is incredibly frustrating for me. As soon as I yell at them I am immediately guilty. They're little. It's not thier fault. It's me who should take a deep breath and try again.
I've heard rumours of a magical no yell parenting technique. Books, experts, parents with super-powers in patience. I think I'll do some googling and see what I can find.
My sanity, blood pressure, and children deserve better than a screaming lunatic mom! I'll work on it. I promise.

Not the Teacher...

My kids started pre-school and pre-k in Sept. This year I am not the teacher. The month leading up to the first day was tough for me. I missed the lesson planning, class lists, bulletin boards and felt like I was ready to pick up where I left off in May. I had lots of ideas for centres and crafts and bulletin boards bouncing around in my brain. It's been hard to let go.... I'm not the teacher. It's not my problem. But I did have alot of expectations, comparisons, and negative (skeptical?) opinions of the new teacher. I know if I WAS the teacher I'd be far too stressed and tried and not enjoying it. So I need to focus on MY kids and being excited for them. Last year, I think that Tristan didn't get the praise he deserved for his behavior/art work, as I had 60 kids to share that praise with. And I've decided that if they're falling behind/not getting what I think they should out of the program I can always do more mini-preschool stuff at home. As long as they are enjoying going to school, I will be happy. (or at least content) And 2 months into the programs, I have more confidence in the new teacher and my kids are loving it!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Science of the Hug

Hug Count - feels like one zillion (more like 500)

In the last few months I've had all sorts of hugs:
- The too long, wish they'd let go already, hug
- The too short, please hug me til it stops hurting, hug
- The tentative, handshake/hug
- The too tight, this is not nice hug
- The hug with a whisper of encouragment
- I've even had one with a kiss on the way out (by a near, stranger...)
all of the above seem uncomfortable, awkward and un natural is some way.

Then there are those awesome hugs. The ones that feel so warm and comforting. You can feel the love (unromantic love) that person has for you. I'm like a sponge when I get one. Soaking up love, encouragement and good vibes. These hugs are perfectly timed, just right in every way. Just enough to get me through the day/night/next 10 minutes.

My advice to anyone reading this is to HUG. but MEAN IT when you hug. Like the words I love you, a hug can be a powerful, wonderful thing or awkward and all wrong...

My Heart Still Feels (a good thing? I don't know)

Things that PING my heart these days:

- Any mention of the word "mom" by a friend, acquaintance or voice on the radio

- When my kids ask to talk to Bobby. (they think that the operator's voice on the phone is Bobby, she keeps telling them "there is trouble completing your call" and they just keep yapping away.)

- When T sings "Finkle Finkle Little Star"

-Seeing (or worse/best) holding a baby

- When T says "It's purfic mom!"

- When I go to church and sit in "our" pew without her, I can still feel her there

- When I drive by the cemetary (every day - at least twice - to and from town) and see her yellow flowers peeking out of the snow bank

- Rach's around the neck squeezes and sweet sweet kisses

- A "Good Morning" or "Good Night" text (BBM!) from Dan

- A perfectly timed hug from a good friend

Mixed Up Feelings...

I wish it was me, but so so so thankful it's not.

A friend is faced with the terrifing news that she might have cancer. The next 2 weeks will feel like years to all of us - especially her, as we wait for a biopsy and results. Just a few months ago we went through this with mom. Not again, I can't believe it.

As she told me, I couldn't help but wish it was me. I'm a helper - it's my nature. If I could do it for her, I would - but on the other hand I'm an so incredibly thankful that it's not me. I've been there before, with the mixed feelings... When a friend's love was killed, I wished she didn't hurt, that it hadn't happened, but was so greatful that it wasn't me who had lost Dan. I couldn't imagine.

So today, THANKFUL PAIN (?) is what I feel today.

My friend is a beautiful woman, with 2 lively kids, a career - an awesome life to LIVE for. She is a strong, healthy person - not a pack-a-day smoker with a Big Mac Habit! Why does it happen to the good ones?

I love her and could not have made it through the past 3 years of my life (especially the last few months) without her - and we'll make it through this challenge too. Fingers crossed that all of this is just a scare, a terrible mix-up, a non-cancerous polup of fatty tissue.
Regardless - through the POWER of FRIENDS and PRAYER - she'll be alright (and so will we)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

For Five Cents (or for F**k Sakes..) A Tober Chore Circus

Everyday chores for me include: drive or walk down to the arena to pour 2 5 gal pails of chop to the bulls. (Lovingly named: Big Boy, Eddy, Tommy, and the 4 "babies") Check that their waterer isn't froze and that they still have a salt block. While in the area I try to spot the horses - positioned in a different pasture, on the other side of the arena. I need to get a visual on 5.

