Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Great Contest

I recently found a new blog I am enjoying, The Miss Elaine-ous Life. Being such a big fan of Seinfeld and liking smart and cute people who make funny plays with words, I couldn't not check it out.

Reading there today led me to The Biggest One Day Contest EVER at Burgh Baby. Head on over and join in, there are loads of fun and wonderful prizes for you to win!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Seeing it all clearly now

I had one of those experiences today.

One of those experiences to which I don't like to admit, of which I am completely, totally, and utterly embarrassed. One of those experiences where you sit back later on, while sipping a cup of coffee or tea, and wonder, "was that ME?".

Oh, oh, oh. It was me, all right.

I have not felt as if my hormones were "raging" or "out of whack" now for a while. As a matter of fact, I had been thinking that things were finally chugging along pretty smoothly in the hormone department. For the most part, I feel pretty great every single day. I'm still nursing, so I recognize that inside of me swims a lovely little cocktail of various female hormones, leaving their imprints on me in the forms of excitement, stress, anxiety, sadness, and elation.

I had a horrible cold all weekend, and could barely get out of bed. I felt rotten, and the sinus infection of which I had worked diligently to rid myself seemed to be rearing it's ugly head again. I slowly felt myself slipping into that deep, dark hole of victim mode.

Why me? I'm a mom, I'm too busy to get sick. I don't get any days off. It's NOT FAIR.

Perhaps it was the exhaustion I felt from a long weekend of being sick, or maybe it was that unique mix of hormones raging through me, but something caused me to become a weepy, blithering idiot on the telephone this morning.

I called my optometrist's office because I was out of contacts. I buy the two week lenses, and then I wear them for a month or two. It saves me money and is better than the dailies I used to wear (due to the fact that I had a serious eye infection a number of years ago). When I run out, I call the office to order more and I have them in 48 hours.

Well, on the phone this morning the receptionist tells me she can not order me contacts because I am overdue for my latest eye check up. I realized this, told her I was sorry, and that I would come in sometime in the New Year when life settled down a bit. So could I please just order the contacts?

She wouldn't budge. She was not going to order me my contacts. I started to panic, because I am at the very end of the pair I am wearing and I need contacts in the next week or two or I'd have to . . . wear my glasses. Which I don't do. In public. Very often. If ever.

I've had glasses since I was a wee little thing in grade two or three. I couldn't see the board at school, the teacher told my mom, and I got myself a cute little pair of little girl frames. I got contacts at age 14, something I was able to convince my parents were *necessary* because I was very into figure skating and also did cross-country running. Sports + Glasses do not mix well. I've been wearing contacts ever since.

I remained calm as long as I could, but the thought of having no contacts soon became more than I could handle. She told me that I would need to come in for an appointment, but that they weren't booking times before November. NOVEMBER?

She said if I booked an appointment time for November, that she could order me a trial pair of contacts to use until I saw the doctor. She so kindly reminded me that "they are only for two weeks though, so you would need to wear your glasses for the remainder of that time".

Uh, yeah. Right.

I just wanted the contacts. I had tried to go to Costco last week to buy contacts, but being near-blind, they don't carry my prescription and they don't let you order if you don't have that little piece of paper with your prescription written on it.

I just want contacts. I explained to unfriendly lady X on the phone that I am a long time contact lens-wearer, that I know my eyes have not changed, that I am not having any problems and that I would come in for an appointment later. But for now, a four year old in kindergarten who takes the afternoon bus, an almost three year old in preschool two mornings a week, and a nursing baby who doesn't take a bottle are preventing me from coming to an appointment (their office happens to be very far from where I live, I can't just "pop" over for an appointment).

She still won't budge. And I just wanted the contacts. Badly. I started to imagine what a cocaine addict might feel like if they didn't know where their next stash would come from.

Then it happened. I started to cry. On the phone! With a total stranger.

I tell her, "I can see where this is going. You have no intention of giving me contact lenses and I'm totally screwed."

"If you book an appointment we can order you a trial pair, " she replies in a calm voice that tells me she has perhaps been through this before.

I say, "Fine. Book me an appointment in November and I'll see if I can make it". "And now I'd like to order the trial set of contacts."

My husband later explained to me that this was where the fateful phone conversation really went sour. Apparently, "I'll see if I can make it", probably made optometrist reception woman see red. Hindsight is 20/20. I can see what a bitch I was now that I'm calmer.

