Monday, November 28, 2011

Finish Up!

Over the past two months I've noticed I'm having a hard time finishing projects/chores that I start. I swore that I was going to get rid of at least 12 garbage bags worth of clutter in our house and stopped after I reached 5 bags and only emptied 5 cupboards.  I buy baby gifts for people within days of receiving the announcement and then I let the gift sit on the dining room table for up to a month before I get around to wrapping it, and then sometimes another few weeks before I get it to the post office.

Is anyone else having this issue? What do you do to stay motivated to get these types of things accomplished?

Generally I make myself a To Do list and am happy to cross things off it. But I find that lately I'm just moving items from the old To Do list to the new one without finishing up the task.  I need to find a new way to motivate myself to finish what I started so am looking for some suggestions/ideas on how to do this. Anyone have a method that works for them?

Thursday, November 24, 2011


So it's the end of November and I'm already crying 'Uncle!'. I'm tired. I'm beat. I give in. You know you've hit a wall when you're standing in Safeway bawling your eyes out without even noticing if anyone is around to see your meltdown. DS woke us sick and I had just called his Doctor to get him checked out only to find out that the doctor has left the practice and they won't say where he's gone. It's just another thing to add to my growing To Do list. I now need to find a new doctor for DS prior to his allergy tests that take place in just over a week. He's anaphylactic so he needs someone to prescribe him his Epipens! Seriously, just not something I needed to add to the crazy birthday/Christmas list right now.

Every year I try harder to get things organized early and yet every year I'm still scrambling to get things done on time. This year I ordered our Christmas cards early, I got DD's birthday invitations out 2 1/2  weeks before the date, I shipped my niece's birthday present a month and a half early, and yet I'm looking at my To Do list and I feel like I've crossed nothing off. How can that be?

I realized that the older the kids get the more the list grows. This year I need to get gifts for 3 teachers, not 1. I also need to attend 3 Christmas concerts between 2 children and not only need to do our Christmas cards but have to help the kids do their Christmas cards for their classes, teachers and support staff.

With them both being in school it means more birthday parties to attend. Every year we only ever had to worry about my DD's birthday at the end of November, and 2 nieces that live too far away to attend. Now each kid gets invited to a birthday party almost every month so it means more scheduling, and shopping for presents.

The older the kids get the more activies seem to pile up in my calendar. I have become a master scheduler. If I had to toot my horn about something it's that. I'm pretty much never late even carting around 2 kids to multiple events throughout the day. Do they offer degrees in that? If so I should get an honourary one.

Not only has our schedules exploded as they kids have gotten older, but Hubs has been travelling a fair amount for work. He has been on 9 business trips in the past 12 weeks and he's going on 2 more over the next 3 weeks. It's left me struggling to figure out how to work the snowblower, searching for a vehicle to eventually replace mine, attempting to get quotes on a new home security system, putting in a warranty claim for our house siding, and buying ALL the Christmas presents he would normally buy for his family...even the ones from him to me! With him being away so much and so busy I've been trying to play both roles in the family and it isn't working out very well. I handed over the reins to these kinds of things long ago and am not too keen on picking them back up.

I'm worn out and in this wrestling match against the To Do List I've given in. Sadly, even after crying 'Uncle!' the To Do List is not listening and keeps giving me a pounding. Let's just hope that the next time I have a meltdown like that it's not in such a public setting. In the meantime I'm going to dream of Easter.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Inspire Me!

What do you do with your family over the holidays to give back to the community? Do you donate food to the food bank? Do you serve Christmas dinner at a local shelter? Or do you donate a gift to Santas Anonymous?

These are all things we have heard of before and are very popular choices to do something for others during the Christmas season. All are very important and need people to continue to support them. But what I'm looking for is something off the beaten track. I want to know about those charities, events, or people that do not get as much press or support. The ones that might be forgotten about or go unnoticed during the crazy holiday season.