Then to the cats (down to 2, see future blog post for life of a Tober cat saga...- who's new feeding turf is a flax bale positioned between the shop & arena (so much snow that the dogs could get up on the cat's table and eat all the food!) that is 2 scoops of chow and whatever table scraps my children have gratiously donated to the efforts (cats don't like carrots - but they always get a healthy helping of them...) After these cats I drive to Bob's Farm (just down the road) to feed his 3 cats (Bob, our eldery neighbour just passed away and asked us to keep an eye out for his kitties) These cats are not-so-creativily names Mangey, Blackie, and the big one. this feed stop is another scoop of chow and sometimes scraps too. Easy peasy everyday chores

About once a week chores get a bit more interesting... This is when the bulls and horses need bales. So usually after work I load the kids up in the tractor and off we go to get bales. 2 for the bulls, 2 for the horses from the stack behind the house. Pretty easy, simple job, right? maybe.

The bulls are dumb. Drop 2 bales over the side of the arena and they instantly start chomping away like they havn't eaten all winter (it's been maybe 10 minutes since they last had a piece of hay in their mouths) They are so intent on the bales that I can open the big gate, drive in, shut the big gate and pick up a bale without so much as a sniff towards the tractor or that green metal portal to freedom. They are so stuck to the bales that I actually touch them with the bucket of the tractor before they move out of the way. The kids expertly point me in the direction of the empty feeders and pick out the most suitable new spot to move the feeders to, when manure begins to accumulate at the current sites. The kids are also on the look out for prairie chickens, deer and moose (we've never spotted one of those while in the tractor...)
Cutting the strings off the bales involves me leaving the kids unattended in the tractor while murder some strings with a steak knife. It also involves Rach revving the tractor, T turning on the "swishers" (wipers) - front and back ones- Rach movin the steering wheel back and forth a million times, T finding the hitch pins, Rach putting a hitch pin in her mouth, T honking the horn, Rach honkin the horn, and someone turning on the signal light(s). This is repeated for the second bale.
Then to the horses. The horses are dumb too - but in a wild way. The sight of the tractor with a bale sends all 5 of them into a bucking, snorting, running fit like they are all wild mustangs or Stampede Stock! They are unpredictable in a predictable sort of way. Shit will happen when they lose their minds like this. A fence will get broke, a panel will get knocked over, they will get out the gate.
I've had pretty good luck this winter - of all the times I've put out bales I'm managed to keep them chased away from the gate long enough to open the gate, scurry back into my mini-van of a tractor, drive through the gate, climb over Rach and down the stairs to shut the gate, without any of the bronc's escaping.
Today however was not a lucky day. I thought that they were all kicking and snorting far enough away from the gate - but one sneaking guy - Ice - saw an opportunity to get out and he took it - at full speed. His success signalled the other 4 to stop what they were losing their minds about, orgainze and run out the gate as I desperatly tried to drive through the gate. Shit. Shit. Shit. they're out. I'm in the pasture with 2 kids in a tractor and I've got 5 horses on the loose. The kids know it's bad. They are mesmerized by the running horses, they recieve a stern warning from me to SIT HERE. as I launch out of the tractor and run toward the oat bin, gathering 5 frozen pails on my way. The frozen top layer of snow rips through my jeans and into my skin (I'm in running shoes) I sink to my knees every third stride as I hurdle the snow banks like a sinking, pathetic hippo. I watch as they run toward the house, behind the house, to the bales, back to the house, take a look down the lane (please don't go that way..) and then back into the arena. I make my way over to the gate and call them for grain. I'm likely supposed to give them grain every day in the winter (I do throughout the summer), but it's just too inconvienent and doesn't seem overly necessary... regardless, they know what that sweet golden goodness is, and as I call and shake my pails they all 5 gallop through the gate! Phew! If they had taken a left instead of a right and went down the lane, side road, and/or main road my swearing would have been more colourful and the kids would have seen a frazzeld, cold mommy chase, call, catch and hopefully lead home 5 horses. It's happened in the summer, which was bad enough.

But for another week, the bulls, horses and free loader deer, have bales.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Double Whammy

Today was a whopper of a bad day. It marks one months since my mom took her last breath. It is also the day she should have turned 56. For me, things have just suddenly become real. She's not on a holiday - she's gone. forever. and it sucks more and more everyday.

Mom has been away before, to visit my sister, on cruises or holidays - but never more than 3 weeks at a time. So the reality of no more phone calls, no more hugs, no more smiling every second she's with my kids, is setting in.

