A Tribute to 60 Years

grandpas_do_that    He was always experimenting with different hobbies and finding ways to make money off those hobbies.  As a kid, I got to raise ducks and chickens, fish for trout in our dugout, eat raw honey from the bee hives and win ribbons from showing sheep in 4-H. Sometimes parents do uncool things trying to be cool  and sometimes they just do cool things.  For my 4th grade science project I had my six foot four inch father show up in full bee gear. It was the proudest day of my elementary life when my towering father walked in to a classroom in his head-to-toe white suit, face masked by the net hanging from a straw hat and yellow gloves up to the elbows.  All the kids were in awe of his size and excited for the honey he brought with him. His curiosity kept my childhood very interesting.


We end up learning a lot from our parents. Whether we like it or not, after sharing the same space together for so long we inevitably pick up a habit or two.  Maybe we adopt an affection for clean spaces or a curiosity about how things work.  Maybe it’s an interest in books or a stubborn resolve.  I picked up a few traits from my dad – some that I have had to work to channel and some that have done me very well in my life.

My dad had to be creative since our farm was twenty minutes from the nearest convenience store and he couldn’t just walk down the street if he needed a special screw and some PVC piping. Mixed with the creativity, my dad is also a stubborn do-it-yourselfer. But for as irritating as it can be to deal with someone who is stubborn – stubbornness is a quality that can really pay off. Most of my childhood was spent watching him fix or build something and I picked up on a few secrets along the way. For example, I learned over three hundred ways that duct tape and baler twine can be used to fix or build something, how to change the brakes in my car and how to start my car by shoving a screwdriver in the carburetor.

On top of that, I learned how to drive a tractor and fix a sink.  I now know that every appliance comes a part and most of them can even go back together. Everything that is old will eventually reincarnate as a replacement part for something new so you should never, ever throw anything away. And in case it’s useful information for you to know, you can build a barn entirely out of a re-purposed house but do remember to use a nail puller instead of the back end of a hammer. Oh and before offering to help haul bales, know that bales can be made heavy or light and a seventy pound bale is too heavy for a one hundred and ten pound girl.

394454_10151771359271992_1047845719_n      So I got real-world training from being around my dad. Some of those skills I don’t need anymore but I’m still proud to know, and some skills have helped me pursue big dreams in my life. From watching his stubborn resolve, I know that if you just decide to do it, it will be done.  It might get messy, it might not end up the way you want it to after the first attempt but unless you quit, you will eventually fix it, build it or solve it.  Oh, and if it doesn’t go together nicely – kick it and swear at it, mutter at it under your breath and then bang it with a screw driver and try again.  It almost always works.  What could you do/build/change if you just were too damned stubborn to let anything stop you?

Because of my dad I can install a trailer assembly, fix my dishwasher and my fridge, install a trailer hitch on a van, and build a garbage bin big enough to park a car inside. After watching what he’s managed to put together, I am pretty confident that I can learn, build or fix anything that I put time in to.  I know that you can play almost any song on guitar if you can play a C, G, and F chord and as long as you are singing loud and having fun everyone around you will think you are amazing and can’t help but sing along.

Admittedly, there were phases of my growing up that I forgot that my dad did at least kind of understand me. …

My dad never stopped being there for me even when I wasn’t noticing it.

Don’t think they don’t notice you.  They might not entirely understand you, might not know how to show you, but they are noticing you. And whether you know it or not, you get to absorb the best of them.


Life Lesson #10: By all Means Paint

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint’ than by all means paint and that voice will be silenced”

Vincent van Gogh

Thank you for being around for the first 32 years of my life.  I know I’ll be learning from you for at least the next 32.

Happy 60th Birthday Dad.

All Alone on the Farm

So my family left me for a little mini holiday while our sitter was away.  Everyone. Left.  The husband, the children, even the dogs.  So here I am on 80 acres, just me and the cats.  Yep – I’m that lady.  I had to laugh at myself as I loaded the kitten in to my car and drove in to town with her.  That’s right – I brought the cat to get the mail with me.  What’s wrong with that?  Yeah. I know.

It’s a double edge sword, this being alone.  I feel anxious with all the things that I could do with this time when I’ll have no interruptions, no distractions.  So many things – I’ve got to use this time well, I need to make sure I don’t waste it away – so anxious, I need to make sure I spend this time relaxing… I feel so anxious about needing to relax.   But in reality, I do get distracted.  I get interrupted by the lack of the interruptions.  Isn’t that something?  You can’t win I suppose.

