Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Happy House-iversary!!

So this past weekend marked the 1 year anniversary of us living in this house... I coined it our "House-iversary" This to most seems like a simple thing. No big deal. Not worth commenting, mentioning or especially blogging about. BUT that's where you are wrong!
For me and particularly Hudson (my oldest) this was a very big deal. You see, in my 29 years of life, I have moved 24+ times (that I can remember) and of those 24+ moves, 7 were in the last 7 years since Hudson was born. My 7 year old-second grader, has been to 3 schools, lived in 3 provinces and lived in 7 different houses. That is an insane amount of instability. Sooooo, when we (Alex and I) went house shopping last year, I refused to settle for anything less then our "forever" HOME. I made it perfectly clear to everyone involved, I would not me moving again.

 I was very excited to see the SOLD sign  go up! Meaning it was SOLD to US
On October 18th, 2012 we moved into our forever home. It has all the things my forever home required....

   A main floor office for my business

A huge master bedroom. I have always had a king-size bed and its difficult to find a room that doesn't get eaten up by bed

The perfect master bathroom, my own sink, and my own bathtub. No more kids toys in my tub :).

We have a huge dining table. It will seat 10-12 people very comfortably when all the leafs are in. So having a big family dining room that could accommodate the table was a must.

Bedroom level laundry is AMAZING!!! Not having to carry baskets of clothes up and down stairs is awesome! (don't mind the messy laundry room. Laundry is never done in my house so finding a picture of a clean laundry room is impossible.)

You wouldn't believe what you can store in a walk in pantry! I am a bargain shopper, when it goes on sale, I stock up!

This house has a grand total of THREE linen closets. You have no idea how much you need a linen closet until you don't have one. (sorry, no pics of my closets, that's just boring) 

 My kids have their own bathroom! Even though I NEVER use it, it's probably one of my favorite rooms in though house. It keeps the kids stuff out of my way, their messes aren't in my face and it was SUPER fun to decorate. 

I have never had, but always wanted a fire place. The reason for this request was silly and probably juvenile BUT I wanted one non the less.... when I read my favorite Christmas story to my children and the line reads "Stockings were hung by the chimney with care"  I was always saddened that I have never had a mantle to hang my stockings from. 
I was very excited about decorating the mantle last year. :) 

And to nobody's surprise, I am sure, that leads us to my kitchen! I had told my real estate agent when she was doing her searches for me, "I want the WOW factor kitchen" 

 My kitchen has more cupboard space then I will ever require. Not one, but two islands. One for cooking, chopping and prepping at and the other for sitting, eating or homework. My kitchen over looks the living room to the left or the dining room to the right. There is nothing I cant see while prepping supper or making lunches. The flooring in my kitchen is so forgiving. It has the perfect color pattern to disguise and dirt that may be lurking

After spending the last year, cleaning, decorating  painting, adding back splashes, finishing the basement etc. I can finally say I have a HOME. There will be no more moves. This is # 25.  I want to grow old here, watch my children grow, go off to collage, get married and come home for the holidays. I have big plans for this house in the future, lots I would like to do, things I would like to add. But, there's the beauty in having a home, we have all the time in the world to get it done.



Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Christmas: Past, Present and Future

I know we just finished Thanksgiving and Halloween is literally still weeks away but I want to talk to you about Christmas. It’s the big one.

I am going to start by explaining Christmas Past.

Christmas in Arthur Ontario: circa 1988(ish) to 1993: (I have no memories of how Christmas was spent prior to 1987-88)

From my earliest memories, I remember the traditional Christmas.  Mom and Dad like everyone else were on a budget. They scrimped and scraped but made sure we got spoiled.  I remember Dad and me putting up our horrific artificial tree.  It was “old” even back then. It always had bald spots and branches that never stayed straight. A few of the clips on the bottom were broken so no matter how hard you tried you couldn’t stop the bottom of the tree from sagging.  Looking back now though, I remember thinking it as the most amazing thing, filled with magic and pure beauty. When Daddy would lift me up high to place the star on the top, I was always the queen. It was the most important part and it was MY job to get it up there.
Christmas morning was spent opening gifts and playing with toys. Christmas afternoon was spent making the hour and a half drive to Grandma and Grandpas house.  Grandma would make turkey with all the trimmings. Leek soup was served first and Grans (my great grandmother) Sponge cake for dessert.  There were always more gifts at Grandma’s house waiting for us. As well as one of Grandpa’s old socks filled with an apple and an orange, an old tradition of theirs that never quiet took off in our house. But we smiled and said “Thank you” all the same.
Yes, Christmas as a child was GREAT.

