Category Archives: Family

A Voice From the Dust

There has been silence here.  Dust has settled and I have been very sporadic in my visits to others (blog-wise).  One of my reasons was March.  I couldn’t face it at all.  It was when we left for Scotland a year ago, and I have been pining for it off and on ever since.  I didn’t think I would miss the familiarity of it since I have become so embedded here.

But I do.

Part of it is my Gran though.  But if I go back she won’t be there anyway.  Yet another reason March was tough to handle.  It gave me my perspective on life though.  I felt like I had become so consumed in making sure I was caught up on others’ lives that I had come to love so dearly, that I was ignoring my real life going on right in front of me.

But how do you say goodbye to something you have been doing diligently for 4 years?  You can’t.

I love writing.  I think about each word I use, and, as a result, some posts have seriously taken a lot of of me.  Blogging and keeping up with the likes isn’t easy.  I’m definitely not turning my back on it.  I just need/needed to refocus.  I should have left a note.  I should have called.  I should have done something!

And strangely, my husband has missed my writing.  Once, when I was still actively blogging, he even remarked, “I see less of you, but so much more of you.”  But even with the prodding, all I could think about was how I felt compelled to blog, but not because I wanted to,  because I felt I had to, and that’s when I realised I had come to the point of doing it for the wrong reasons.

But something else has taken my attention a little.  Something little just now, and maybe not so little in the future.

I have been staring at a family photo on our entryway wall, and much like a scene from Back to the Future, I felt like someone was missing.  If I’m being honest, I’ve felt that way for almost a year, right before we bought the Dodge Caravan (the ’92 Ford Explorer was such a money pit anyway, but still).

I am currently 14 weeks pregnant and doing very well.  My to-be-determined little one is due the last week of October, which, if I am completely honest, feels like a lifetime away.  But.  But!  This is the first pregnancy where I can actually say I am having the baby the same year!

So, although life isn’t different, it is just a little.

Then The Planets Realigned…

Two days ago, a friend dropped off her 3-year-old girl for a few hours to play while she ran to a morning meeting.  I was ecstatic.  The boys’ bedroom needed some serious attention, and I could get it in better shape if Cameron was distracted by a friend.  It worked.  And apparently, his observation skills were in overdrive too.  You see, she’s in the middle of being potty trained right now, and I was in the bathroom with her 3 times in the space of three hours.  Two were false alarms.

As I was hoovering up the massacred juggling ball (I’ve had since I was 19) that he ripped open with his teeth and spilled the beans everywhere, a miracle occurred: He peed on his potty.  By himself.  And I missed it.  I was a mere 6 feet away.  Wow, I was ecstatic.  We mentioned it for hours. We told Daddy.  We clapped and jumped.  We sang a song.

img_2599It was a fluke, but a great fluke nonetheless.

I’ve had that potty sitting in their bathroom for the past 6 months, just so it’s always in his line of vision.  He’s never really shown much interest in it, but I’m not too concerned, boys are harder to train.  (Do they ever fully train anyway?)

I held him on a pedestal like a prodigy.

Until yesterday.  Yesterday, the planets realigned while I was drying my hair.

glassesHe climbed up on my bed and onto the headboard.  Behind the headboard on one of the window sills were my old standby glasses.  He found them.

Life has returned to normal.  The other lens, incidentally, was found on location at a second site twenty minutes later.  Now, if I ever need glasses, I have a good excuse to get new ones.
img_2610

Butter wouldn’t melt….

Metamorphosis

What an ogre I was.  The Yuck had left me unyielding and unshifting, someone I’m not.  All since July.

I wasn’t letting the kids be kids.  Too much structure.  Too much control.  Order. Quiet.  Little statues to adorn the sides of my fireplace.  I have chips and a huge dent in the drywall from where my rage got the better of me and I threw a Little People garage towards the safety gate and missed.  A monument to a person I hope is long gone.  Someone I hope is fixed because I decided to change a few things.