I’ve definitely got more time to think that I need.  LOL.  I’ve signed up for a webinar, I’ve downloaded some free courses from Yale.  I’ve spent time watching inspiring videos on YouTube.  Did some quadding, lost some arrows in my target practice.  The pivotal moment was probable sitting on my deck, wrapped in my Snuggi with a purring kitten on my lap, glass of wine in one hand and Shades of Grey in the other.  I watched the sun come down.  I’ll play some guitar tonight and get packed to join my family.

I think everyone should take an evening and hear the quiet, curl up with a cat and a book, eat nothing but balogna sandwiches for 3 days…  but maybe get back to your family before you go for a drive with your kitten.  :)

Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.  Or perhaps I just really, really want to see my husband due to a little Shades of crazy Influence.

What am I capable of?

I watched 127 hours the other night.  What an inspiring movie.  It made me think – Could I Do that?  The reflexive response is no way, no way could I do it.  Yet there is a part of me that wonders.  The human potential is infinite. Who knows.  Watch it and you decide.

Brushing up the Skills

After months of technical difficulty my blog is finally back up…. so much to say – I’m looking forward to catching up. If there was a happier, I could possible levitate.   Can’t wait to share on the new adventures.  Welcome back – sorry for the absence.

Just a Boring old Trip to the Regina Office

 Back at work for a few days, I thought it would be a great idea to spend some time in our Regina office to get myself immersed back in the culture and the products.  What a fantastic idea.  Having moved away from my family who was used to spending hours and hours with my young children, I hmmed and hawed about bringing them with me.  After getting all the details worked out on who could look after my kids each day I decided to bring them.

Now the direction of this story has changed.

First things first, packing for a 3 year old and a 10 month old is no small task.  There are just the basic needs that are required regardless of how long the trip. There’s a play pen, a booster seat for feeding, a diaper bag, a bag of baby food products, my work bag, a bag of clothes for kids, a bag of clothes for me, then there’s road trip toys, activities and snacks.  I was hoping to be loaded by 1:00pm.

I pulled out of the yard at 2:30pm.  Okay, no big deal.  A 5.5 hour drive that will take 7 hours with the children on board.  That gets us in at 9:30.  That’s no big deal.  I realized I was going to drive through a bit of a weather system, but I should be okay.

So on the road.  2:48pm I look down and notice that my husband’s wallet is in the van.  Shit, he’s going to need that for sure.  He’s going in to Winnipeg to pick up some things to get our home office set up for when I get back. I give him a call.  We decide he’ll jump in the car and start driving and we’ll split the 20 minutes to get me back on the road faster.  So I pull over and turn around and start driving the way I’ve come.  2:55 I get a phone call.  Ummm.  The car keys are in my purse.  Dammit.  Well the good news is, we figured that out only 20 minutes away instead of much further down the road.  He definately needed those.  So back to the farm.

3:18 I pull out for the second time.  Okay, this puts us in around 10:30.  Not ideal, but I got a good night’s sleep the night before so I’m still confident.  Here we go.

The kids are fantastic.  My 3 yr old watches a movie and eats her popcorn for the first couple hours. After about 3.5 hours of driving I start to notice little specs of snowflakes in the rain droplets. Ah, here comes winter.  I’m not overly afraid, I’ve got my winter tires on and I’m in no hurry.

Another half hour, it’s mostly snow but the highway is warm enough to melt the snow as it lands. No big deal.

Except when it gets colder.  Another half hour, we’re starting to plan our late supper stop. The highways are getting slick and we’ve opted for the comfortable speed of 80kph. Again, I’m not in a hurry.  We pull in for gas and some supper and we were fortunate enough to have a local warn me about the roads.  “miss you got two little kids, it’s not the night to be out on the roads with them.  You drive safe, you here?”

Um yeah, thanks.  I wasn’t planning too.  But now I’m a little more nervous.

So back on the road, it’s past 6:30, I’m still 3 hours away normal drive time.  I’ve driven 2.5 hours in 4 hours.  That’s not great progress.  But away we go.  I have no hesitation to pull over and get a hotel if I feel tired or scared.  But I’m still okay.

A few minutes on the road and the snow is sticking to the highways now.  It’s not all ice, it’s surprise ice.  You never know when you’ll just lose traction.  For almost 30 minutes there was no traffic heading west.  It was like everyone this side of the Prime Meridian knew better than to head to Saskatchewan.  That was a little unsettling, but then traffic started to show up.  Few and far between, but I wasn’t alone anymore… although eventually I would wish I was.

There were a few dumb drivers who whizzed past me.  Slow and steady wins the race, I said to myself, in the words of the great Aesop’s fables.  I’ll see you in the ditch ahead I suppose.  3 out of 6 times that was the case.  The first victim of my foreshadowing was a Red truck.  I watched it miss a curb and drive across the grass to come up on the highway on the other side.  As I passed it in the slow lane, I could see the driver gripping his wheel, catching his bearings just stopped, frozen in the middle of the passing lane.   Poor guy, but I tried to warn him.