Christmas Brampton Ontario: circa 1994-1997ish

In August of 1994 my family moved from the country to the city. Christmas slowly started to change for me around then. During the move Mom tossed our old artificial tree. So that was the first and only Christmas I remember having a “real” tree. I remember going to a city parking lot and picking it from a bunch of already precut trees that were leaning against posts. (However I don’t remember how we got it home)  The tree was set in the strand and beautifully decorated, all but the star. I was excited to place the star atop like I had done so many years before. But this year was different.  This year my lil sister Kelsey was handed the star. When I cried about it, I got the simple explanation of I was 10 years old, she was 4, and It was her turn, and something along the lines of “grow up” came out of my father’s mouth.  I HATED that tree! So the next morning when we awoke and found the tree knocked over by one of our cats through the night I was not even a little bit up set. Vicious I know. But I was 10 and I was bitter.  The holiday went on, this year Grandma and Grandpa came to us. There was no leek soup and no old socks with apples and oranges.  

Christmas Brampton/Cape Breton/Brampton: circa 1998-2005

The next few years led me on downward spiral in my family life. Adolescent rebellion, hatred and the fact that I was very angry little girl, lead to me spending the next few Christmas’s in foster care. Not a lot of fun. Timed weekend visits home with the family. My parents and sister had created this whole new life without me and I would a guest in their home over the holidays.  

Sometime in 1997-1998ish I left the system and moved to Cape Breton.  I spent years there, bouncing between my biological father and his family. People I knew nothing about.  They tried their best to make Christmas special for me. It was never the same though.  They were a big family and I never really fit in. I moved a bunch of time in my teens, trying to find myself a “home” but it never actually came.

After high school I moved back to Brampton.  Stayed with Mom and Dad for a while but it didn’t last long. At 18 I got my first apartment.  I remember that Christmas being very depressed. I was working at bar, living in a basement apartment and Christmas was going to be very lonely.  All I wanted for Christmas that year was a tree.  Nothing fancy, nothing extravagant, but it had to have a star.
One night after a long work shift I got home to my normally dark apartment, to find it all a glow. In the corner stood a 2 foot tall lil tree. It was pre lit with fiber optic branches that it lit up the room and on top was a star littlest star. I remember staring at that tree for hours that night. Many a tear were shed. One of the best-est friends I have ever had broken into my house, to give me my own little piece of Christmas that year, and for that I will always be grateful.  I kept that little tree for years into adulthood and lit it up every year, always remembering my dear friend Phil. What he did for me that Christmas I will never be able to repay.

In November 2004 I started dating Brad. The cool MUCH older guy, who had a truck! I was in love! And by April 2005 we were engaged. A few months later in June I found out I was pregnant.  I spent our first real Christmas together bare foot, 8 months pregnant in a different basement apartment but with that same tree.  Hudson was born in February 2006. And 8 weeks later in late March we moved to Nova Scotia.

Christmas Porters Lake, NS/Bahamas: circa 2006-2010
My parents and sister had moved to Porters Lake, NS sometime in 2004. After having Hudson I re kindled a relationship with my parents and moved my new family East to be close to my old family.  Christmas’s were FAR from traditional now. My parents and sister had gotten into the habit of skipping Christmas. Going south, Dominican Republic for a few years, then eventually they settled into the Bahamas. My parents’ house didn’t look like Christmas at all. No tree, no lights, no decorations or food. What was the point? No one would be there to enjoy it. Brad and I would do a “fake” very rushed Christmas with the kids. (Logan, AKA Boots came along in August 2007) Santa would leave gifts under my 2 foot tall tree sometime around the 20th. We would open gifts and then fly away to warmer weather.  As much as I loved warm vacations, sandy beaches, deep sea fishing and swimming with dolphins, it wasn’t exactly Christmas.

This leads us to Christmas Present.

Christmas New Brunswick: circa 2011- present day.