And I have much to be thankful for: My health, my home, my family, my friends.  I have been feeling and doing much! better since I started eating better.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m on a diet, because I’m not.  We never really had cakes and biscuits in the house before, and now we have Costco 3-packs of Carr’s (made in Scotland, no less!) Ginger and Lemon Cremes.  Two is a serving.  I know!  Two!  And, I’ve lost weight to boot.  Eight pounds in 3 weeks.  But I swear I’m not dieting.  No, really.  All I have been doing is adhering to serving sizes on the back of the box.  It’s easy for the most part —  except when it comes to pasta.  Two ounces is a serving?  Really?!  I’d be better off buying a Gerber Stage 3 pasta dinner, there’d be more in that tiny jar, let me tell you.  I think Barilla is taking the Micky.  I mean, come on!  Two ounces?  You know they’re sitting in their cushy wee corporate offices with half a pound of farfalle between two of them, laughing till somebody snorts a hunk of it down their nose.

No, but I’m not bitter.  Yep, I’m not.

Who knew?  I’d be feeling dumpy and gloomy, so I’d eat chocolate.  But all that would do is eventually make me feel worse.  So then I’d eat more sugar, and the sinking feelings still weren’t going away. . . I was going around in a circle.  And becoming a circle!

It’s started a revolution.

So.  I’ve decided.  I’m tired of hearing it, so I’m just going to live.

Enjoy being young, you have fit legs, youth is wasted on the young.
Enjoy dating, it’s all serious business and responsibility after you get married.
Enjoy just the two of you, everything changes when you have children.
Enjoy when they’re babies, they grow so fast.
Enjoy them when they’re throwing fits and imploding, they’ll be teenagers soon.
Enjoy being in your 30’s/40’s, don’t take life so seriously now.
Enjoy your grandkids, you can hand them back.
Enjoy retirement.
Enjoy the young, they have fit legs.  Youth is wasted on the young.

I’m stopping it all.  I’m dropping out of the cycle.  Forget it.  I’m living for myself.  I keep hearing “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3) or thinking about how Christ always went to the children first and blessed them.  Or how we should become like little children. I’m letting the kids be kids and enjoying what we have.  Lining up dining chairs and making trains for hours until we get tired of it.  I’m having water fights and making homemade playdough.  They’re eating off of the ‘good’ grown-up plates and drinking from proper glasses that have the potential to smash, but I don’t care so much, because every day is a special occasion.  They’re sitting and laughing with me and getting to know their mother.

Getting to also know she has a sick sense of humour.

I’m playing hide and seek, but not in a cute-come-find-me kinda way.  In the he-can’t-find-me-and-starts-freaking-out way.  Sure, they’ll have abandonment issues and will likely pay thousands to retreive their sanity, but for now, it’s nice to feel wanted.

One of my new favourite things to do is have Ian lie on the carpet and drop cashews into his mouth.  We laugh together when one slides right in.  We giggle and squirm when one bounces off of his teeth or slides down his neck.

We’re all learning and growing, and I couldn’t be happier.

Dog Gone It

Yesterday I had one of those moments where I was paying attention.  I wasn’t harried by the kids or in the middle of something and not paying attention.  I had been in my room and walked out, passing my husband in the kitchen doing the dishes (the dear).  I had a prompting, a little voice, the Spirit, whatever else it’s known as to look for Toby.  I glanced outside through the storm door and couldn’t see him.

“Where’s Toby?”
“He’s outside.”

Again, I felt prompted to investigate.  There have been times where I have let things slide from these ‘little thoughts’:  Move that, Cameron will destroy it, and I haven’t done it, either thinking I would see him and catch him in the act, or the idea of him even getting something out-of-reach was completely insane.  Well, I have paid for it too, believe me.

I listened this time and stood at the back door, tracing the looping of his 30-foot leash snaking in the snow against the blinding non-warm sun and seeing it disappear.  I looked beside the small bush where the part of it I could see was, and he wasn’t there.

Again, I felt compelled to open the door and get out there, despite the -10ºF weather.

Where’s your shoes?  Did you put them away?”
“I have them on–”
“Not those, the brown ones.”
“–I put them away, do you think Toby’s leash snapped?”
“I’m not sure, but I need to check, I just have a feeling–”

At that point, he was at the door, and edging it open.