Dealing with hormonal nursing moms must not be the high point of this woman's day because she then tells me to "calm down and call back later after I find out if I can make the appointment or not".

Do you think that made me feel any better? No. She then explains that she can't talk about this anymore, she is alone in the office and very busy, and will phone me back later. Uh huh.

She does call back about 15 minutes later. She offers me an appointment on a day and time I know I cannot possibly make. Rather than even get into that, I calmly tell her, thank you, but no thank you, I will have to look elsewhere for my optometric needs. I'm stunned that she shows no compassion or even seems remotely concerned that I want a pair of contacts and she is ruining my day.

After some panic and a number of frazzled phone calls, I did find an optometrist who would see me in two weeks from today. With an office within five minutes of my home, instead of twenty-five. I booked an appointment, and I will have my new contacts by mid-October. What I am most regretful of in this whole situation is the fact that I truly liked my optometrist. I was one of her first patients, as she opened her office across the street from a company for which I used to work. We hit it off as we were roughly the same age and had a number of similar interests. I thought she was a fantastic eye doctor.

The worst part is how much this inane conversation actually upset me. There are multiple things that go wrong for me in any given day, things out of my control that just happen and cause a chain reaction of mixed-up things that require me to make alternate arrangements and fix and rework things. It just seemed ridiculous to me that a person wanting a pair of contact lenses cannot purchase them without a prescription.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Trying Something New

Wazzup dudes? It's me, Leah. How's it going?

I found this piece of grass, and I'm dyin' to test it out . . .

I think I'm gonna do it, I'm sure it's going to taste yummy.

Yep, let's just pop 'er right in there.

Bleck. That's stinkin' gross. Who knew?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tick. Tock.

I am a slave to the clock. I am a slave to the school bus. I am a slave to the beginning and end times of my children's activities.

Surely this is no new phenomenon. My parents went through it. My friends' parents went through it. My friends today go through it. If you have school age children - or ever did - you know exactly what I am talking about.

Although in no means was my life "PRE school bus" easy. Last winter and spring I had a four year old, his eighteen-months-younger brother, and a new baby girl to tote around the city with me. We struggled Tuesday and Thursday mornings to get Thing 1 to and from preschool. Where he spent 2 1/2 hours. Yet it took me longer than that to actually organize us all to drop him off and pick him up. Where on Tuesdays we could never find parking because the school parking lot was completely jammed due to another activity taking place at the same time.

Yet, outside of Tuesday and Thursday mornings we were fairly flexible in choosing our day to day activities. If we felt like going to the library on Monday afternoon, then that is where our little group ventured. Too rainy or snowy to play outside? I might have hit the indoor play area at the mall, looked for sales, and choked back a coffee while juggling three Things with the other, non-coffee-clutching, hand.

But, alas, this year is different. Thing 1 must be at the designated bus stop around the corner at 12:15 every single weekday. The bus comes at 12:18, so if by some chance of fate (or a dawdling, rock-kicking, leaf-inspecting toddler) we are late, the big giant banana-coloured bus would not stop to take my oldest son to his afternoon kindergarten class. Then what would I do? Trudge back the six to ten minutes it takes the four of us to walk a distance any grown adult could cover in two to three, buckle three kids in car seats in the van, and drive to school.

You get my point.

I'd rather not miss the bus. So in order to ensure we arrive at the designated spot, on the proper side of the street, at 12:15 every single day, all the stars must be aligned. We must all have eaten lunch, finished, washed our hands and wiped our faces, peed, pooped, put shoes on - sweaters or jackets as they become increasingly necessary - prepared, packed and zipped backpack, grabbed whatever *special* and crucially important "small useless toy of the day" each boy must have before we descend down the front steps of our house. Because if we dare leave the end of the driveway without "the helicopter guy with the blue hat" or "the Lego Star Wars person who is not actually Obi Wan Kenobi but who Thing 2 pretends is Obi Wan", the mother of all breakdowns will occur, rendering it then impossible for me to get us all to the bus stop on time.

Oh. I forgot to mention Thing 3. She may or may not be up from her morning nap at this time. If she went to sleep late, she could easily still be sleeping and therefore I need to jolt her from her peaceful, quiet, and happy world where no one is yelling "Hey, I got you", "No way, I got you first", "NO, I said I GOT YOU FIRST", "MOMMY, HE DID NOT GET ME FIRST", lift her from her soft, comfortable and protective crib, and plunge her into one of our two strollers (a single pram-type stroller from back in that very short time period that we had just Thing 1, or a sporty, double stroller we were given as a gift after we had Thing 2), so that we may make our way around the corner and up the street to . . . .