Next was a little car.  Just a quick spin and poof, into the ditch.

The scariest was the semis on the road. They were either driving really slow, trying to fight the wind and stay in a straight line, or speeding at over 110kph, while the rest of us were meandering at a comfortable 70kph. One driver was being particularly scary as he whizzed by me in the passing lane which was nothing but ripples of frozen slush.  Unfortunately, this driver managed to take out someone else with his crazy driving and I found him rolled in the ditch on one side of the road with the other victim jackknifed on the other side.

Slowed down just a little bit after that one.

You may be wondering what the girls were doing during this trip.  The baby had an awesome nap, by the end of the trip, approximately 7 hours of it… I hadn’t started to worry about how the night would be.  One step at a time.  The three year old was more sympathetic to the situation than you would expect.

“Mommy, can you push play?”

“No sweetie, mommy’s just going to keep these two hands on the wheel so I don’t slip off the road.  The roads are really really slippery”

“Okay.  Don’t go too fast, or you’ll slip mommy”  That was as demanding as she got.

About an hour from the city and 2 hours from my final destination, the roads cleared and it wasn’t half bad.  It was approaching 10:30 and I still had an hour to go to get to Grandma’s so I could leave the kids for child care.  A quick drive through the city and then back on the highway.  My mom suggested that I don’t travel, that the roads south of the city were awful.  My hubby said the same.  My brother texted me letting me know I could stay at his girlfriend’s on the air mattress.

I thought – shit, it’s been bad this far, why stop now? But I was starting to feel a little defeated.

4 miles south of the city, 4 slippery frozen miles, I pulled over and checked my options.  I could do the drive to Grandma’s, but the drive back to work in the morning brought tears to my eyes.  I texted my brother accepting his offer to sleep on his girlfriend’s floor.  I was so angry – I had made it this far.  Now I was going to have to find child care for the next day and I had what I deemed to be an important 8:00am meeting that I really wanted to be at.

Off to my brothers.

I’ll only draw this picture once, but it will be replayed and replayed throughout the week. Unpacking for an evening – 2 bags of clothes, a diaper bag, a food bag, a play pen and a back pack full of electronics for work.  It’s not a one trip deal.  And one arm has to be free to carry 45lbs of car seat and baby and the other to hold a hand as we walk across slippery parking lots.  I feel mostly like a mule, but tell myself I’m a sherpa – it has a little more dignity.

So in to my brother’s girlfriends.  We settle in quickly.  A restless night sleeping with my 3 year old who needs to cuddle to sleep, but doesn’t care what part of her body needs to touch you.  Twice it was a foot to the face, once a hand.  Twice I through her over to her side of the air mattress, twice she came back.  Not a ton of sleep.  But baby slept through the night.

Morning came early, having just experienced the fall back of daylight savings, my kids didn’t get that memo.  5:22 am I have a finger up my nose. Followed by a wandering hand across my face and into my mouth.

We were out of the apartment by 6:45am after a 15 minute attempt at breakfast which included 2 bowls of puffs on the floor. And yes leaving  includes loading us back up.  I needed to find day care… but it’s too early to call anyone.  I pick up some groceries and then call my first day care provider begging and willing to pay whatever rate she throws at me.  She can take them.  Problem solved.

So I manage to drive 9 hours, get storm stayed, find day care and make my 8:00am meeting to find out my appointment was stuck in traffic.  You have got to be kidding me.  Oh well, now I have some time to get settled in at work.

Off to pick up the kids and go to the condo to get settled in for the week.  Bare with me, the details get long, but the story is something else on top of a blizzard. It’s me, a 3 year old and a 10 month old and 220lbs of stuff.  It’s not a one trip load.  I pull behind the building to the underground parking door.  It’s an ancient building, the drive in to the parkade starts with a 45degree angle.  I’ve seen it before and I brace myself.  But I don’t have a garage door key.  I pull my van with the lights touching the door so vehicles can get behind me in the narrow alley.  I pull the key, lock the doors and race through the building to the front doors, down the stairwell to the parkade, up the steep ramp.  hit the button, jump in the van and hope to hell that there’s a sensor so I don’t get crushed by a closing door. Getting down is no small adventure as my Hidden hitch leaves a trail behind me.  Sneaking in between the pillars, add 10 minutes of navigating and in to my parking lot. A little sigh of relief.  Okay we’re here.

I glance back at my cargo.  A short pep talk, I can do this.  I have no other choice.  I survey my load.  How much can I carry? – definately two trips and I need it all for the night and morning. With bags swinging from my neck, a car seat, back packs and a crib I hustle my 3 year old along through 4 doors and steep stairs.  To the elevator.  Up the elevator into the condo.  We get off and I exhaustedly drop my bags.

