Boo Urns on The Sick

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For weeks on end this house has been mired in THE SICK.

This cold has left hubby and I coughing like a 3-pack a day bingo player and sniffing and snorting like a club girl on a Saturday night. Now this isn’t the kind of sick that elicits pity, concern or get well cards. I can’t martyr or complain…it’s not cancer nor ebola. It is a winter cold.

It’s the kind of sick that leaves people taking a step or two back from you at work. I have even taken a couple of sick days and I just go back to work feeling the same way. I’ve sat in my office just wanting to go home and sleep and be well. I don’t want to be the person who has to take time off for a miserable cold, but that leaves me to be the person everyone fears will lick their keyboards out of spite.

And now 2+ weeks on, I feel it slowly creeping into my ears–which feels extra awesome as I deal with the regular coughing fits. But I am a grown-up and I can cope, so can hubby. It’s our littles who have had to deal with their mini versions of the sick that I feel bad for.

Our smallest had the sick the same time she was teething molars AND hitting some developmental milestones. So our sweet girl, who has slept through the night since she was 4 months old, struggled with sleep for days (and nights) and I couldn’t do much more than snuggle and make sure the humidifier was topped up. We all wanted to make her better; despite the number of times her big sister (by only 8 months) brought her her Hello Kitty or patted her on the back or generally tried to make her little sister feel better, our baby was just miserable for a very long week.

Our son also showed a level of compassion that melted my heart. On one of my sick days he said to my hubby, “Dad- Mom is sick and she needs lots of rest. And healthy food. Oh, and make sure she gets hugs!” Love that kid.

So while I throw a self-pity party about having the world’s longest lasting snot-fest, I rejoice in discovering a level of compassion in these small people who live with hubby and I. I am not sure where they picked up those beautiful bits of kindness (I hope from me, though not likely), I hope those nice seeds continue to bloom as they grow. No one wants to be the parent who raises a bunch of assholes….say YAY for compassion (and BOO URNS on the sick).

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When your FB page doesn’t die when you do…

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Today would have been my mother’s birthday. She would have been 61 today.

It’s funny because when she was alive, I could never remember if her birthday was on the 23rd or 24th. There were many years that she got her birthday wishes and gifts a day early. But now due to the miracle that is Facebook, or more specifically – the FB page that doesn’t die when you do, I got a reminder this morning- “today is Roni’s birthday.” Um, no.

Now call me strange, but I don’t love that her page is still active all these years later. I know many people within the circle of family and friends do and post there often. Me? No thanks. I wish that the dead find solace in the quiet long slumber, not as a recipient of many memorial posts long after they have done their final log out.

Out of curiosity I popped onto her page today, and it’s the usual folks who appreciate engaging with her memory this way. Whatever floats your boat, truly. But you know at least one guy on there is so conditioned to the FB Happy Birthday post, he probably doesn’t know she has been dead for 3+ years; his Pavlovian response is just so ingrained, he just had to do it because FB told him to.

Now this could all go away so easily, I know. Unfriend. Unfollow. But I feel like it’s an extra bit morbid and just plain weird to unfriend your dearly departed mother. I think there could be a next-level kind of haunting or revenge that would come my way if I tried.

So until next year, Happy Birthday Mom.

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Moderation is not my friend: Why sugar is my devil.

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Moderation is not my friend. I am an all or nothing kind of lady. Especially when it comes to sugary deliciousness.

But I want to live long enough to be able to force feed my grandchildren Pixie Stix before sending them home to their parents on a Sunday night. That means I need to be healthy and live long enough to get there. Only my body and the way I have lived stands in the way.

Am I going to be a bikini model? Probably not. Can I get myself down to a healthy and happy size, you betcha. Am I there now? Nope. But I’m working on it.

My hubby, myself and many of those close to us are doing some form of nutritional ketosis. Through drastically reducing our carb intake, our bodies now burn body fat for fuel instead of glucose. On the up side? Lots of steak. The down side? Bye bye carbs.

Maybe you are thinking, “I could give up bread, no problem.” And while I applaud your mighty armchair resolve, it is so much more than just giving up bread, it can be hard. Not until we started on this way of eating did I fully come to realize how much our society worships at the alter of the mighty carb. Carbs are in everything it seems. It the the base of that food pyramid that we all learn about in elementary school. But I have come to learn that so many bodies just can’t handle all those carbs, and my body is definitely one of those.

Eating this way has been really good for my body, it’s happy and thriving. There are so many delicious options, so many ways to fill our plates with proteins and healthy fats. My blood sugar is steady, my hormones are steady, my cravings have disappeared. These are all good things, but the devil always lurks on the dark. It is hard work and I have to be conscious of what and how I eat everyday and the changes to my body are slow, but steady.