“There he is, by the bush over there.”

I was looking in completely the wrong direction, thinking he was further off than he really was.

“Toby, come on, let’s go inside!”  Bryan said, lifting the intonation in his voice to chipper level.

It was then that I saw it.  Half a foot of leash attached to his collar, dragging just enough in the snow.  It had snapped — at some point — and he had become loose AND TOTALLY UNAWARE!

He bounced back through our back door, completely oblivious to the sinking feeling edging into my stomach and creeping up my throat.

“How long was he out there?  Long?”
“Yeah, about 15 minutes.”

It may have been small, but that?  That was a miracle.  I have risked life and limb for this dog when he has escaped from me four times, once as he was let loose out the front door by the 4-year-old and chased after the traffic half a block to the end of our road and turned the corner towards and on-coming truck 3 times as big as myself.

I know how lucky we all were and I realised that although that little thing has turned my world upside-down, I love the scruffy little mutt!

I’ll never admit it though.

And while I’m sitting here in denial, I’ll be listening.

A Year Wrap-Up

Through life’s lessons, I’ve learned to take things as they come, learn from them and endeavour to slowly move on.  Nothing is gained from dwelling on the past if the dwelling merely brings negative thoughts and bad vibes; and yet, without trials and hard times, one could not grow and develop, nor could one fully appreciate all the great times with absolutely nothing to compare with.  It is the savour of life.  Salt.  So, with that, let’s do a little comparison, shall we?  (And probably rub some salt in the proverbial wound in the meantime.)

Here were 2008’s ASPIRATIONS:


1. Make friends with your new sewing machine.

  • First point of action: remove it from its taped up box
  • Re-learn how to use it after a eighteen-year hiatus
  • Harness its capabilities and overlook the mind-consuming danger that you could ram the high speed needle into your left forefinger
  • Make some rawkin’ things with it, including a Rag Quilt

2. Recycle more to fit more rubbish in the wheelie bin. How can such a small family generate so much crap?

3. Revolutionise Your Blogging Experience

  • Move blog (and archives–BAH!) to another server

MSN has been getting my knickers in a twist for a very long time. Despite blogging here for the past 2.5 years, becoming Space of the Week twice, being featured on The MSN Homepage and having over 207,000 hits under my belt, I have taken all I can stomach with the Nuisance. The catalyst was the most recent of changes: No basic or advanced HTML in the Sandbox. At all. Basically, you can’t make a clickable header anymore, which is why mine has huge ugly white spaces all over it. My other option is to just leave it altogether.

  • Be done with Blogging
That’s a goal, right?
  1. I have continued to stare at the taped up box.  I have, in my own defense, made conversation about said ‘taped up box’ and have been promised some how-to times ahead.  Don’t judge me.  Actually, go ahead.
  2. I have been recycling like a mad woman — much to my husband’s chagrin (I shouldn’t really have to say that we have to travel the 45 miles to Missoula to drop it off, should I?) — and have even recruited my 4-year-old in the processes, adding this new word into his vocab in the emerging months of 2008.
  3. It’s hard to believe I have been with WordPress a year now, and although I have moved the biggest majority of my posts over, I have a few months left to do.  It’s labourious mostly because I have to do it by hand, one-by-one and I am peeved that WP doesn’t allow you to export files from any server, and not just Blogger and Typepad (to name the very few).  Which, consequently, means I have lost all my precious comments too.  All three of them.  However, I have not — as the savvy-eyed among you will have noticed — given up blogging.  Although I will say, I have come very close to it, particularly 2 weeks ago.

In retrospect, although 2008 had it’s downs, there were ups amidst those downs; sweet moments I cherish.  Quiet moments as death approached both my Gran and Grandpa-in-law that I hold dearly to:  My Gran gently stroking my hair as I showed her the back of my still-thick hair (compared to my poor Mum’s!) and the still, quiet moments I shared with Clifford, a shell of who he once was.  There is nothing more bitter-sweet than to sit in a quiet room with those who are departing.  The Spirit is very strong, almost overpowering at times.  The tears would come, just from the sheer intensity of peace/love/tranquility in the rooms.

