Coming Up Roses

Things have been good in the last month or so.

The girls are growing.  Kitten has started going to a French Immersion school, which has been difficult for her, but I think is challenging and growing her brain in ways that English school wasn’t.  It always surprises and amazes me when I hear her reading in French.  Granted, she’s not opening up her French library book and just spouting stuff out, but she can read me what is in her agenda, and the words on her spelling lists.  So I count that as great.  We are able to have very simple conversation in French, hello, how are you, good night, etc.  I find that I am missing her and missing seeing her growth more and more when she is away.  Not something I was entirely expecting.

Birdie is not growing.  Ha ha.  She’s a tiny peanut, as ever.  But this is her first year of preschool, and we are working very much on her independence and (for me, anyway) on her language skills.  She’s quiet, doesn’t talk a lot, and doesn’t speak overly clearly.  And we all let her just get away with it a lot of the time.  So while she’s with me, I’ve tried to make a point of her doing things for herself and asking for things with full sentences and manners.  She’s as adorable as they come, though, which buys her loads of grace.  She’s ever my snuggle bug, the most affectionate kid I’ve known.  She easily tells me she loves me and that she misses me, which warms a mama’s heart like nothing else.  She’s not as advance in art or other scholarly things as her sister was at this age, but she is inquisitive and adventurous.  While Kitten would have run screaming, Birdie will squat down and study insects she finds.  It is amazing to see her little mind work.  Kitten would be happy to sit and draw all day (always has been), whereas Birdie must change activities often, switching between stationary (reading, colouring) to something more active (running, climbing things).  If anything, Birdie is turning into a bit of a tomboy… which is fine in my books.  Currently, her favourite outfit is a pair of jeggings and her “race shirt”, which has a picture of an open wheel car on it (think Formula 1).  A few nights ago she told me that she wants a race car when she grows up.  She’s going to grow and grow and grow and grow until she is big enough and then she will drive one!

As for me… my world is ever changing.  I have an interview with the provincial government for an administrative supervisor job.  Basically, I’d be supervising a team of administrators.  It sounds terrifying.  Ha ha.  I would be able to do it, but the learning curve would be steep.  However, the pay is worth it.  Definitely can’t complain about that.  I would be increasing my salary by over half as much as I’m making now.  Kind of awesome.  I do worry about how much I’ll end up with after taxes vs. how much I am making now with the support payments and all that noise.  But realistically… it’s better to be self-sufficient anyway.  I am also exploring the option of getting into the data and communication trade.  So I would be hired on to a company as an apprentice and would end up running wire, finishing wire ends, etc.  The first couple of years are pretty menial tasks… but eventually I would be able to get into doing things like programming fire alarms in large buildings and other cool stuff.  I’m not like WHOO!!!  I love data lines!!!! or anything like that, but it would be a steady job that I can get better at, and that will change with every contract the company takes on.  Plus, it’s a good way to get an education without really having to take much time off.  In 4 years of working (vs. going to school), I’ll walk away with a journeyman’s ticket and very little school debt… if any at all.  And with it being a trade… I could very well end up running my own company or branching into other things.  And I love that it’s not a desk job.  That’s really the only thing that bothers me about taking the govt job if it’s offered… sitting at a desk.  Yuck.

I have been taking an Understanding Medical Terminology class through Mount Royal University.  It is challenging me in ways I didn’t expect.  I was really stressed out this week about finishing the course, but I am on the 4th kilometre of the 5 km race this course is 😉 I am not sure whether I am going to sign up for part 2 or not.  I haven decided if I want to see the whole thing through and get my certificate or not.  I originally started it just to open up my options when it came to jobs available to me… but I feel like I’m maybe going in a completely opposite direction.  Not a bad thing… but I don’t want to waste money that I don’t need to waste, either.

As for the not-work portion of my life… I’ve been busy.  Currently, I am working with a team of 3 others (well… 5 others?  Maybe?) to build a Vega/Astre/Monza hybrid vehicle to race in the Chump Car championships at Laguna Seca in December.  It’s all very exciting, and very boring at the same time.  But it allows me to go on adventures, like helping load a car with only a front axel onto a trailer while it’s rear end is suspended from a tractor with it’s bucket way in the air.  Plus, I actually know a few things about cars now.  Only a few.