I try to convince my three year old to stay up with the baby and watch me in the security camera as I run down the stairs to get the last bags, but quickly realize that I’m better off to bring her with me rather than have her step in to the elevator and disappear.  So I leave the 10 month old baby strapped in the car seat and try to hurry down to the van.  It’ll only be 3 minutes, max.

Down the steep stairs, through the doors to the van, I grab the last bags, my thoughts on my baby alone in the condo.  What else could I have done, I tell myself.  As I hoist the last bag over my shoulder I fumble for the key that gets me back up to the condo.  It’s missing. OH MY GOD. Where is it?  I instantly panic feeling around the edges of the van, the floor, shaking out my 3 year olds coat.  It’s no where to be seen.  I can’t get back to my baby who is upstairs all by her self without that key.  Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.  The panic is intense.  I calm myself.  The key has to be here, I couldn’t have gotten in to the parkade without it.  It has to be here.  What are my options?  I have to find the key.  I start emptying my bags out on the parkade floor.  Picking up each individual piece of clothing, unfolding it and shaking it.  It’s at the bottom of a bag.  It’s been 15 minutes of searching, I’m in tears and I still have to haul all this stuff up the stairs to check on my abandoned baby.

I’m frantic as I rush my three year old up the stairs.  Stepping in to the elevator I can already hear her cries. Fuck, fuck, fuck.  Worst mom ever.  Oh my god.  Deep breaths, it’s okay, it’ll all be okay.  I rush through the elevator doors and unbuckle her as fast as is possible with a five point harness and hold her close to me.  Okay.  It’s all here.  We can get settled in with some supper.  The remainder of the evening was normal.  My dear 3 year old had stripped down to her skivvies jumping on a bed with popcorn within 15 minutes of being there.   Like I said, normal.

Day 2, daycare is in the northwest end of the city.  I plan for the roads and the drive time and head out of the condo at 6:45.  Now daycare isn’t just a diaper bag.  Nope, it’s a play pen, it’s a diaper bag, it’s a backpack of winter clothes and a bag of food for the baby.  Hauling this all back into the parkade.  Sherpa I said, not a mule.

Load up and start navigating the pillars.  I said… start. navigating. the. pillars.  Good lord.  That was 20 minutes to get my bohemoth mini-van out of the narrow turnways and up that steep ramp.  Put the van in park as it perches at a precarious 45degree angle, rush out, hit the button and jump back in.  Shift in to drive and I start sliding down the driveway, I step on it and my tires squeal as I lurch in to the alley.  Free at last.  But this is ridiculous.  I get to the office an hour after leaving the condo.

Pool party night with the family.  Go load up the kids from day care, drive to the hotel where Auntie was staying, unload the bags and take over the hotel room. It’s an awesome night.  I’m so lucky to have such a close family. Load it all up and back to the condo.

Screw the parking lot, I ain’t doing it.  I park on the street, realizing that I’m up earlier than the buses and the parking meter attendants.  Just try and stop me.  I wrestle my 45lb car seat and all my bags up the stairs and collapse in bed.

Day #3- day care is with my sister in the same hotel room that I had just left. But it’s early, too early.  Off to a the restaurant for some breakfast while I wait for Auntie to wake up.  By 7:15 I figure I can drop them off.  Uneventful, no big deal. Just the regular 120lb property exchange and off to work I go.   I fight the traffic to pick up the kids, reminding myself how lucky I am to get to go home next week to my farm, where there’s no traffic to be found… anywhere.  Back to the condo.  By this time, I’m exhausted.  I had managed to dig up a key fob for the garage door and haul my stuff down in to the parkade.  I’ve got my mom with me for Day #4 daycare.  She grabs the oh shit handle as we surge down the steep ramp into the underground parking.  With her help, this should be easy.  Thank god for moms.

We hit the elevator and what’s that?  You have got to be kidding me.  A sign, the elevator is out of service for preventative maintenance…. and all I have is an elevator key fob.  Oh my god.  This is crazy.  Someone is trying to break me.  Well there must be a key fob in the back entrance to the condo up the stairwell.  So we haul up the stairs.  My legs are getting tired by the time we hit the third floor.  I study the door… nothing.  Keys only. No fob box.  What the hell am I going to do?  My mom drops her bags and grabs a seat on the stairs.  I get on the phone to call the Executive assistant on her cell.  No answer.  Damn it.  Damn it.