"the designated spot".

The previous details don't even come close to describing the bundle of stress and nerves I frequently become on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when we take Thing 2 to preschool at 9:00 a.m. and pick him up at 11:30 a.m. (because I was so adamant that I did not want to neglect my second child by not providing him with the same preschool opportunities his older brother had), rush home and throw lunch on the table while hoping and praying picky-eater Thing 1 eats enough to give him sustenance for his afternoon at school. And who am I kidding? Some days I just threaten him.

"You need to eat Peter, because X will happen if you don't."

"You only have two more minutes to eat, Peter, or else . . . ."


And I get to repeat the aforementioned process at 3:15, when Things 2 and 3 and I must return to the designated spot to retrieve Thing 1 from the jaws of the big banana bus and begin to listen to the pleasantries of his day at school, on the long, slow and less frazzled walk home. Where the Things can stop and smell the roses, pick up stones on the side of the road, talk to neighbours, and chase each other around the front lawns that we walk past.

"Mommy, I learned how to print my name . . . and I made a picture on the computer, and I learned a new song, and madame read us a story, and I made two new friends . . . and can you even believe there are TWO Ryans in my class . . . do you think we could go to the park and play, and maybe read a story later, and then play Star Wars?"

He oozes excitement, pride, and happiness. He talks so quickly I can barely process his train of thought.

This is why I remain a slave to the clock, and will for every single school day until the end of June.

Totally worth it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

3 Things on a Couch

I thought this video of Thing 3 sitting on Thing 1's lap was adorable. Thing 2 was very interested in the camera and made it his mission not to be left out.

If you're interested in seeing what A Crafty Mom is eating this week, be sure to check out my weekly menu plan at A Crafty Mom Eats.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Heavens to Betsy, I Opened an Etsy

I did it!

I finally decided to give in and open an Etsy store.

I'd been thinking about it for a couple years now, but have always fallen back to the "I'm too busy" excuse. And while, yes, I am very busy, I love making my cards and doing crafts in the evenings when the Things go to bed. It is therapeutic and relaxing for me. It is GOOD for me. So with lots of support from my family and friends, I opened a store in Etsy called "A Crafty Mom's Cards".

Original - I know. But the truth is I have been selling the cards to family and friends for years, so it will be interesting to see how this turns out . . . or if it will still be the original family and friends who are purchasing them. Either way, I appreciate the support and absolutely LOVE doing them.

So, I'm going to post a few cards I have made recently, and if you're interested in taking a peek at my new store, you can see my banner to the left or click here.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What We've Been Doin'

Blog WARNING: Ahead will follow many extremely cute and gratuitous photos of members of our family . . . these are being posted mostly for the benefit of said family members. Those not related to the 3 Things may find the following could induce a wide mouth-opening reflex known as a yawn.

My uber-cool sis and her family hopped on an airplane and made the trek to Ottawa to visit us a couple weeks ago. While they needed to attend a wedding in a nearby town, I know the real reason they came was to spend some much needed time with our quiet, peaceful little family.


We had a great time and actually got to babysit the Things' cousin R overnight while L & M headed out of town to a friend's wedding.

Thing 3 and four-month-old H chillin' like dey should:

I bravely set-up a finger painting activity one afternoon when it was raining:

Um, I think R loved it.

Thing 1 (pre-haircut) is an old pro at this stuff now.

Thing 2 also loves to paint, but is cautious and painstakingly slow.

R and Thing 2 hangin' out at bedtime. Sleepovers are TOO fun!

My cousin A holding baby H.

While my sis was visiting, we got together with our two cousins and their children. As kids, the four of us spent a lot of time together (we four girls are all pretty close in age). So here are my three Things, my sis's two kids, A's two girls and S's boy and girl - and one is missing. She has a job now and couldn't make it to our get-together.

On Labour Day weekend we trekked to a suburb of Toronto to visit Paul's family. We stayed with his cousin A and her D, and their son. The three boys had a blast playing all weekend. They couldn't get enough of each other . . . and surprisingly had very few arguments the entire time.

Here is D relaxing and enjoying fantastic barbecued ribs and a glass of wine - does it get any better than that?

A and her Dad (Paul's uncle) also enjoying some finger-lickin' good ribs and more wine.

Relaxing, chatting, enjoying the evening . . .