I am grateful for the departure of two thousand and eight.  It hasn’t been bad, per se, but I have done a lot of growing and molding this past year.  Things I don’t really care to revisit, but instances where I have grown the most.  One of the hardest things for me to deal with was returning to Montana after being in Scotland for three weeks.  I hadn’t set foot in the UK in five years, and naively thought I could handle it, considering my last trip was a breeze.  I was overloaded with excitement to be there, to even just stand in a supermarket (Morrison’s or Tesco) and just stare at the shelves while others meandered past, barely paying attention to my quiet enthusiasm.  Essentially, I rediscovered my homeland, something I never thought possible.  Returning to Montana was the antithesis of the trip: dormant grass, a lack of infrastructure, people, buildings, city life and importantly, my family.  What a rough, turbulent month I had after my return, and, like usual, I grinned and beared it.

So, I have waved farewell to 2008 and heralded in 2009 in great style.

We spent the day with a family from our Church and a big handful of friends.  To say their home is huge is a slight understatement.  Adding their shop and a few other things, it spans a whopping 12,000 square feet.  They have a large swimming pool, a billiards table, air hockey, a ginormous kitchen and many, many rooms.  I used a bathroom to change my clothes from sledding down their hill repeatedly (and consequently being transported back up the hill on either a Rhino or a snow mobile) and tried to guesstimate its size.  It was definitely around 16′ x 16′.  They are a great family, with huge hearts and we really had a fantastic time — maybe except for Cameron, where, on his maiden and only voyage downhill strapped onto the long plastic sled under us by my legs only, slid so far down, I had to clench his heid with my thighs in-between the air we caught.  After he retained composure, he even went in a pool for the first time (and if you think I did, you are sadly mistaken!  I am, however, going to buy a pair of women’s surf shorts and a tankini top, because that(?) my friends, is a bloody great idea!  Exclamation POINT!).

I, of course, had to stuff my face completely and ate a bit of everything everyone brought.  You have to!  What kind of person would I be if I left anyone’s dish out?!  That’s just uncalled for.

A final comparison to this time last year is that although we are a good nine days into the year, I have yet to come up with anything new I want/need to accomplish.  There’s time yet, I suppose.

Because It Wouldn’t All Fit On A Postcard . . .

I can’t hardly believe it’s been so long since I last posted.  What is wrong with me?!  It’s certainly not a lack of sugar.  Christmas isn’t even here yet, and I can hear myself getting fatter.  I am sorry I have been absent, almost despondent from blogging.  I always have something to say, especially lately, where none of it seemed to have any type of uplifting tone to it.  I think that was part of my issue, that I felt all I was doing was unloading and my funny, happy side wasn’t showing through.  But, I’m happy to say I am done with the testing and prodding, for now at least.  But to be honest, I am no further forward than I was before I started at the end of October.

Everything came back normal, even the DHEA (hormone) level where the high normal level is 228, where in November, I was a shocking 1310.  I’m now within normal levels.  I also got my results back today from a sleep test I performed on the comfort of my new lovely mattress.  Sleep test, pah!  That’s a joke!  I have to have quiet, dark, and covers up to my chin to sleep.  And, apparently, nothing distracting me. Needless to say, I finally fell asleep from sheer exhaustion with the bloody Oxometer clamped to my left index finger.  After I hid the flashy lights screen under my pillow, all I could do was concentrate on the fact that it was boring a hole into my nail bed.  I woke constantly, I don’t even recall sleeping much — if at all — all that well.  I even dreamed I ripped the bloody thing off my finger and fell back asleep.  I would rather have a newborn wake me up every two hours than to have to do that again. The clamp was so tight that when I removed it the next morning (just before six, I might add), it had left a bright white mark on my nail bed and the skin was raw around it.  I could have told them I didn’t have sleep apnea, all I needed was a new mattress.  Oh, how I love the new memory foam with gel layer mattress.  I am sleeping much better and no longer leaning into the middle of the bed, consequently waking with aching shoulders and a grumpy disposition.