I’m about to go check in to a hotel when a girl comes up the stairwell to her 4th floor condo.  She mentions that she was about to use the elevator anyways since it’s usually just a security issue, not a operational issue.  Okay.  There’s an option.  I’m going to try the elevator.  Down the stairs, I bring my phone with me and call the executive assistant. I push the button and the doors open.  Stepping in, the voicemail picks up.  I explain that I am going to try the elevator, I don’t know what else to do, I really hope to see her tomorrow and that I’m not found curled in a ball in the elevator. I push the third floor button and the elevator starts up.  “I think I’ll be ok-ayyy” my voice catches as the elevator lurches.  Oh jeez. But it keeps going up.  The doors open and I’m IN! Hurray!  I open up the back door and let my family in.

Good lord, nothing is easy, eh?

In the morning, I decide to walk to work.  Forget the parkade.  The kids stay at the condo with Grandma, there’s no hauling, loading or carrying.  No wrestling, shoving, tripping, yelling or crying.  It’s a good day, right?

It actually is.  Work goes well other than the epismal flop of a project that I’m trying to get back on track.  I walk back to the condo after work and find my sister and my mom ready to load up the girls to take them with them so I can have a night with my fellow co-workers playing RuneWars and 7 Wonders.  Awesome.  It was a great day.

Being the partier that I am, I hide myself away in my room at the witching hour of 10:00p or so.  When I wake up for a drink after 11:00 everyone is gone.  I get to sleep in a little bit, hello 6:40.  Uugh.

Coffee tastes good though and it’s a day off.  My week is almost over, I’m off to Weyburn to pick up my girls and spend some time with my nephew.  Then it’s back on the road again.

Being the optimistic person that I am, I’m going to say that this is the end of the adventure. I haven’t attempted the drive home yet, but I’m hopeful the end of the story goes like this:

The drive home is uneventful and voila, it’s over.  A ton of lessons learned about bringing my kids with me on work trips.

I’ll update it if I have to, but please, lord puhlease, let it be over.



The End of my Mat Leave…

This is the third maternity leave I’ve had the chance to take.  The first one I was on leave for 10 months, the second one 11 months and this one 10 months again.  Usually I am so geared up to get back to work, but this time around I have to admit that I have mixed feelings.  I had so many goals that I wanted to accomplish while I was on maternity leave.  The list was quite long.  That list of To Dos is still just as long it seems.  I guess I’ll have to figure out how to fit those things in while I am working.  It may be possible – who knows.  But for everything that I didn’t get done while I was on maternity leave, it sure flew by and I created a ton of memories.

There was the trip to Vancouver with the family.  That was a vacation we won’t soon forget.  There was the crazy trip to Winnipeg in the early spring where we were all plagued with vomiting.  There was the week at the cottage.  There was the parties in our old backyard.  There were days at the Science Centre, days with the family…  so much time.  Hours and hours spent talking with my sister who was also on mat leave.  All this time to think and dream and grow.

I still have to finish my book I started writing.  I suppose I should relish in the fact that I started a book.  That’s something.  Now to finish it.  I still want to scrapbook my sister’s wedding cards.  That was on my list.  I got our Mission Statement and Values mounted, that’s been hanging around for 6 years.  Not to mention we did move to a new province.  That wasn’t really part of my original maternity leave plan.

It’s been amazing.  We are so fortunate to get to take maternity leave and focus on the family.  But it’s time to go back to the world that I know. Tomorrow morning, I’ll log back in to work.  I’m afraid it will be a little anti-climatic as I bring my coffee cup over to the Office with me, sit at my TV tray with my laptop and log in to my phone.  My desk won’t be here for a few weeks.  And I don’t have a clue what my first day will be…  I’ll be floundering without a map for a some time while I figure my way around again, this time from a remote location in the middle of nowhere.

Should be interesting.  My company wrote me a ticket, I get to decide where it will take me.  As liberating as that may be, it’s also extremely scary.  I don’t want to disappoint, I don’t want to fail…. I want to be great at my job, but I don’t know what all that will entail yet.  Here’s where faith comes in.  It will be great, I will be great.  This is good.

So today.  My last day on maternity leave where I can do anything I want to do…  I could clean up this disaster of a house that still suffers from the barage of children that slaughtered pumpkins last night.  Or I could have a nap since the 4am baby waking up brought me wide awake and unable to get back to sleep.  Or I could build a fire and curl up and read.  Maybe I’ll write.  But I better decide fast, because the days already begun!

Here’s to the last day.  Tomorrow starts a new chapter.  My life is so full of chapters.  Who knows what happens next?

When Faith is Shaken

I’m often amazed at how different we can react to similar situations.  Our reactions are driven by our thoughts, by our perceptions and largely by our faith.  When I say “faith”, I don’t mean it in the religious context per se.  I refer to faith more as a level of confidence and assurance beyond the confidence in our own ability.  Faith refers to the depth of our belief and confidence in other people and the way that the universe works.