This is all courtesy of this dude that I’ve been seeing for a little while now.  He’s nice.  He is a mechanic but is currently managing a garage for someone else (and not really doing much under the cars these days).  Has a couple of kids older than mine, loves cars and beer, and all living things.  We seem to get along pretty well, and he’s very supportive of my mama-hood, always encouraging me to spend lots of time with my girls and to mommy-up.  It’s nice.  I was worried that it would be hard to find someone who really understands how much kids need from you, and I think he gets it.  My girls like visiting his house, with the giant dog, the race car, and the huge fish tank.  Only Birdie likes the snake… Kitten is not really a fan.  I adore his children, which makes being around them easier.

I haven’t been running all that much.  I did do the Climb of Hope run again this year, and place well within the first 1/4 of runners.  So I was relatively chuffed with the result… especially since I hadn’t really been training at all.  I had signed up to do the Color Me RAD run, but ended up being in Spokane with the Chump Car 36 hour endurance race.  It was an amazing amount of fun and I am really glad that I made the decision to go.  I am taking a dance class… Pole dancing.  Don’t laugh – it’s really fun and it’s a crazy upper body work out.  Although my legs are often sore after class as well.  I like to joke around that if all my other job options don’t pan out, I could always resort to stripping!  Ha ha.  Never going to happen.  At any rate, who would want to watch that?  No one.  That’s who.

I haven’t done too much to my apartment in the past couple of months.  I started to paint my bedroom… but ran out of steam.  Ha ha.  Maybe next week that the girls are here, I will do some painting in there.  After my course is done.  Then I won’t have to worry about that any more.

So that’s how things are with me, these days.  I’m happy.  Feeling pretty settled.  Would like to change a few things, but I have a plan and it’s being put into action.  About the only thing lacking is that I’d like to drop the stress weight that I’ve gained… but I’m not sure when I’ll do that.  Not ready to tighten down the diet and increase the activity, yet.  Hope things are well with all the blog people out there in blog land.

Advertisements

Scrapbook Sunday 01-08-12

Scrapbook Sunday!!! Who is excited? Only me? Ahem.

So, I’ve been back at the scrapbooking since we’ve had our computer back up. I’ve done a zillion pages (or so) in the past week, and I’m excited to show them to you!

This one is Halloween 2009. Kitten dressed up as a witch (although I think she told people she was a fairy. I can’t remember). This graphics package called to me – it’s just too cute with the little bats and such. I picked this one up at Designer Digitals.

2009 Scrapbook - Halloween Pg 1

2009 Scrapbook - Halloween Pg 2

So that’s it.  🙂  Maybe next week I’ll post a scrapbook page with Birdie.  Or maybe not.  😉

You guys. I am alive.

Well, we’re “done” the reno (as in, the construction stuff is mostly done, barring a few touch ups, but we are still in unpacking and decorating mode). But I’m not ready to do all my before and after shots until the decorating is done. So, patience, grasshopper.

I completely went off of the Paleo Diet thing during the last month or so of the reno. It was difficult and uninspiring to not have a kitchen and have to chose from a very limited selection of items while eating out. I ended up gaining some weight back (I think 7 pounds?), but it came off really easily during the month of November (another Whole 30). Rob joined me on the Whole 30 this time, and he lost a few pounds… not that he was even remotely near fat or even had that much to loose. However, his eczema has completely disappeared, and it seems (to me) like he has more energy/drive… but maybe that’s because the computer has been in storage until the last week 😉 Christmas didn’t derail us too much, although I did play a little food bingo, where there were certain things I really wanted to eat during the holidays that I only get to eat once a year, or even every other year.

I’ve been making an effort to move more these days, and that’s kind of my plan for this year. I feel like I have the eating thing down (I would say that I’m paleo 90% of the time, allowing for treats on ocassion), and now it’s time to start moving. So I’ve been doing some strength conditioning at home (body weight exercises), and I’ve started doing yoga at home again, as well (did you know that some people have put 1 hour long yoga routines on youtube? Amazing – now I don’t have to go take a class). I did buy a 20 punch pass card for a local Crossfit gym… but have been to afraid to go. I should just get going and receive my beating. Ha ha. I feel like I wanted to get a little bit stronger before I go. Which is stupid, as the POINT of going is to get strong THERE. But yeah.