2011 was a very hard year for my family. My parents announced their divorce, that NO ONE seen coming. Brad and my relationship finally imploded and in September Brad took his own life.  There was no questioning it, we needed a change. In late November Alex packed me, my 3 children, 2 dogs, 2 cats and all the belongings we could fit into a little trailer and moved us to New Brunswick.  
Alex comes from a BIG family. One filled with love, compassion and tradition. My children and I were welcomed into this family with open arms. 

Christmas for me that year was very special. It was a year of firsts.  I left my little artificial tree behind, and headed to a tree farm, to pick the perfect tree.  We tagged the tree, brought it home a week later and spent the day with my new family. We decorated the tree, and in the end Alex lifted Hudson into the air to place the brand new star on top.
On December 24th, the real Christmas Eve, Alex and I played Santa. We laid out the presents for the children under our big beautiful real tree.  We didn’t have a lot that year, but we made sure the children got spoiled. Christmas morning was spent opening gifts and playing with toys. Christmas afternoon was spent at Grammie and Grampy’s house (Alex’s parents). Grampy made turkey with all the trimming and for desert there were more homemade cookies then a person could possibly imagine.  There were tons more presents waiting there for us and the children. It was as close to my child hood that I could ever have dreamed of getting back to. It finally felt like home.

October 2012 Alex and I bought the new house.  Last Christmas was AMAZING! I went out of my way to make sure I nailed every corny tradition! I swore from that year on, Christmas was going to be special for my kids EVERY year, for the rest of my life.  I went completely over board with Christmas decorations!  We had TWO beautiful Christmas trees, as well as colorful little 2 foot tall ones in the bedrooms.  Every room, wall and door was decorated for Christmas.
**Sparkle** (our Elf on a Shelve) found us that year and has vowed to return each year on December 1st.   The kids got spoiled, the turkey was eaten and memories were made. New traditions formed and old ones re-created.
This year I am already planning Christmas. Thinking of exciting mischief for **Sparkle** to get into, carefully planning the perfect gift for each person and anticipating the warm feeling of love and cheer that warms the house over the holiday season.

I have no idea what Christmas Future will bring. I hope it will be Alex and I that get to be Grammie and Grampy someday.  And have all the children and their new families return home for Christmas afternoon.  Where we will have turkey, more presents and the completely ciaos of the big family Christmas.  I hope our kids take some of our traditions to their new families as adults and I hope my children look back at this holiday and remember how much they were loved each year.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Company's coming...

Over the years I have earned the reputation in my family as being the entertainer. “The hostess with the mostess” They have called me.  In preparation for company, I will take an entire day and CLEAN every room in the house, so that not a thing is out of place. I every Barbi in Rory’s room has a home, and don’t you dare touch it until company arrives and gets the amazing first impression I was searching for.

It’s no secret that I like to cook. It’s also no secret that Alex is the world’s fussiest eater and is impossible to impress with food. A man that loves chicken nuggets to the extent that he does is not impressed with the 4 to 5 courses you just “whipped together” ….So when I know I have company coming in and they will actually enjoy what I cook, I do it all up! I will research, find out what the incoming company likes and make sure I have all the food I need at my disposal.  For instance, I have made ribs 3 times in the last year. Each time Auntie Matt was in town visiting and the man loves ribs J Cooking for someone who says “wow, that was good”*** mmmm warms my heart ***

Prior to guests arrival I make sure my already pretty well stocked liquor cabinet is all toped up. I, being a bartender in my “pre-motherhood life”, like to be able to serve up a cocktail or shooter at a moment’s notice.
It is inevitable that prior to company arriving Alex and I will fight. I get tunnel vision. I see only the mess of the house, only the growing list of things that need done and only him on the couch… NOT HELPING. I will insist he help with the chorus I delegate to him, and then I will point out how he has done them wrong…. I know what you’re thinking “she’s a bitch” Trust me, Alex thinks it too. He has pretty much learned to stay out of my way prior to company arriving. It’s much better for us all, if he just to goes away and lets me do it all myself. BUT don’t let me catch you just sitting around; it adds fuel to my fire. He usually finds a project to work on, something broken to fix, or an outdoor activity with the children.  