Generally speaking, I am a person of solid faith.  I believe that most people are good.  I believe that the universe has a way of sorting life out for us, beyond what we are capable of controlling.  I believe that even the most difficult situations will teach us something profound that will change our lives for the better.   That being said, I know that people still cause pain for others, life sometimes still sucks and some days are just too hard.  But with a little faith, those moments are much more bearable.

I’ve blogged about it before.  People who cause pain and our ability to control our reaction to it.  If we have solid faith that people are mostly good, we aren’t likely to get angry.  We are more likely to exhibit compassion and empathy… to ask questions as to why and to give feedback to minimize future pains.  All actions in the best interest of the evolution of society.

They call it the light at the end of the tunnel, the rainbow.  Whatever the cliche, it boils down to the simple fact – things can’t be shitty forever.  If you absolutely believe that you’ll be more equipped to handle the shitty times as passing moments on a giant timeline that will fade in meaning and memory. Of course, we will never know when things will get “sorted out” but we can have faith that they always will.  It may be a week of tumultuous times or perhaps a year, but in the eyes of the universe – even a decade is just a blip on a timeline.    Why spend energies focusing on the pains of the moment rather than accepting the tests and challenges as they are presented.  If you have faith that you don’t always have to struggle, that you can get life together you can swallow those lows that life will always inevitably bring.

Where does this come from, you might ask?  Well I’ve realized that my faith is shaken and it’s got me asking myself what do I need to do to rebuild my faith.  Faith in people, faith in the company I work for, faith in my decision to move, faith in my relationship.  It’s all wavered at some point in the last 2 months.  And it’s changed my ability to cope, my ability to triumph and my ability to take joy in situations.  It’s affected the way that I react and interact with people. In short – it’s really not good.

It’s all internal, I realize.  There isn’t any one thing that happened that I normally wouldn’t have been able to take in stride, but let’s face it.  I’ve made a pretty life changing decision to uproot the family and move to the boonies and I can be honest and say I don’t know if that was the best choice.  Not having faith in my decision has created a domino affect in other areas that has left me feeling insecure and unsecured.

So what do we do.  One amazing thing about the power of thought is that once you’ve identified the thoughts that are causing the negative behaviors and reactions, you can change them.  It’s re-writing the dialogue that goes through our minds.  When the critic inside is spitting out the negative thoughts, we just catch them and hurl them back with a more rational thought process.  I thought it might be helpful if I shared this internal battle as I go through it if for no other reason than to practice what I preach.

Thought:  “What am I doing here?  What have we done?  This is hard.  This is ridiculous.  Have I broken my family?”

Response: “You are taking a calculated risk to try something.  You will never know if it was the best decision.  You thought enough about it to know that it made sense to try.  It’s pretty amazing.  Scary, yes.  Wrong, no.  And of course it’s hard.  Anytime you start a new life it’s hard.  You have to start over getting integrated but you brought the most important part with you and that hasn’t changed.  So yes, it’s hard.  But not as hard when you are all doing it together.

Thought: “I’ve broken my family.  I don’t feel like we’re a team anymore and I don’t think this is going to work out”

Response: “You haven’t broken your family. What does that even mean?  Are you implying that you aren’t a cohesive unit?  That there is fighting amongst the ranks?  That’s not broken, that’s personal reactions to the unknowns and that’s normal.  Do you really think that this isn’t going to work out?  That’s really up to you to decide.  Do you want it to work out?  Yes? Okay then.  Is it possible that it could work out?  Yes?  Okay then.  So it will.  Right now your family is going through a shape shifter machine.  You are all on the assembly line belt moving through and as you look around you don’t recognize much of your surroundings.  It’s scary.  If you don’t keep your eyes on your family it feels lonely.  You can’t see what you come out like on the other side but you can know that your whole family is going through the change together and your whole family will come out on the other side.  You can also rest assured that your family is strong enough to take whatever shape comes out the other side of this upheaval and turn it in to an amazing experience for everyone.  You know that.  So it’s not true that your family is broken.  It is true that the upheaval has caused you to take your eyes off of each other and has you focusing on the wrong place.  Get your family foundation planted and let the rest of the world settle around you.”