The kids are both good. Kitten has been a busy girl, and is very into Pokemon and Disney Fairies right now. Birdie is the same as always, except she now has 4 teeth, and is willing to play in the basement (finished, all the toys are down there) for long stretches of time by herself. She has moved out of the crib in the closet, and is now sleeping on a double mattress on the floor of her new room. She was in a sleep sack for a little while, but she seems to prefer to sleep under a big blanket now. Silly girl.

Rob is doing well at work, and has aquired a bunch of new skills at home. He did all the dapping and the lions share of baseboard painting in our house. He also learned how to install laminate floor, paint an entire house in a weekend, and just generally be bonkers. It has been a fun ride, although I’m not terribly sure that I would want to live in our home during construction of that magnitude again. The major plus was that we noticed a lot of things that needed to be fixed as we went along, instead of having to make the contractors go back and fix it.

Well, it sounds like the girls are done their breakfast. I should attend them. Watch this space for new before & after pictures, for both the house and myself, as well as some new scrapbook pages (and hopefully pictures of the kids as well as of some knitting!)

The Soother Fairy

Kitten was a very sucky baby. She loved her soothers, right from the beginning. We were always comfortable with having her take a soother – it gave us a break and we knew that you could confiscate a soother, but not a thumb (well, at least not easily). So we let her have her soother.

Eventually, we limited her soother time to at night and during her naps only. She was allowed this comfort for some time. I found it pretty hard to deny her, whether it was a form of laziness (in not wanting to break her habit) or feeling like it was the wrong time (“she’s potty training!” “there’s a new baby!” or another form of change) or what… I’m not sure. I felt as though it didn’t matter – she wasn’t going to take it to college with her… or grade 1, for that matter, but yeah. I was very lenient on it.

However, in October I was starting to get annoyed with the soother. Annoyed with cleaning it. Annoyed with her losing it in the night and calling us for it. Annoyed that people were (assumably) judging us for allowing our 3 and a half year old to have it. So I declaired “The Soother Fairy is coming!”

We talked about it for a few days. The Soother Fairy is coming! She comes and takes soothers and leaves a present! We get to decorate the tree in front of our house! It’s going to be AWESOME! Some times Kitten would be very excited about it… and others, she would be pensive or uninterested. Eventually, she agreed that I should call the Soother Fairy and that she should come and take Kitten’s soothers. So I did (thanks, Mom).

The evening of the Soother Fairy’s visit, Kitten was VERY excited. I had to work, but as soon as I got home, Kitten was all up in my grill to get the tree decorated. I pulled out our old Christmas decorations that we don’t use any more. We hung up some blue ornaments, strung up some blue garland, and then hung her two soothers on some blue ribbon from the tree. I took lots of pictures, and Kitten posed like such a ham. Watch out, Canada’s Next Top Model! My daughter is fierce! Heh.

The Soother Fairy Tree

After all the decorating, and picture taking, Kitten went inside to bed. It was a little hard for her. Boy howdy, did she try to bargain! She just wanted one little soother! Couldn’t we go outside and get one? Just one? And then it was “The Soother Fairy will bring me a new soother!” ::sigh:: But we made it with fairly little fuss. I think it helped that she was a little tired from staying up a little bit late. I was just grateful that she didn’t wig out in the middle of the night – she slept right through.

In the morning, I snuck downstairs before she got up to cut off the soothers and put out her present. I also wrote her a little note from the Soother Fairy, thanking her for leaving the soothers out for the new babies. I also put in how the soother fairy remembers how she brought Kitten her first soothers, and all that. Kitten was SO EXCITED to go out and get her present! I wasn’t sure if she was expecting a new soother or not, but she seemed happy with the present and the note.

Post Soother Fairy Visit

We got her a Barbie with a walking horse. What a waste! Ha ha ha. Seriously. Kitten won’t let us turn on the horse, I think it freaks her out. But she does love the Barbie and the horse, I just wish we could have bought her one that wasn’t so “fancy” (and thus $$$).

Unwrapping

I think she played with it exclusively for a solid week. These days, it still gets some play but not to that extent. I’m glad she likes it, and frankly, I’m always happy to foster her love of the equine. It’s kind of funny, she didn’t even touch the Barbie for the first day, I think.

The Spoils of War

PS – If you were a purple Barbie riding boot, where would you be hiding?

