Questions I Will Say No To

The joy of the long weekend is that it brings the whole family together. However, my husband opted to plan a play date  for my children and then left to run errands for the rest of day.  I have now become the voice of “No” to my children as the day has slowly lingered on and I attempt to tackle my to-do list.

The one thing that has irked me the most is my children insist on asking the same questions that they already know the answer to…

So as a  gentle reminder to my little family  I will be placing this notice on the fridge to spare them they agony of hope and me the pain of sounding like a broken record.

Do you ever get tired of sounding like a broken record?

The Myth of the Boogey: Arresting a Mom for Unsupervised Play

Tammy Cooper is just like me; she lives on a quiet cul-de-sac and she lets her children ride their scooters along the neighborhood street. The only difference between this Mom and me is she was arrested for allowing her kids, ages six and nine, to play outside watching from “only a few feet away.”

Come over and join the conversation at BlogHer. Do you believe Tammy Cooper’s arrest was warranted?

The Unknown Road

[T.  of "As Long  as I'm Singing" a rock n' roller with a good sense of humor who embraces his faith recently confessed he talks to his blog. It was a great relief to me that I was not the only one! T. asks "Would your life be any different, fundamentally, if you were the opposite sex of the one you are now?"]

As I look at the dishes in the kitchen, the garden that needs tending, and  the laundry piled in the basement. I sit and attempt to focus on my computer screen as two little widgets run about around the table, “Mom! Can we have a snack!”

I graciously grab the snack, send them outside, and try to regain my thoughts!  I sigh, where  was I going? Who am I? What would life be if I were a man? 

I reflect back, think of my early twenties, and retreat to my shelf examining the beat – up copy of Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. As  I gaze at the cover I dream I was traveling the open road with my knap sack never knowing the adventure that rambled around the corner.

Now that was the life and that was a man. If I was a man Dharma Bums would have been my bible. I would be the man without responsibility traveling down the unknown road.

I would rely only on my knapsack, a journal, and life free of responsibility. My quest to search for meaning, listening to jazz, and meeting a motley crew of characters along the way.

However, as a woman the freedom to hitchhike or hop a train eludes me.  The freedom of living the life carefree without concern of security, roaming the earth, and enjoying the fine mountain grass evades my presence.

It is the now that I look at the messy house, the weedy garden, and look to my children. I have a home full of warmth and love. It is this security that surrounds me with a warm  blanket.

It might not be the freedom of the open road but it keeps me grounded.  It is by staying grounded I learn that  life is about how you live it and embrace it. The open road will always be there to roam, characters will come and go, but to me there truly is no place like home.

Do you long for the open road? Or do believe there is no place like home?

It’s Spewing Leeks!

[Paprika Furstenburg of Good Humored dashes up her blog with a good dose of  wit! She has made me chuckle going where no woman has gone before in the bathroom. Also  a known fact all walks of life find her very attractive especially  mosquitoes and a wide variety of bugs. She asks "What is the most disastrous meal you have ever cooked?"]

A sleep deprived mother with a husband travelling on the road is a lot to muster with a two-year old and infant in the cold winter months. It was one evening I was excited to have him return home to our little love nest. As the two-year old napped and the littlest happily rocked in the swing. I attempted my husbands favorite Cream of Leek Soup with Parmesan Potato Dumplings.It was one my culinary masterpieces that I loved to create on a cold day. 

It was in the afternoon as my two-year old  napped I sleepily chopped the vegetables and boiled them to perfection. It just at the right moment as I was about to puree my creation my little darling awoke from his nap. I got him settled with his toys.  I  then went back into my zombie state thinking I should have had the nap instead of making the dreaded soup.

But what is a girl to do? It was time to puree the leeks! I went to place them in the blender, placing the top just so, pressing the button on high, and that is when all hell broke loose! The devil had possessed my blender!

The top exploded off the blender with gusto!  Chunks of leek  hit the ceiling, the stove, the curtains, covering me, and the children. The blender had taken on a force within itself and was shredding its wrath across my sparkling kitchen.

I felt utterly defeated against this possessed demon and did what any reasonable women would do…I pulled the plug, sat on the floor,  and wailed my little heart out. It was the tearful wail that takes over your whole soul and alerts  the dead to run from your tracks.  I was blinded with tears! I attempted to contain the  snot from running on the floor by wiping my nose with a shirt sleeve covered in leek guts.  The fight against the demon blender and willful leeks had taken the last of my energy!

It was at that moment my husband arrived home early from work to discover the leek massacres  of 2003.  It was to his horror to see one woman covered in gunk tears running down her face sobbing on the kitchen floor, one child running amok dragging the chunks with him as he went, and one little baby patiently waiting for someone to clean – up the mess.