Everyone needs a pep talk.  Don’t be shy.  I hope that me sharing the pep talks I have with myself in the mirror helps someone else through a tough time.  Here’s this week’s coach’s corner:

“Look at this.  Look at this amazing place that you are turning in to your home.  Look at the memories and the laughter that you have already had in a few short weeks.  This is our new life.  And it’s amazing and it will continue to be amazing.  Take a deep breath and feel that.  Feel the decompression.  This is what your family needs.  Space to breathe and feel and laugh and love.  Space.  Have patience with getting things in order.  It will take time.  It took five years in your last place, why would you expect it to take weeks here?  Settling is part of the process.  This is the hand that you picked, card by card you chose these ones.  Let’s play it out.  Have some fun. Your family is strong.  And stronger now.  So Stop worrying.  You got this. You know it. So Enjoy it”

Have faith.

Things that Will (And Won’t) Be Missed when the Family leaves

I thought it would be kind of fun to put together a list of things for future reference.  I have heard about situations where a person lived with their mother/aunt/cousins/friends for a month or so and always thought – how can you do that?  That must have been such a pain…  then I moved my entire family of 5 into our cousins house and they took us in under their wings.  With only 2 more nights to go, it’s actually flown by and hasn’t been all that bad- for us anyways.  But I’m sure there were some downfalls of having a family of five stay in your house.  The good and the bad – these are the things I could come up with.

By the way, for those of you who didn’t make the connection, this is the same family that we brought the hand foot and mouth too and the week of puking.  And yes, they still had us back.  I won’t ever be able to verbalize my gratitude and admiration for this family.  Their generosity really does make you want to pay it forward.  So here’s the lists.

Things we’ll Miss when we move out:

1. Whiskey sours
2. Night caps beginning at 5 and ending at 11
3. Watching the kids get excited to see each other even though they just saw each other the night before
4. Hugs
5. Always having someone to visit with
6. Having help parent

Things that they likely won’t miss when we move out:

1. at least 7 sippy cups full of souring milk strewn about (and hidden in cupboards)
2. 6:45am
3. the never ending cold
4. having important belongings grow legs and disappear
5. the noise
6. the laundry
7. needing to keep at least 12 litres of milk on hand
8. the punching/pushing/yelling/tormenting
9. puffs all over
10. 7:00am coffee grinding
11. clothes everywhere
12. did I mention milk?
13. the surprises left in the toilet that mysteriously started appearing when we moved in
14. the Skuter cruising through the kitchen
15. violin practice
16. musical vehicles in the garage
17. the trailers/stuff everywhere

I’m sure there’s more on that list, but that’s what I got as I sit here and think about how grating it can be to have one person invade your space for any length of time, let alone 5.  We can’t wait to have them invade us at our new house.


Oh Kijiji

We rented out our last home furnished for the most part.  Because it’s easier to leave stuff than to move it, right?  Uh huh.

So I’ve been addicted to Kijiji for a month.  I’ll find a deal, contact a deal and lose the deal to someone else who doesn’t have a job and is somehow managing to cherry pick everything that I need.

Hello, is this play structure still available?  “No I sold it Friday”(i.e. 2 days ago).  Oh, really, it’s still on Kijiji.  “Nope, it’s sold”. Um okay thanks then.  And it goes on.  I am definately getting familiar with the geography.  St. Andrews is not close, and a wardrobe won’t fit in the back of a Ridgeline.  Fail.  Selkirk is definately not close and moving a play structure is going to suck.  Everybody seems to be selling their “barely used”, “just like new”, only sat on/listened to/drove/rode/slept in once, item.  I really wonder why people are selling items that are at least 20 years old that are “never really used”.

Then there’s how the people must feel about me calling.  That wardrobe you’re asking $100 for?  Would you take $50?  i would have to strip it and refinish it, but I think I could make it work.  The reply: NO! People will pay good money for an antique like this to finish it.  I will not consider that!.  Um okay then.  Best of luck.

But now that I’ve been talking about it, I’ve got a few desks to source.

Where has the time gone?

It’s hard to think that it’s the end of the month already.  I know it’s been too long since I’ve written, but the past weeks have blended together in a mix of dotted yellow lines and killing time.  With an old cell and no service I found myself parked outside an internet cafe to use the internet network just to stay up to date with family and I’ve really sucked at that.

We decided last minute to take the girls home to go get Daddy who had been staying at the old house, empty of all our personal effects except our puppies. So we drove home, just the four of us girls.  They were getting used to travelling by then so the trip was pretty uneventful. We got in to town at a decent time.  Turns out it’s 5 hours 35 minutes of driving and 1 hour and 25 minutes of stopping.  7 hours – if only we could knock out a few stops, like the poop stop that was only 14 minutes behind the pee stop.

Home again, home again.  except it’s not home anymore.  I had to tour the girls through the house reminding them that their prized possessions had been packed on that big truck and were being stored safely.  Someone else was going to live here and we were going to a new house – except not for two more weeks.  Dear little 2yr old was traumatized when she couldn’t find her bed.  Poor girl.