My hubby, who used to scoff at the very idea of giving up carbs, has jumped on the keto bandwagon and dropped 25lbs in 2 months. Jerk. But he is a sexy jerk, so he gets a pass. I, doing the EXACT same way of eating, did NOT drop 25lbs in that same 2 months. Try more like 7lbs, on a good day, weighed naked and of course before breakfast and after a good pee.

My best friend and her hubby are also eating keto, and she is like me- if we decide to have an unsanctioned sugar treat, we are screwed. It’s not like we can have a Halloween candy or two and be right back on program. No, no, with us and our addiction-prone personalities, it’s more like one Halloween candy leads to three cookies, leads to “fuck it, chocolate cake you are mine.” And before you know it, you are filled with carbs, hating yourself and ready to take a two week spiral into carb-ville. And that would be OK if our bodies tolerated carbs, but she and I both have ridiculous hormone and metabolic issues that have caused all sorts of havoc, stress and pain in our lives, and carbs only makes it harder.

My sweet friend was at the store the other night, and surrendered to the sweet siren song of Snickers. On the drive home from the store, she popped one into her mouth, but with a moment of great resolve and clarity, realizing this would be her undoing, she spat that chocolate out, followed immediately by the entire bag of chocolate bites she just purchased….out the window of the car as she drove down the highway. Like a bra-less banchee driving down the highway screeching with liberation, she tossed the devil out the window and held it together.

A she described this, I laughed so hard and nearly choked to death on the water I was drinking, but I also admired her for her resolve. She nor I are at a point in our weight loss journey to be able to “enjoy sugar in moderation.” One day, but not now. So I take strength on her resolve.

Until the time I can manage that balance , I will seek out the delicious low carb treats, like these best cookies I have ever made, or a next best thing pecan pie. I know myself and know that the one sweet lapse will lead to the entire box of Oreos to the self loathing and self pity that prevents me from being the self I want to be.

Instead, I want to model to my children a positive body image, joy in food, and at the same time, consideration in the food you eat. It’s not perfect; it’s a work in process. I guess like me, I am a work in process. But this work of art that is my body cannot yet do sugar in moderation. Until then, like a growing number of people in my life, I keto on.

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Envelope Love

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Admire all the effort our 6 year old put into this envelope decoration.

Notice the depiction of hubby and I’s wedding. And the wedding cake, lemon and raspberry of course, in which hubby and I also stand atop.

If all envelopes (and let’s be real, they are all bills) I received were this cheery and personalized, I’d feel a bit more chipper as I paid said bills.

Our son’s envelope also included a little love note. Take a lesson Rogers, Fortis and Hydro!

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Things That Make You Happy, For 500, Alex.

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Now that I am back to work full-time, the time I get to spend with the kids has an increased value to me. My hubby, who is now the stay-at-home extraordinaire, does an amazing job of making sure dinner is ready to go and that the 5:30-7:30 window each night allows us to focus on the family meal and being with the kids.

Each evening after dinner the 5 of us get to hang out in the living room or family room, play games and generally just have a good chunk of time where all that matters in that moment is us.

Tonight, when the littlest wasn’t falling off the fireplace hearth directly onto her face, or the middle wasn’t wandering off to pull goodies out of the bottom freezer, we were playing a couple variations of 20 questions with our oldest.

Our son had hubby and I stumped. We had narrowed it down to a part of the body and it started with “B”. Back? Bones? Brows? Brown hair? Bulging muscles? Nope.

“BOOGERS!” Exclaimed with the pure joy and pride only known to a six year old boy.

And I laughed; hubby laughed. We really laughed. In that moment, that small blip in the rest of the day, all was right in the world. I had my people; my tribe was happy. I thought about how many things our son has had to cope with and overcome and in that moment, he was so happy; things were simply normal.

It has taken a while to just reach normal. Normal feels good. And the boogers- they felt great.
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Awkward Questions

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November is Adoption Awareness month and in our family where two of our three kids are adopted, I have a plethora of stories to tell about our adoption journey. Some of our stories will break your heart and some will make you pee yourself laughing so hard. Today, no bodily fluids will need to be spilled.

My girls, both under 2, are only 8 months apart and very close in size. When our middle daughter first arrived, I had a quick lesson in the unabashed nosiness of strangers every time we went out in public (and since we are normal people, that was fairly often).

Now, I have birthed a child, and have experienced the stranger line-crossing that comes with growing another human. With the arrival of our second daughter, when our baby was only 6 months old, I was not ready for the questioning that came with it.

The lines of questioning would often cross the line to intrusive, the equivalent of having a stranger lift your shirt and put their finger in your belly button and continue talking with you you as if nothing weird was going on.