Getting Out

Over the past month?  Two months?  I have been feeling a lot of Crazy.  Some of it is situational, some of it is likely biological (don’t worry about this – it’s being looked into and will subsequently taken care of as necessary), but it’s a lot of Crazy.  And I’m not the only person who’s had to deal with it, and I fully realize that it sucks for everyone who’s been exposed (don’t worry – Crazy isn’t contagious!).  So I’ve been trying to do something about it. 

Mostly, I’ve been trying to get out of the house.  Sometimes with the kids, but preferably WITHOUT them.  Both of them.  It’s been fairly easy in the summer – I could run errands or go to Knit Night with very little issue.  But it didn’t really seem like enough.  Knit Nights seemed to get shorter and shorter, and I started to feel like Rob expected me home ASAP, that I couldn’t take my time (whether it was at the mall or out with girl friends).  It’s an awful feeling – wondering if you’re going to get home to a screaming baby and a twitchy husband.  And the guilt!  There is something soul-crushing about feeling as though you can’t go out to get your hair cut, or if you take an extra 10 minutes at Walmart, someone will be upset about it when you get home.  That feeling of having to carry it all is enough to tweak a person out after a while. 

So I did something.  I did something that I’m not sure I would have done before having Birdie.  I signed up for horseback riding lessons.  I’m afraid of horses.  Well, I like them – I think they’re pretty and amazing and really wonderful.  For other people.  Where they can’t crush me or throw me clear across the stable, and break every last bone in my body.  I really WANT to enjoy riding horses, but if I’m going to be honest… I cry when I sit on a horse.  I’m not sure why this happens.  I think it’s my control-freak nature.  I can’t force a horse to do what I want it to.  I can hope that it’s training will bear fruit when I ride it, but honestly – if the thing decides to bolt when I’m on it, or wants to buck me off… there’s not a darn thing I can do about it.  They’re big.  And strong.  And have I mentioned big? 

This all came about because Kitten *loves* to ride around on Rob’s back.  She also loves My Little Pony, so we decided to sign her up for riding lessons.  She was really excited about it, from the first time she heard about it.  She would wander around talking about her pony riding lessons, and how she was going to ride a pink one!  With sparkly hair!  She talked about it ALMOST as much as she talks about Highland Dancing*.  So the day of her first lesson came and I pretty much had to drag her to the car kicking and screaming.  She was in a foul mood and declared that she didn’t want to go and that she was too scared.  She didn’t talk to me the whole way there (half an hour), until we rounded the corner to get to the stable and she says “Do you think they’ll have a unicorn that you can ride, Mommy?”  I told her she could ask her teacher.  And then silence for the next couple of minutes until she got out and saw all the horses in their pens, and it was game over.  She was so happy and completely in love.  She enjoyed brushing the pony, petting it and watching it walk to the arena.  And wouldn’t you know that she immediately became my child the moment she was up on the pony’s back?  Tears.  Large ones.  Near hysterics.  We managed to keep her on the pony (much as my dad was able to do for me when I was younger), and by the end of the lesson, I didn’t have to hold on her any more, she held on to the saddle.  And after?  You’d think she just did the most amazing thing.  She talks about pony riding lessons a lot.  Probably more than Highland Dancing, now!  This last lesson, I didn’t hold on to her at all.  She held on to the saddle the whole time, and eventually, we convinced her to tuck the reigns between her hands and the saddle.  I have no idea if she will be able to let go of the saddle any time soon.  Frankly, if she will sit up straight and hold the reigns by the end of the 8 weeks, I will be a very proud Mommy. 

*We some a Highland Dancing troupe at the Canada Day Parade.  Since then, she’s talked non-stop of taking lessons, and having Highland Dancing Friends (seriously, she talks about them like they already exist) and will practice and perform at any chance.  The only reason we didn’t enroll her in lessons this fall is that you have to be 4 to participate, and she just doesn’t quite make the cut.  But next fall?  We’re all over that, as long as she still has the interest.  But you never know, she could chose the pony thing again, instead.