This leads me to this weekend… This weekend WE are the company that is coming! We are the ones invading someone else’s home.  This morning when I spoke with our hostess for the weekend, she mentioned she was off work today with a sick lil girl…

I called BULL SHIT!

“Don’t you go stressing yourself out on our account” I said. This friend and I have an awful lot in common and I know she, like me, is running around like a chicken with her head cut off, making sure every detail, right down to the air mattress the children are sleeping on, is in full working order and “nice and comfy for them” she said.

Us being a family of 5, we do not become “company” very often (ok aside from in-laws house, NEVER) It’s always easier for people to come to us. So needless to say, I will defiantly be out of my element this weekend. I am always the entertainer, always the cook, always the server and always the cleaner.  Will I be able to take a step back and let someone serve me? Probably not… Will I be able to allow someone to prep and cook me a meal without interfering? Probably not… Will this be an experience and a shit ton of fun? Defiantly!!!

Stay tuned for updates from this weekend’s adventures.
I hope everyone has a great time, I am off to pack J

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Balance... is there really such a thing???

Although I LOVE summer, I have to admit, I am a little relieved to see this one go. As the mother to 3 small children, 3 cats, a dog and a 6 foot snake this summer for me has been a very busy one.

On top of all that I run a home based business and have Alex to take care of (he's kinda needy) We also have a camper at the lake which is supposed to be relaxing, but see, the lake for me means grocery shopping for two places, triple the laundry and the responsibility of packing enough food and clothing for 5 people and a dog. As well as making sure that the animals at home are taken care of over the course of our 3 day absence.

This summer was also a summer of sports for all 3 kids. Rory had soccer and dance, Boots had Tball and Hudson played rookie ball twice a week. I am all for the kids being active and involved BUT MAN was it exhausting on me trying to keep up with all that. We also have 3600 sq. ft. , 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom house that needs to be kept clean with little to no help from any other members of my family. Not to mention the basement construction, this leads to a lot of dust and dirt making its way up stairs. Also a lot of trips for me to the hardware store to get the things on Alex's lists.

 (first day of school 2013)
So seeing my kids go off to school this year brought me great joy. I LOVE THEM, I REALLY Do! But the fighting, messes and constant "Mom!?-ing” that has taken place over the last 2 months is enough to send a person over the edge.

That all being said, I do find myself frustrated with the transition from summer to fall.

Summer (as crazy and busy as it is)is spent with nightly BBQs on the back deck, eating at the outdoor patio table, later evenings outside with the kids, yard chores and maintenance and then wrapped up with weekends at the lake.  The Lake insists of lazy days on the beach, camp fires and card games.

So here I sit, the mornings and nights are COLD, the days are just bearable and I am still crazy!!

We can’t eat outdoors, I am struggling to do a meal plan that does not require me standing outside freezing in front of a BBQ, the camper and lake are closed up for the season and the evenings are getting shorter and darker much earlier.  By the time I pick up with kids from school, do daily errands (post office, bank, grocery store etc.) get both boys through homework, spelling words, and reading, do some basic housework, get supper prepared and made in time for Daddy to get home from work, eat supper, get 3 kids bathed and into bed, clean up supper dishes and feed the animals, make lunches for the next day, I AM EXHAUSTED! The sad part out of all of this is when Alex gets home from work and says “Hi Baby, what’d you do all day?” I can’t come up with an answer… I spend the entire day running in circles, barley finding time to drink a cup of coffee while it’s still hot, but yet, when this question arises my answer is always the basic “oh you know,  worked, took care of the kids, made supper”  

(frustrated 2nd grader, doing homework with Mom)

As a woman/Mom do we ever get the credit we deserve? Probably not… I am guessing I am not the only woman in the world that struggles to find the balance between work, house, partner and children. There is only one of me, but yet I am stretched in multiple directions all hours of the day.  

I love 8pm…the meals are eaten, dishes are cleaned, counters are wiped, kids are bathed and in bed, any chores not done at that point can wait until tomorrow.  At 8pm all the lights are turned off, I switch to the low light of the living room lamps and in the kitchen I ALWAYS have candles lit. I usually pour a glass of wine and plop my ass on the couch to snuggle in and watch whatever series Alex and I are hooked on at that moment or whichever reality show we are glutenly addicted to. At 8 pm my world slows and my house is quiet. I love 8pm.