We pack a second UHaul trailer.  I decided it would be a good idea to take the animals to get their shots updated.  All three animals.  That’s two dogs and a cat to the vet all at one time.  That wasn’t crazy at all.  Our temperamental dog let the vet know that he would really prefer not to have her stick a thermometer in his ear.  Meanwhile, the pleaser dog learned that if he did anything the vet asked (and some things that weren’t asked) he would get a cookie, so he was well behaved.  But we managed to piss of the cat enough that she was ready to draw a grid of blood down whoever came near her next.

After that fiasco, I head down to Aunty’s at the end of the weekend to get the girls who got to have a fabulous sleepover (baby 8 month old’s first) with Aunty and Grandma.  Dear hubby stays back in the city finishing up the errands – you know, returning water bottles, dropping off cable equipment.  That short to-do list took the better part of the day and it wasn’t until around 5:00 when we were both ready to go, me from southern Saskatchewan and him from our home base about an hour away. We strategized how far we could make it.  We were quite the team.  His night vision got really bad after his eye surgery so he doesn’t ever drive at night and it was already 6:00p Manitoba time.  This should be interesting.  Should we stay?  Keep dear daughter out of school for the third day?  But 5:00 is so early, we could get so far.  Well let’s just start driving, then we’ll figure it out.

For those of you who have had any part of this process, thank you for your patience.  The whole move has been much of a whim – other than the actual decision to do it.  But a move of this magnitude, we probably should have sat down and planned the details, like by the time you take a 26′ Uhaul, come back and get a Cargo trailer and rip the rear end out of your van, you probably should have paid the movers to do it. Cheap skates.  (not to mention the circus that we encountered after trip #1 which you can read about in earlier posts).  This was another one of those whims.  Let’s just drive.

So I head out through the southern part of Saskatchewan and he takes the #1.  My drive, again, is pretty uneventful – oh other than for one little detail.  If you are familiar with a Chev Aveo.  It’s smaller than a Suzuki Swift, but larger than a Smart Car- but not by much.  Well, we were driving the Aveo.  Three car seats across the back seat.  So every time that the oldest got in and out it was a knuckle scraping challenge to get her buckled back up.  And because the middle seat belts runs from the side of the car to loop down the middle it only takes her reaching for a dropped toy for it to run into childseat lock and pin her against the seat.  The first time it pinned her in she burst in to tears, terrified of being tied up.  Of course we weren’t driving on a major highway with paved shoulders or even white lines for that matter, so there she sat, seatbelt tight across her chest until I could find a place to pull over, reach over the baby’s car seat, ram my hand down the back of the seat, unbuckle and then re-buckle her up.  I warned her that the next time she locked herself up I wasn’t stopping.  So the next time she locked herself up, she pretended she liked it until she fell asleep.  Then there were three sleeping beauties.  I could do this all night, right?

I was checking in with the hubby on a regular basis.  He was tired and it was going to be pretty dark soon.  I was driving along a very lonely highway on a night with no moon and no traffic.  It was eery and every back woods, country horror film scene was running through my mind.  At one point, I convinced myself that there was actually someone following me with their lights off.  I decided I wanted to be on the #1 highway and took the next main route north.

The next time I checked in with the hubby he was petering out near a friends house.  He figured we could pull in for the night.  But the UHaul didn’t have a lock on it and we didn’t want to pull it down the back roads if we didn’t have to.  The Local coop saves the day, lending us both a lock and a parking space.  So I pick up my dear hubby at the gas staion and load him in to the car.  In case you can’t see this.  One black 4 door aveo.  Doors so small that the car seats actually take up the entire width of the door forcing the children to climb through the car seats to get out, not around them.  Three car seats across the back seat, one backward facing and one booster.  I don’t travel light when I travel with three children.  There is 2 massive bags in the hatch filling it completely.  Then there’s a diaper bag, 2 grocery bags of snacks and random stuff, a back pack and all my electronics.  Then my hubby crawls in to the front seat which was previously occupied by the diaper bag and backpack.  Those bags get put in his lap.  And in order for the rear-facing seat to fit, the passenger seat has to be pushed up close to the dash.  Well needless to say, it was an epic circus moment with the 5 clowns shoved in to the car.  Onward to our friends to sleep.

The next morning, up we get, all packed up and off we go.  Nothing unusual, nothing to report.  Just a simple 5 hour drive back to our new province.

And that was the final chapter of Saskatchewan.  All of our stuff was officially moved, the last thing packed in the in-laws van as the trekked across the prairies, including our 2 puppies and our still extremely pissed off cat.

So it sits, in a cousin’s workshop, an in-laws trailer and 3 storage bins at UHaul – our life. Waiting for a home.  And the time is flying by.