Let me set the scene of awkwardness:

–> They’re so cute. Are they twins?
–> No? What’s they age difference?
–> 8 months? How’s that possible?
–> Adoption? Oh. Which one’s not yours?
–> Oh, I mean I know they are technically yours. Where did you adopt her from?
–> Mmmm, foster care. You are so nice. Why’d she have to go there?
–> Yes, yes, I know it’s personal, but really, what happened? What did her real parents do?
–> Ok, sorry, I know it’s personal. Good thing you got her. Imagine if those parents had other kids?
–> Oh, her brother lives with you too?

End scene.

It often never got that far as I would have usually found a way to run away, but on many occasions that was the rabbit hole that me and this stranger were travelling down together, despite the kicking of kneecaps I was doing in my mind to make it stop.

So after the previous conversations unfolded a couple of times, I switched tactics; honesty is not always the best policy and I have started flat out lying. Here’s how the conversations go now:

–> They’re so cute. Are they twins?
–> No? What’s they age difference?
–> 9 months? Oh.

Then I get to watch as they mentally judge me and my assumed lack of knowledge of both birth control and how babies are made.

I’ll happily take the silent judgement over the alternative.

It’s not that we won’t share our family’s story, but there is a time and a place, people! I’ve just learned that adults, like kids, can be curious and questions can come out of mouths before the Appropriate Filter can be applied.

In the grand scheme of things though, dealing with this is only a small sacrifice to have this crazy family we have built.
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What I Learned on Mat Leave

Alternate Title: You Won’t Believe What This Woman Learned! #7 Will Shock You!

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Three weeks ago I put on my heels and makeup and headed back to work after being home with my 2 baby daughters (8 months apart) and 6 year old son. Luckily Hubby was able to get a long leave from work to allow for this life transition. This meant trading roles with my husband, letting my inner (and outer) control freak let go and trusting that everyone and everything would truck along just fine.

My first child came to us when he was 3, so I had done the pre-school phase prior to the newborn phase. When 6 months after we had our baby girl, we decided life was too boring, so we adopted another baby girl. That is the simplistic version of what went down, but needless to say we learned so much in the year I was on mat leave!

Life transitions are a great time to reflect, and I did just that. I talked about some learnings and thoughts in a previous FB post and now with some time, I’m ready to throw down a little more wisdom- things I learned about life with babies.

1. You can watch almost the entire Netflix catalogue in one year.
2. Your dependance on info from Babycenter to validate EVERY SINGLE THING your baby does or does not do will become stronger than your growing dependance on coffee.
3. Your attempts at efficiency will be laughed at by whatever higher power you look to. For example, taking a 6 month old baby and a 5 year old afraid of needles to get their immunizations at the same time is efficient, it is also a very bad idea and not a fun way to spend an afternoon.
4. Dressing a baby while you are running behind for an appointment will become more difficult than stuffing an octopus into a ziplock bag.
5. Play dates with your 3 kids sound like a great idea until the time you need to get all 3 kids plus yourself dressed, fed and out the door.
6. Daytime television will make your brain bleed a little.
7. Yo Gabba Gabba can positively change your life.
8. Seeing those uber productive moms with their well dressed kids on Facebook excelling at everything may make up want to punch someone in the throat, despite your best efforts to make it on their team.
9. This desire to put your child down and make a run for the border is completely natural.
10. Beware the Christmas traditions you think you now have time for. Elf on a Shelf? Run away, don’t do it. Are you ready to make a unique elfin tableau every single night for a month for the next 10 years?
11. You know those plastic electrical outlet covers that are part of Baby-proofing 101? Some children look at them as a challenge, a challenged best roomed from the outlet by wet, drooly mouths. Just a heads up.
12. You will spend an inordinate amount of money on your child’s 1st birthday, despite your attempts to not buy into Pinterest-fuelled hype. Start putting away money early and be ready to wallow in your own shame, because that birthday is going to be THE. BEST. EVER.
13. You need to find someone above the age of 18 to spend time with or talk to during the day. I was lucky enough to be on leave the same time as my best friend; she talked me off the ledge a number of times. Plan conception timelines with your best friend, but if you can’t, find another grown up to connect with.
14. Learn to trust yourself. As they say, “Playas gonna hate.” Somehow mom’s and their parenting choices are fair game for hatin’. Do what works for you, screw them.
15. You will marvel at the myriad of uses for baby wipes and think to yourself that people without kids are really missing out by not having baby wipes in their life.
16. Have fun, the time goes faster than you think it will (and yes EVERYONE will tell you this).

Share this with the pregnant ladies in your life!
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