The only thing  of comfort my husband could  say was “Honey, lets open some wine and order a pizza!”

What is one of your worst cooking disasters? Did you ever attempt to make it again?

What if?

My oldest son is in Grade 4 we have a two-minute walk to the elementary school. I  have been trying to give him more freedom. I wondered is it time to let him walk to school by himself? I just feel that there are so many what if’s? What if someone snatches him? What if a careless driver fails to see him crossing the street? What if there is a bully lurking in the corner? What if? What if?

It was just this past week, the morning was cold, and he had to be at school early before everyone else to work on a school project.  I took the leap and decided to give him just a little bit more freedom. I walked him across the busy street letting him walk to school alone. I turned my back and went home.

I sighed, and hurried back home to get on with the morning and organize the littlest for the first bell.

It was later in the morning the house was quiet, I was reaching for my second cup of coffee, and the phone rang. I saw the schools number on the phone and felt a heavy thud in my stomach.

“Hello”

“Hello. We are wondering where Alex is this morning?”

“He is at school.”

“No the teacher has him marked as absent.”

I felt a slight rush of panic my worst nightmare had come true and I was beginning to workout a plan in my head, “No I walked him half way to school he should be there he had an early morning project.”

“Oh! The teacher marked him as absent. She must have forgot.No worries then…”

I felt no worries! I felt a surge of  panic!What if the teacher was right? What if he was absent? What if he was abducted?

“Could you do me a favor and just make sure he is at the school? I only walked him halfway, I didn’t see him walk in, and now just want to double check that he is with the group?”

My helicopter blades were spinning like mad! I panicked thinking maybe he didn’t make it to school.The what ifs swirled in my head. I kicked myself  I should have  walked him the whole way.

The secretary returned to the phone and replied, “It’s all good! We found him! He is with the group!”

And it was with that assurance I felt a huge sigh of relief.

In this day and age there are so many what ifs! As a child I remember roaming the streets with my friends, walking home from school alone, and hanging in the trees in the woods. We weren’t supervised and we all made it out unscathed for the most part.

So what has changed?  Do you have a what if?

Lunch Wars: Bringing Real Food Back to the Schools

In  the novel Lunch Wars, Amy Kalafa, points out we need to teach our children the fundamental importance of good food. “Developing a sense of taste is not just for food snobs. The connection between healthy food, healthy soil, and healthy kids is made through the sense of taste. Teaching children to taste real food at a young age enable them to discern junk food as junk.” It is this food advocacy that needs to be prevalent in more schools. In this novel she teaches for parents to advocate for their children’s health through research,  policy planning, and taking the step forward to speak your mind.

As I read Lunch Wars it made me appreciate the elementary school my children attend for its stringent nutritional guidelines. It offers a nutritious hot lunch program offered once a month in which the meal is made from scratch from local resources. It is in this health food initiative in which children learn the benefits of eating good slow food.

The school also has a plot in the community garden were children participate each spring in the garden club learning how to grow vegetables. It’s these initiatives that teach my children between the taste of a carrot from a fresh garden in comparison to the bulk bag from the super store.

It is teaching  our children the benefits of healthy eating and how to make wise choices with their food options. As my children grow,gain part-time jobs, I won’t be able to hold their hand our control what they consume on a daily basis.  But to ban junk food completely from schools doesn’t prepare them for the real world. As they grow older we need to helicopter less and hope they do make the wise choices. However, if my child is eating a balanced diet I see nothing wrong in enjoying a cup cake every now and then.

Balance and moderation are key to a healthy diet. As our children grow we need to advocate for healthy meals offered in the high school cafeteria. I also know as parents we need to start the education early in the homes because it is not the schools responsibility to monitor our children’s diets. However, we  do need to find balance within the schools to create and provide more healthy options besides pizza and fries.

Do you think schools need to take a more healthy approach to the meal selections they offer? If, so why? Also  check out more about Lunch Wars at BlogHer Book Club and join the  lively discussions!

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Can Patron Saint Joseph Help Sell Your Home?

Our first home was a small little spot in the middle of nowhere we had the quiet visits of deer, moose, and the occasional bear. It was the perfect beginning to our young little family. Two bedrooms seemed spacious enough for three but with the arrival of our second child I was ready to move into town.I wanted to enjoy the luxury of spacious and convenient living.

Sadly, due to an undesirable location for the rest of the planet, two bedrooms, and a bear trap in the front yard had made our little love nest an inconvenience to sell. That is until my superstitious mother stepped in with a solution.