Aunt M with Thing 2

C holding Thing 3

Grabbing Thing 2 for a quick photo opp - you can't even tell how sick I was in this picture. I had had a bad cold and allergies for weeks . . . it kept getting worse and worse and I really felt like someone had lodged a brick in my sinus cavity. A few days after returning from Toronto I went to the doctor to find out I had a pretty severe sinus infection. I am finally feeling better, but I literally couldn't breathe for a month. I've never had a sinus infection before and thought it was a flowery exaggeration hypochondriacs used to describe "a cold".

Was I wrong.

So that's a wrap for our busy September activities . . . stay tuned in October for "Leah gets christened with her cousin P" as another big family gathering will be taking place!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Two Things go to School

I am absolutely bursting with pride today. Bursting almost seems like an understatement because it's more like, exploding, really. My two little boy Things are official school-goers! And starting school this September truly went off without a hitch.

Many of you know that Thing 1 has had a long history with pretty serious separation anxiety. Although things had been improving in that aspect for the past year, I still felt pangs of nervousness as I put my first little Thing on the school bus today.


I sure did!! My little four-year-old Pete got on the big yellow school bus today at 12:15. It whisked him away to Junior Kindergarten, where he will spend his time between 12:20 and 3:00 for the next ten months. He had a few short visits last week, but the *actual* first day of school wasn't until today. Much to my initial dismay, he was placed in the afternoon kindergarten class. I'm quickly realizing that one more year of not having to rush around in the mornings might be just what this family of Three Things needs right now. While we do have some timing issues and need to fine-tune getting Thing 3 to the bus on time (the bus stop is not at the front of our home, it is up the street and around the corner . . . far enough that I certainly need to drag Things 2 and 3 with me each jaunt), things are most definitely going well.

Here is Thing 3 last week on his first day going into school for an hour:

And here he is today waiting for the school bus:

I tried so hard to get a picture of him waving goodbye to me, but you can barely see his tiny little head!

He had no issues getting on the bus, just hopped up those gigantic black steps and slipped down the aisle and into a big, green seat. School seems to be exactly what Thing 3 needed . . . he is excited and happy and motivated and really likes his teacher.

I was worried about Pete coming home on the bus today, because I found out that he is actually at the end of the bus route on the way home. His kindergarten teacher puts him on the bus at school, but then the bus detours through another neighbourhood and several other streets before coming to our house. (Which seems totally odd because we actually live fairly close to the school.) I wondered how he would handle being on a busy bus with lots of older kids, but he did a fantastic job and seemed very happy when the bus dropped him off.

Luckily I have enough pride oozing today to extend some to Thing 2. My little wee Thing 2 - not three-years-old until next month - has started preschool and is attending the same school Thing 1 went to last year. He is in the same class AND has the same two teachers (who I adore). After an initial day of staying with him, I subsequently dropped him off last Thursday and then again this morning. As I turned to leave, he waved "bye" and went off to play on the play structure with the other kids in his class.

I was almost stunned, having gone through a much longer drop-off process last fall with Pete. I gripped my cell phone for the next two and a half hours, waiting for that call from the preschool telling me David had been crying for me, was hysterical and upset, that he was just too young to attend preschool yet.

Not the case. I picked up him up on both occasions and was greeted with smiles and happy vibes. His teachers called him "a joy to have in the classroom" and said they are enjoying his "laid back personality". He has even gone to the bathroom on his own and has not had one accident! I don't think I can find words to describe how excited, happy, and proud I am of my little guy.

Here he is on the first morning of preschool.

Way to go my two Things . . . I admire you more and more every single day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Before and After



Here's a quick peek at the results of Thing 1 and 2's hair cuts this past week. At almost age three, it was Thing 2's first real hair cut, and Thing 1's most monumental hair cut (due to the sheer volume of hair on the floor).

I apologize for not having been a diligent blogger recently. Real life has hit me hard, along with the harsh realization that I am not supermom, nor am I anything that remotely resembles her. I cannot do it all. I have had a full plate lately and have - in all honesty - been completely and utterly overwhelmed. I am trying to re-prioritize my life so I can become a better mother, wife, woman, sister, daughter, and friend. Hang in there, I promise to be back this week with updates on our trip to Toronto, our big visit with cousins R & H . . . and for good measure I just might throw in a personal glimpse at two little Things who both started school this week.

p.s. Thanks to the number of you who called/e-mailed to check to see if I still had a pulse :-)

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