 (Monday evening on the couch)

 So now the fall season is here in full force.  The winter doldrums are setting in and soon we will be shoveling, scraping and plowing that awful white stuff away.
(Front porch decorated for Fall)

Finding balance in the new routines of a school year with the kids is trying on my patience, but I will persevere as I always do.

I hope all of you are having a fantastic fall thus far.
Thanks for listening…



Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The difference between Facebook and reality .....

I truly believe we are all guilty of this in one way or another...
We all have a Facebook profiles.
And we all make sure it looks perfect.

I know I only post the good pics. The ones taken at the right angle, where my fat doesn't show and my hair is done. We only brag about the good things in life. Post the pictures of the great family trips you have taken. Post the pics of the wonderful meal you made. Talk about the great things you and your partner do together. To the unaccepting eye you have the perfect life. BUT.... if anyone who actually knows you, knows that you look like crap in the morning just like the rest of us. You have days where your house is a mess, your kids act like monsters and you and your partner are at each others throat.

Now "most" self respecting people do not air their dirty laundry on FB (Thank God). This leaves the rest of us to creep your daily life and see all the good in it. For us to sit and envy you. Because your life looks so much calmer and well put together then ours.
My facebook profile is just as jammed packed with happy, wonderful things just like the rest of ya's. That's why two years ago when my ex husband took his own life and made a mockery of me on FB the rest of the world was in shock.

To say Brad and I were happy together would be a lie... We faked it very well in the public eye though. Our relationship could only be described as TOXIC at best. Filled with lies and deceit . Violence and shame. We hid all aspects of the relationship from the public. Hid the horrific things from even our families. So when shit finally hit the fan in those last few months and it all came to a screeching halt. People were shocked, saddened and for the most part angry with me.

No one knew the trails and tribulations he and I had been through in those 7 years. No one seen anything other then the wonderful vacations to the Bahamas and Disney World. No one looked past our 3 beautiful happy, healthy children and thought that anything was wrong.

Now I have mentioned Alex in previous posts. He truly is the perfect man for me. Our life is "for the most part" exactly what you see on Facebook. We have a beautiful home, he is helping me raise my 3 beautiful children and at the end of the day I actually LIKE him. We look forward to spending time together and doing "nothing" with him is most entertained and fulfilled I have ever felt in life.

BUT... we do fight, we have our issues. Raising someone else's kids is challenging. No matter how much you attempt to treat them like your own there will always be the evil step parent stigma. I, coming from a more well off back ground, tend to spend money faster then we can make it. He is very closed off and unemotional most of the time and I am erratic and too emotional most of the time. These things are defiantly obstacles we over come on a daily basis and most of the time we preserver and go to bed happy and in love.

I think its important to take a step back from Facebook every once and a while. Look deeper into someone's life and know that its not always what it seems. In reality we are all dysfunctional in one way or another.   And nobody really knows what goes on behind closed doors.



Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Because I am a Mom....

It’s funny, as I sat at my kitchen table last week, paper and pen in hand, looking at the Sears Christmas Wish Book, I had a thought… It’s only the beginning of September, what am I doing looking at the Wish Book and thinking about Christmas already? Then I answered my own thought with a simple "because I’m a Mom"
Christmas as a mother takes extreme planning, budgeting, searching, hunting, and preparation to make sure that every possible detail, gift and gadget is purchased, wrapped and presented.

So I thought to myself, "what else do I do differently specifically because I'm a Mom?"

because I’m a Mom...I make at least 2 sometimes 3 different meals at supper time. I like to eat "somewhat" healthy, Alex eats VERY plain. And the kids eat like kids… so its time consuming and somewhat frustrating making multiple meals. Something I would never do if I did not have children. If I were a single woman or even just a couple, I am pretty sure we would eat out every night.

because I’m a Mom....I drive a minivan… No self-respecting woman in the 21st century wants to drive a minivan. But when you have 2 toddlers in car seats and a new born on the way, you find yourself test driving mini vans… That was me back in the summer of 2009, a 2 and 3 year oldand a baby on the way and we needed something that could hold all those car seats safely and comfortably. Now my kids are a little older mind you but I still drive that minivan. You wouldn’t believe the stuff I can fit in that thing.