Had a big ugly cry last night and some very comforting BBM convos (did I mention I'm new to the Blackberry world, and loving it) with Dan and a wizard of a friend.
I asked a friend, who shares my moms birthday, to have a rum & coke and piece of cake for her, just in case it doesn't taste the same in heaven...

I'm buckled Up for whatever comes next in "the process" "the journey" "the path to a new normal". It won't be easy, especially this first year - what with all the FIRSTS that will occur but we've got through the ones that have come and gone already...
The 1st day, The 1st week, and now the 1st month. The 1st b-day, the 1st family centre potluck.

and now the ride to the 1st shier family supper, 1st summer, 1st kids birthday party, 1st baby born, 1st halloween, 1st christmas - all without her - has left the station. No turning back, no option to eject or pause. But lots of options to enjoy the scenery, remember the old times, and make new memories, because what all of this has taught me is you never know who's next. There is no going back in life. No do-overs, re-dos, take IIs, so I have to live for no regrets and doing all things right (or my best) the FIRST TIME.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

patience Please...

I hate slow interent connections (boo...dial up)
I hate that the libary and their fast connection is closed on sundays
I hate the look of my blog and want to change it - maybe (gasp!) a picture or two!
I hate the wordy design and my inability to know how to resize the stupid text boxes

So patience please if you're reading this...
Consider it under construction and me under frustration!

Good Day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fruits/Veggies & Me - an unhealthy relationship

I don't eat Fruit. I don't in Veggies. Therefore I don't loose weight.
It's not that I hate F/Vs it's just that I don't LOVE them and don't think to eat them. I can go weeks with having little more than a banana in the F/V column of diet. So what do I eat instead? Crap. Prepackaged, convinient, crap. 3 point Granola Bars mostly. They are too easy. I know I just shouldn't buy them - but they are better than the 5 point ones I used to get...
Produce goes bad in my fridge more often than it is consumed.
I need to refocus my diet if I am ever going to be sucessful in the weightloss world. (Which by the way, I'm feeling very unsuccessful in these days - next week is rollover and I've only lost 6 lbs in the first 12 weeks - should have been more like 20! I sucked. But as far as excuses go, I guess a sick/dieing/dead mom is a pretty good reason to have had a few extra brownies, bowls of Lucky Charms and pans of full-fat lasanga made by sweet, well meaning friends/neighbours... but that's all over with now - no more excuses...the next 12 weeks will be MAJOR or my name's not Feather Tober! )
So ways to increase my F/V intake to a near healthy level:
1. make ahead smoothies to have for morning snack. (4 at a time b/c I have 4 "tummblers" from Tupperware - Fab for freezing smoothies! Fill with fresh or frozen fruit that I will not eat fresh (pineapple, honeydew, berries, mango, etc etc) Add 1% milk, slim fast powder, a juice box and blend to a palatable mush. Freeze. remember to take out of freezer when I wake up. Voila! 2 servings of satisfying fruit.
2. Buy the more expensive, but useable frozen veggie medlies/sauced ones(as opposed to the unusable/gone bad vegs in my crisper) Like the yummy broccoli in cheese microwave boxes, stir fry mix, and the ones with baby corns in them! They won't go bad, and they are easy and yummy - so cook them, bitch, cook them!
3. Have a some kind of fruit at breakfast everyday. Banana, orange, apple... skip the refined sugar/carb cereals and have oatmeal/cream of wheat (instant b/c I'm lazy, with brown sugar splenda and a dollup of strawberry jam!) and a fruit. Just say NO to 26 years of my 2 daily bowls ceral and fill up on something that keeps me full for more than 20 minutes!
4. Any other suggestion?, oh beautiful blog readers who have a healthy relationship with the produce section of life...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One Little Word

A lot of the local bloggers ahve been following the lead of Ali Edwards and choosing a word for the upcoming year. A flagship word that will describe 2011. I don't know the background of it all, as I'm not a loyal Ali Edwards follower, but it seems to be a type of new year's resolution. A way to shape your life around this one word.

In classic Heather style I'm having trouble committing to just one word.

My 3 words for 2011 are:
BREATHE - What I need to do more. Instead of yelling or losing my temper with the kids, Dan or Dad I need to stop and breathe first. Before having a freak-out, break-down or losing it I need to think and BREATHE.
TIME - Take time for myself, spend time with those who really matter to me, give myself as many time-outs as I give the kids, time to grieve, time to heal, never enough time to do everything!
NEW - Everything this year will be new. A new chapter in my life story...a chapter without my mommy. New ways of doing old things, a new baby (my sister's) in June, new start to weight watchers/weight loss, a new me??