I still haven’t made it to the Psychologist’s office, one of these weeks I might talk myself into it.  Maybe if she lets me take copious notes and if I can snap a pic with her — you know, for blogging’s sake — I might just do it.  You can’t pass up the opportunity of a lifetime of going to a psychologist and not take notes, share insights and garner general blog fodder . . .

A lot has been going on with us, generally just day-to-day things, but enough to keep us busy, especially this time of year.  The biggest thorn, skelf (sliver) or whathaveyou in my side is the bunk beds.  I wish I had known how pathetically bad Oa.k Ex.press was.  Wow, they are pretty awful on the Customer Suckage scale.  They promised a replacement section of the broken headboard for the top half of the bunk beds — on expedited delivery no less! And it took a day longer than the original items to arrive.  Luckily they are delivering the replacement parts for free, but we don’t have a time frame, which is both a good and bad thing.  We don’t have the written warranty which should have come with it, or the treatment for the wood upkeep AND! the casters for the bottom bunk bed (movable) were non-existent.

img_2414Since we were headed to Missoula today anyway, we took a jaunt into their showroom again, hoping to just pick it up and get it all over with.  We pulled up to the loading dock and Bryan trudged through the foot-deep snow to their bay door.  No bell and no signs of life.  When I walked in the front door and said we were there to pick up replacement parts and mentioned we’d stopped at the loading dock, he said, “Oh, he’s at lunch.”  This is also the same no-show warehouse guy that refused to stay past 7 o’clock, even though my husband didn’t get off work until 6 and had to drive with a bad storm blowing in and barely made it there just before quarter past seven.  He left no notes, nothing saying anything was damaged and the floor guys gave Bryan all the boxed pieces and sent him on his way.

So.  Anyway, today, I said:
“I’m just disappointed with it all.  We were promised expedited delivery and it arrived a day later than the first shipment . . .”  “Oh, sorry about that” he said, not really looking at me.

At this point, Bryan joined me.

“This is our first truck delivery since the 13th” he continued.
“No it’s not!” Bryan said defiantly, “I talked with one of the guys here the other day and they told me the parts weren’t on a shipment that day, but they’d be on the next one.  It’s not the only delivery you’ve had.”
“Well, we get trucks here all the time . . .” he replied, backtracking and inadvertently making himself look really bad.

To cut a long story short, he wouldn’t give us the parts because we didn’t bring the other faulty parts with us.  He wanted a clean swap-out.  He still wouldn’t give them to us, even though the delivery truck could have came and got them from us tomorrow.  I am thisclose to just packing it all in and getting our money back.  I love the bunk beds, but eight hundred dollars can be spent elsewhere where they actually take care of their customers.  We’ve pretty much concluded that if anything is missing or damaged from this shipment, we will send it all back.  It’s not worth the grief and hassle.  I know my little Ian will be heart broken, but I’d rather be fully satisfied than have that ‘uck’ feeling inside.  The first two guys we dealt with were really nice.  This one was not.  Before we had even stepped back out into the bitter, snowy cold this morning, Bryan had formulated a plan to write a lengthy letter to their corporate office and complain about their quality systems and quality control.  You’d never guess he was a scientist for one second!

img_2424And life goes on.  Cameron continues to be Cameron: Cute one minute and up to something the next.  His vocabulary is expanding and he can now tell me when Ian is up to something, it’s proving quite handy.  It’s hilarious to watch Ian’s face when Cameron runs and tells me something.

“Iannotnice!”
“Ian hit!”

They love each other though, and it’s beautiful to watch Cameron want to be just like his brother.  He adores him so much.

img_2439As for me, you know, all-in-all, I’m doing great.  I’m happy and things are going really well for me.  I still can’t explain the hair loss and the lack of occasional appetite, but I think stress plays a major roll in that.

And, in a non-existent segue kinda way, even after all these years, it still surprises me when people ask me where I’m from.  A friend’s aunt asked me today and then responded, “I could sit and listen to you talk for days . . .”  I remarked, “that’s what he used to say, now he just tells me to shut up!”