She handed me a statue of the Patron Saint Joseph.

“My friend told me to bury this in your backyard and your house will sell quicker.”

I looked at her sleep deprived and wondering what she was holding, “What? What is that?”

“It’s the Patron Saint Joseph. Just bury it in the yard.”

I took it and buried it in the cupboard. Completely forgetting of its existence until her next visit. She found it in the back of my cupboard searching for the tea.

“You didn’t bury this yet?”

“No! No! I didn’t!”

She looked at me, “Humph! No wonder your house will never sell!”

It’s with that I sighed and grabbed my darling three-year old to teach him a lesson in superstitions. We walked out the backdoor with one Hail Mary we took sweet Joseph and  buried him deep into the recesses of the ground.

It was at this point in my life I had two little ones under the age of three, a husband on the road for work, and a need of a weekly break to regain some form of sanity. My babysitter was a saving grace, a saint, the one rescue from the toils of spit and soiled diapers.

It was one afternoon I came home from a glorious afternoon of peace and coffee to discover my babysitter had dug out dear Saint Joseph from the backyard.

“We were playing in the backyard. Your son just started digging and kept saying he was looking for his buried treasure. Where did it come from?”

As she held the dear Saint Joseph in her hand with a perplexed look on her face – all I could do was lie. Yes! I lied out of fear of losing my babysitter! How would you react to a poorly dress woman with black circles under her eyes admitting “Yes! I did bury Saint Joseph in my back yard in order for my home to sell!”

It was with wise maneuvering and fear of judgement I did not come clean. Instead I looked at the statue, I looked at my sitter’s angelic and inquisitive face and replied , “I have no idea where that came from – Isn’t that bizarre!”

It was with that my babysitter left my home  befuddled with so many questions on her mind…

Have you ever fibbed out of fear of judgement?

The Return to School

The breeze was cool as  I walked my two little men to school.  I was in disbelief that the summer was over and they were growing up before my very eyes. My oldest was going in grade four he ran ahead with excitement while my youngest entering grade two had straggled behind with trepidation. I balanced my stride in the middle between two the two attempting to look back and forward at the same time.

I admired how tall they grown and how independent they had become over the summer. It was this morning my oldest helped cook the eggs and my youngest tied his sneakers with pride.

It was when we arrived at school my oldest looked at me, “Mom do you have to go with me? I know where I am going?”

“But don’t you want me to meet your teacher?”

“You have met her already.”

“It’s fine. We will just  walk you to your class.”

“Please don’t Mom! Please! I ‘m a big man now. I can find it myself.”

I saw the dread in his eyes, the fear I would walk him to class, and I knew my son was on the verge of becoming a tween. It was with that I let him run to his friends and find his way to his own class. I sighed it seemed too soon that he was growing up before my very eyes.My heart melted as he went on his way and it took all of my power not to hug him in public.

I then walked my youngest to his class. It was there I walked him into the classroom, helped him find his desk, and then assisted in unpacking his school supplies.  I hovered over him until the teacher arrived and introduced herself to us. I gave him a smile as tear a welled up  in my eye and wondered would he need me next year to help with finding his class and unpacking his school supplies.

I cherish the time with my sons. They are  only young  once and one day neither of them will need me at all. It’s best to be there for them now before they grow to old and no longer want to be seen with their Mom.

Do you think parents tend to coddle the youngest more? Or is that an unfair assumption?

The Wrath of the Toot!

I have a love for all things dairy but sadly dairy does not love me.  In fact it hates me! The moment I cave into its wholesome goodness my stomach turns, it aches, and in the end an unnecessary aroma invades our loving home. In all honesty  a crash of gas from me  would force any terrorist from their secret hiding spot…

Last night was no different! It was a lovely meal of savory beans and brown rice. We then indulged with several slices of smoked apple cheddar for dessert. It was heavenly!  It was only within the hour, my tummy began to rumble, “Kids it’s time for bed!”

“Do we have too?”

“Yes! You have too!”

It was with that their father exclaimed, “If you don’t go now I’m sending your mother into tuck you in!”

The littlest exclaimed, “Oh! No! She had cheese! I can smell her farts!”

I looked appalled, “Excuse Me! I do not fart! Ladies do not fart!”

My oldest laughed, “I just heard you two minutes ago!”

I looked at him sternly, “Ladies do not fart. Ladies toot!”

The both ran upstairs laughing, “Ha! Ha! Could you imagine the wrath of Mom’s toot? It’s best we get to bed!”

And with that I tooted throughout the whole evening while my husband covered his nose and retreated to the basement den.

What do you call your gaseous expulsions? Do you admit to your toots?