Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Farm-tabulous Easter

Sis, bro and I sippin' "Sibling Rivalry" wine.


I’ve picked my siblings well.  Not only do we get along with our same wacky sense of humour, but our families mesh real good too. 

My sister lives on a 100 acre farm with cute little lambs, and many magical places for the kids to roam.  We give them all enormous freedom when we visit and they usually return, dirty, tired and happy.  After way too much rain this spring, Sunday was cooperating with sunshine and warmth.  A perfect day to let everyone loose.

Here’s pictorial evidence of their Easter bliss.

Engineering a bridge across the great divideLaura and Kate dressed up for the adventureOwen climbing into Planet CrazyCentury old barnBaaaaaRaising the flagGrown ups on their own adventureToo cute!  This is why I can't eat lamb.  Baa!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In which we ponder music and tone deafness

They owe their musical abilities to the genes of their non-musical father. Not exactly tone deaf, more lacking in any innate music sense. Laura can't follow a tune and rarely remembers the words to songs. Owen has got the rhythm of a tap dancing goat on coffee beans, God bless him. That doesn't stop them from loving music.

We started them in the Music For Young Children programme a couple of years ago. The MYC thing is excellent, covering everything from notes to music appreciation in an engaging way aimed at their age levels. Laura made it through a couple of years but just couldn't keep up. That's alright. I got over it and she has a fair understanding about music so that if she should choose to pick it up in the future, she won't be completely clueless.

Owen made it through to the end. Today is music day and he is working towards doing his preliminary theory exam in a month. Wow! Who knew?! It's not the piano part that is his forte. That boy loves his theory. It is full of logic and math principles - right up his alley. He plays poorly but his music teacher is very understanding. However, he loves music! He probably "gets it" in a different way than most people do, appreciating the patterns, pointing out facts about musicians and recognizing music styles.

We went to the NAC Family Concert Series on the weekend. Owen sat riveted, listening and watching the orchestra play. Laura giggled with her cousin and watched the dancers. They both get something out of it, even if they can't carry a tune. I am fine with this.

Sure, it would be great to have kids that could sing and play Christmas carols that seems somewhat recognizable. That ain't happening. Meanwhile, they like music. They participate in the school choirs, sing along poorly with CDs and tolerate their mother belting out show tunes. Who knows what the future holds but I do know I don't have to save up for Julliard. That works for me.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Internal battles should burn calories

I am not supposed to be here, typing on the computer. I should be at the gym, working on that promise to myself to slim down and muscle up. I feel guilty and yet here I sit. Gravity is strong today. Which way will my will-power pull? It is quiet here, a peaceful moment before the din of the weekend. It makes it hard to want to move, to yank myself into action.

I need a carrot, something dangling before me to lure me away to the sweaty room of treadmills and strength building machines. Or perhaps I can scare myself with a "stick", shorts season and bathing suits. It is rare that I regret going to the gym, after I have gained the momentum.

*Sigh* I am moving. Perhaps I will get a latte after my workout - fat-free of course.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Feel the love

Borrowing the feeling from Allison's post, you can feel the love in this family. After dinner this week at which we all actually ate together and even grunted somewhat pleasantly to each other. DS: mumble, mumble...Hockey \, mumble (or something like that - I tune it out after a while.) "Hey mom?" Me: "Yes?" DS: "Is dad going to be home soon?" mumble Stanley Cup mumble. Me: "Um, ya... that was the guy who sat across the table from you at dinner. He's home." DS: "Oh...ya" We are oh so functional at times. I think I might put a cardboard cut-out of me at the next music recital. It would totally fool him.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day two - Project Buttercup

I am what you may call strong on ideas and somewhat lacking on follow through. Part of my amazing procrastinating type-B personality, I suppose. Anyway, baby steps are better than no steps. Laura melted down last night because I wouldn't let her crawl along the garage floor. Owen fell apart because some people in his class don't like the same hockey team as he does. Both went to bed rather suddenly after all that. I poured wine (for me, not children this time.) Here is what is up so far.

What's working:

The Job Jar. I like this thing. I write down a few short jobs on sunny, happy yellow paper and the kids get to pick them out of the jar. They think it's a game! Oh so cleaver. 'Tis early days yet so the wheels are bound to fall off that merry band waggon some time. Meanwhile we're rolling with it. They fight over who gets to help with laundry and squeal happily when I show my amazement at the vacuuming.

One meal prepared. Well, that sort of worked. I made tortellini and Owen didn't want it so I handed him a bun and butter and told him to go crazy. No complaints and I had fewer dishes.

What's not:

Um, the TV is still on. That would be my fault. I'm tired and I want to hear no issues while I take an hour to check the computer. However, we did go out for a bike ride to the park before the TV went on and Owen did his homework first too. So I guess that's progress.

Better run. Now Laura is begging to do her homework. Weird.

Thanks for the comments and words of wisdom as well as humour yesterday. All greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Suck It Up, Buttercup

One of the perils of being a stay at home mom is that I feel like I have to be a master at this self-imposed title. The perfect parent, with a home of happy, thriving children – well worth the 100% time I devote to the effort.

This is a problem. It seems I have spent too much time equating great kids with kids that are happy most of the time. Oops. I run around after them, picking up their things, finding lost precious objects, buying the objects in the first place for no reason except their happiness. They get meals largely to their liking, even if they are different from the meal I make for myself. They watch too much TV and do too little to help around the house. They are spoiled. I am exhausted.spoiled chick

So this morning, I have had enough. Laura came in at 6:00 am, wanting to do a sewing project right then and burst into tears as soon as I refused. Owen was obsessively grumpy that I had taken back the book from the library that he had for months and that none of the other hundred books in his room would do for his immediate gratification. There is much whining in our castle. I suck, apparently.

Well, I have snapped. Suck it up, buttercup. Time to stop raising spoiled children. This is not what I want for my offspring and I have done an amazing job of enabling them to be a little prince and princess with me as their servant. This has to stop. I don’t want to have young adults incapable of taking care of themselves and expecting the world to be delivered to them. They deserve a life where they can live up to their full potential. How will they ever know what that is if I keep sugar-coating all they know?

It is time to toughen up. I am sacrificing my supermom status, starting today. They are going to make more decisions for themselves. They are going to help out more to the best of their ability and be a bigger part of the functioning of this house. It will be tough for me to make this work, to not slide back into my accommodating ways. But they are worth it. And so am I.