These next few days, I’ll definitely be putting a major emphasis on the home.  A good friend of mine from when I was a teenager (i.e. bloody donkeys ago) had a ritual of deep cleaning her entire home for New Year’s.  Since I’ve gotten older, I think that’s a pretty decent thing to do, so I am reorganising and purging like a mad woman.  It’s such a great feeling.  I for one — and I think I can speak for many of us — will not be sad to see the back of 2008.  Wow, what an incredible amount of menoosha happened this year.

But before I properly herald in the New Year, we still need to get those bunk beds sorted.  Watch this space.

Days Like This

You know, despite the roller coaster of emotions, we had a really great time when we were down visiting family.  We managed to pack in quite a bit into such a small amount of time.  One of my favourite days started out a little by accident.

Ian was invited to his cousins’ home for a sleepover on a Friday night.  We packed his little bag and took him the 30 minutes to their home.  They had moved to the same city we left about 2-3 weeks before moving to Montana, so it was nice to see the place again and see how much more it had grown and expanded.  Crazy to think it could have grown any more than it already had, we were there for three years and saw an amazing amount of development in that short time.  The clincher for me was I was a few minutes from all of my favourite stores and restaurants.  And then suddenly, I wasn’t.

It’s amazing how when you’re not around a place for a while and don’t have access to certain things, the first thing you go for is food.  I miss decent Mexican food, locals here will tell you it’s relatively easy to find, but when you know what it should taste like, there’s no contest.  The only thing I regret not getting when I was there was a beloved cherry-limeade from Sonic.

Anyway, moving right along.

The next morning, we drove up to collect Ian and start our big plans for the day.  We knew it would be our last time in our old city, so we drove through our neighbourhood again a few blocks over.  We stopped at a corner leading on to our street and I glanced over, seeing an old friend’s home.  We had become quite close about 2 years before we moved.  I remember talking with her a long time ago with a friend when she was looking for a new child minder for her son.  She was working part-time and loved her position.  I didn’t really have to think about it and blurted out, “I’ll do it — that is, if you’re comfortable with it — I totally don’t mind, it would be great company for Ian.”  She had a look on her face like she would be putting me out, so I reassured her, “if you can’t find anyone else, I would love to mind him for you.  Talk to [your husband] and let me know what you think.”  In my eyes it was a perfect scenario, Ian would have an instant friend three times a week and she’d have the peace of mind she needed.  Ian and her son were both around 18 months at the time.

I grew to love that little boy like he was my own.  I tended him about 15 hours a week for a year and never once tired of it.  It was easy to have him around, they entertained each other, all I had to do was steer them in the right direction and structure their afternoons together.  The great thing was they’d both nap at the same time, so it worked out really well.  He had a great little personality and they learned things from each other.  Ian taught him to shimmy down stairs on his belly (they have a Rambler), and he showed Ian how to clean off a plate of food.  The day I had to say goodbye to both of them was heart-wrenching.  I knew I would miss both of them immensely.  I had grown so close to him and enjoyed his sweet little spirit.

As I looked at her door, I knew I had to do it.  We pulled into the driveway and Ian went with me to the front door.  Her husband answered the door, he told me his wife was shopping but would be back soon.  As he called her on her cell phone, he ushered us inside and we sat for a few minutes chatting and catching up.  As she rounded the corner into her front room, I can still see her smiling face, grinning from ear to ear when she saw us all.  It makes me think of the quote by Emily Bronte:

Long years apart can make no breach a second cannot fill.

And how true that is!  I missed them all so much, they were a huge part of our lives.  I hugged him so tightly.  I also spent some time holding their sweet new baby.

dsc02452I moved Ian’s cot/crib over and they watched the rain bounce off the streets.

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friendsNov 2008

frtWhat a great day!  But it was no where near over.  After we said our goodbyes (the boys were devastated), we drove to the new train station near Bryan’s Mum’s place and rode the train to downtown Salt Lake.  Then rode what I call the ‘train-bus’, stopping just around the corner from the open-air Mall and went to see Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

We had a great time and they boys loved the new train system, it reminded Ian (and us) of being back in Scotland a lot.  I slipped into bed that night thoroughly satisfied and brimming with smiles.  We had an excellent, packed day.  I know it’s days like these that are little memory builders for the boys and I look forward to many, many more.