because I’m a Mom...I buy comfortable shoes… It’s unbelievably depressing when I walk through the mall looking in the windows at all the sexy shoes and boots out there. But the only thing that floods my mind as a mother is "where the hell would I wear those?" They are gorgeous, crazy expansive but so impractical. As I walk off in my Birkenstock or Uggs (they go with everything) I hang my head in shame at my Mom shoes.
because I’m a Mom...I don’t even flinch at the sight of puke, poop or boogers… It’s a talent I have only acquired after becoming a mother. I have seen it all! Every color, texture, smell. In the weirdest places! Walls, beds, hair, floors, even in a pocket once. Being a mom has completely sent my weak stomach packing!
because I’m a Mom...I have also learned to eat my words, and stop judging other people and their kids. I can’t tell you how many times in the past I have said "Oh my child would never do that" or "My child would never get away with that" Trust me… at some point; your child is going to do "that", and say "that". Whether you like it or not, you are going to become "that Mom" The one you swore you never would.

So in the words of my dear friend Jaymie who hit the nail right on the head. "Life before parenthood must have been awfully boring."
I could not imagine my life without all the tears, meals, messes, tantrums, smiles, hugs, kisses, late nights, early mornings…

This post was written to and inspired by +Jaymie Doole and her wonderful blog, that has forced me to explore my own inner thought process and attempt to write it all down... Thanks Jaym :)

Monday, 16 September 2013

Things that make me Happy Happy Happy....

Nail polish :  I believe a girl should own a ton of nail polish, in a ton of colours. Your nail polish should match your mood. Painted nails make me HAPPY  

 (my newly installed nail polish holders, in my master bath)

    Christmas :  I recently found a love for this holiday. Everything about Christmas makes me HAPPY. Shopping, decorating, beautiful sights, sounds and smells around the house. And the absolute magic of it all. Something as crazy as a fat man in a red suit and his flying reindeer make my 3 children so HAPPY.
    (one of two of the 2012 Christmas trees in our house)

    My Kitchen : Cooking and cleaning are my way of life. I adore making messes in my kitchen. Serving prepared meals, and spending time with friends and family. My kitchen is the centre piece of my house and always our families meeting ground. Being in my kitchen makes me HAPPY
    (messy kitchen, last weeks spaghetti night)  
    The colour Purple : I am not entirely sure why, but the colour purple makes me HAPPY.
    I have a purple bedroom and master bathroom, lots of purple clothes. My purple frying pan is my favorite. Surrounded in purple I am always HAPPY

    Pillows : My bed is full of them (6 full size, 4 king size and 2 throw cushions) . So is my couch and most chairs in my house. They drive Alex crazy. But he loves me, so he puts up with things to make me HAPPY
    Wine : I love wine and it makes me very HAPPY. Making it. Bottling it. Displaying it. Sharing it. Drinking it! There is not much about wine that does not make me HAPPY
    (lots of wine on display in my house)
     The Lake : We spend summer weekends at the lake. We have a camper and a Seadoo there. Spending time with friends and family at the lake makes me HAPPY. Long days on the beach, drinks by the fire, Seadooing and tubing on hot days. Lazy rainy days on the couch. 100's of card games played. Going back to basics for 48 hours a week with the kids. Outdoor fun and no video games, makes me HAPPY
    (Two handsome lil boys enjoying a sunny day on the dock)  

     (The cutest lil beach bum)

     (Lazy afternoon on the beach)

    (Late night fires)
    (The kids love tubing)

    My Boyfriend : Alex... he was my second chance in life. With him I have accomplished more in 2 years, then I had in the 27 years before him. He has made me a better mother, partner and all around better person. He is silly and serious. Practical and spontaneous. He puts up with a lot of my shit and calls me out when my shit gets too intense. He is exactly what I needed in my life to bring me down a few notches where necessary and bring me up a few where I lacked.  Through him I have gained family and support that I never dreamed was possible. And that makes me HAPPY

    And of coarse my KIDS : I could write for days on the ways my children make me HAPPY. I will address each of them in their own separate post at some point but for now just knowing that they are HAPPY makes me the HAPPIEST a person can be.

    I hope you have enjoyed reading about all the things that make me HAPPY. I will continue to fill in this list as my posts come. There should be a never ending flow of HAPPINESS in your life