During Kitten’s first lesson, my insecurity around horses (even ponies, apparently) really came out.  I tried my best to act like they didn’t bug me – that I wasn’t afraid, but I’m not sure that I was fooling anyone.  Even more interesting was how much I liked being at the stable.  I was surprised at how homey it felt.  When I got home that evening, I was talking about our day with Rob and expressed that I wished that I could take lessons, maybe in part to help myself feel more confident during Kitten’s lessons, but also just to get over my own fears.  I was pretty shocked when Rob said that I should do it, even after he heard the price.  I really expected him to say that it was too expensive and that it was silly.  But yeah.  So I called the stable and lo, they had one remaining spot open – Monday nights.  I was a tiny bit bummed because that’s knitting night, but I was more excited to finally do something really challenging.  Something that I knew would stretch me and force me to grow a little.  And I knew that even if he was tired of Birdie fussing at him?  He couldn’t ask me to come home early.  Selfish?  Yes.  Necessary?  Sometimes!

I’ve had two lessons now, and I really enjoyed both of them for different reasons.  The first lesson is off-horse.  So we got to meet a couple of horses, do some grooming and learn how to put on their tack (saddle, pads, etc.).  We even got to pick the rocks out of their hoofs and shovel poop**.  The horse I got to work on was a beautiful, huge, fidgity beast of a thing.  He belongs to the stable owner and she hadn’t been able to ride him in a while, so he was pretty much ready to run at all times.  Even while getting groomed…so there was a lot of weight-shifting and shaking of his head.  Almost as though he was saying “Ok, get on with it already!  I need to move!”  Poor fellow – he went straight back to the pen that night, and he was angry about it.  He bolted as soon as his harness came off.  I felt as though he didn’t like me, but I think it was more that he could feel my tension.  I think I made him nervous, which only made me more nervous… Yeah.  For some reason, I just really found being around the horses soothing (when not being nervous, that is).  I came home tired (grooming is a workout for the arms, let me tell you!), but happy.  I was able to take a crying Birdie and not feel all jagged edges around her.  It was nice. 

** Truthfully, I’d way rather deal with horse poop than toddler poop.  Infant poop (when breastfed) is pretty manageable… but horse poop is so easy.  It doesn’t smell too bad, and you use a shovel and scoop it up out of the way.  It’s almost impossible to get it on your hands, and the worst thing about it is that it’s kind of heavy.  And depending on the horse, there may be a lot of it. 

The second lesson was an on-horse lesson.  So I got to the stable and checked the board only to read that I had the gigantic beast horse from the lesson before.  I quaked a little bit.  The Teaching Assistant was just going out to catch some horses, so I asked if could go with her.  I watched while she caught Blue, and then she handed her to me to walk in to the stable.  I liked Blue from the start.  While her blue eyes (!!!) are unnerving, as it looks like she’s rolling her eyes around in her head all the time, she’s a very stable horse, not too tall, but not small for me either.  She’s not the dominant horse, by any means, and you can tell that she’s a natural follower.  She was very interested in who I was and what I was doing while grooming and tacking her (which was weird for me – I am so afraid that a horse is going to bite me… I don’t know where this fear comes from… but it’s a strong one).  She was good to ride, though.  When I first got on her, I was very anxious, but she just stood there until I told her to go.  And once she was walking, I feel far less nervous. 

It was so great to learn all the things that we did.  I’m not going to recite them all for you here, as I’m sure that would bore the heck out of you, but a few things really did help me.  By the end of the lesson, I felt like I kind of connected with her, like she respected me.  It was really nice.  I didn’t do everything perfectly, so I have stuff to work on.  I’m not very good at turning right (the knees and hands thing kind of confuse me for some unknown reason), and I still need to learn how to get the bridle on, but I feel like not crying was a feat in and of itself.  I came home with a sore behind, and a very satisfied self.  I got 3 solid hours of time where I didn’t worry about anyone else, didn’t have to check my phone, didn’t have to focus on anything but the moment I was in.  I got to spend a good hour telling something to do something and it actually obeyed me.  I didn’t have to fight with anyone to get anything done (I’m obviously finding 3 year olds difficult right now).  It was just so nice.  I can see why some people really fall in love w horses. 

There’s been a lot of equine talk around here lately.  Rob thinks I’m nuts, but has been really supportive.  Kitten and I have been watching horse jumping videos (which usually are followed by her teaching all her ponies and other horse-type toys how to jump), looking up stuff online, and eagerly looking forward to the next lesson (both Kitten and I… and Kitten gets pretty peeved with me when I leave on Monday nights and don’t take her with me, as she knows I’m going to the stable).  It’s been a balm to some of the Crazy.  It’s no cure, but it smooths out some of the sharp bits from the previous week, and I find myself able to smile a little bit more.