Even if you live in a different city I'm willing to take suggestions as we may have something similar here. This year I just want to try something different with my family so help inspire me :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Halloween Experiment

Last year I had a 20-something, childless, non-married woman made a comment about how moms need to 'pick it up' and make costumes for their kids instead of buy them. The comment really, really bothered me but it also made me feel very, very guilty. Last year my 2 yr old wanted to be Thomas the Train. The whole idea of trying to make him a box train, painting it, finding accessories/make-up etc was overwhelming to me. I work on the Run For The Cure committee so the thought of that occupied all of September, then I hosted Thanksgiving for 28 people, hosted the inlaws for a visit, had Halloween, took the kids on a beach vacation and then had DD's birthday party the week after we got back. All of that in the span of 2 months left me feeling pretty overwhelmed and in no shape to make costumes from scratch.

Even though I don't know how to sew, I don't own a sewing machine and have no interest in learning how to sew I felt guilted enough to try and make the kids some costumes this year. Stupid Mommy guilty perpetuated by a non-mommy!!

So I asked the kids what they wanted to be and at first DS said he wanted to be the alien from Toy Story. Yeahhhh, no. That sounds way too hard. Try again kid. So he said he wanted to be Handy Manny. BINGO! How easy is that? Then DS said she wanted to be an angry ghost. SCORE! Project Halloween Costumes was a go and I couldn't be happier by the selections they made.

AND then I started trying to figure it all out. Yeah. It was way harder than I thought it would be. It took me 5 shopping trips to find all the components of DS's costume. I estimate that it cost about $85 for his costume plus 8 hours to make it.  It might have been easier if there had been a pattern to work from but I was going in blind and tried to figure it all out as I went along.

DD's costume, I thought, would be way easier and yet caused me more stress because I didn't want it to cover her head. I bought her face make-up, silver hair spray, and devised we would just make her face look ghostly. Then came the problems of arm holes. I wanted her to be able to use her arms so I cut holes out and then cut and sewed strips onto the arms so she looked like she had 'spooky' sleeves. Then I took the costume and distressed the bottom of it. Her costume cost approximately $50 and took me 5-6 hours to make.

The time might not sound like much but it doesn't count the hours spent shopping for the components to the costumes or the time it took to think/plan it all out. I estimate it took about about 18 hours to do these costumes and copious amounts of stress. Who knew 2 such simple ideas for costumes could cause so much work?

Here's the questions...would I do it again? No, not in the same manner that I did it this year. If I was going to do homemade costumes again I would first make the kids build off things we already had in the house and just look to add a few embellishments. Starting from scratch was difficult, stressful, expensive and time consuming.

In the end I was proud of what I had done but looking at their costumes you really would have NO IDEA of how much time I spent on them. The kids were so very happy but to be honest I don't think they were any happier that I made them than if I would have bought them. Most of all what I learned from this experience is to not have an early 20's,  non-mom, non-married woman guilt me into being what SHE thinks a mom should be.

September/October Books

Once again I'm tardy with my list of reads for the past few months so I'm combining the past 2 months into just one post. And after having typed that I realized I didn't even keep track of my October reads so I'll have to do my best by memory. Oy.


1. The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing.   The book is off our 501 Must Read list and at the beginning I felt it had some promise. Sadly I felt it never panned out. The book started interesting but I found that 1/2 way through it started to get confusing and frustrating. It was hard keeping up with what the real story was and what the make believe versions were. It make for a difficult read towards the end.

2. Oranges are Not The Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson.  Another book off the 501 Must Read list. This was an interesting concept for a book but it was certainly depressing. The story follows a girl from youth to adulthood and her struggles with religion and her sexuality. The book didn't really have any closure which made it hard to put it down even after I put it down.

3. Night of Many Dreams - Gail Tsukiyama.  This is the second book I have read from Gail and I think I enjoyed the other one more. I liked the characters, and the idea behind the book but I didn't feel connected to the characters. It's like she just scratched the surface of the characters so you had a hard time feeling for them in each situation. I love mother/daughter/sister stories like this but I felt Gail could have made it a little longer with more character development.

4.  State of Wonder - Ann Patchette. I've read 2 of her other books and I find her to be a decent writer. The book was alright but ending seems to wrap up very fast and in a very odd way. I wasn't fond of the twist as it seemed so unbelievable.

5. The Last Champion - Rick Riordan. Maybe I would have felt different about this book if I had realized it was the last one. For some reason I thought there was 1 more so when I got to the end and realized it was over I sort of felt jipped, like I didn't get to enjoy it as much.


1. The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen.  This was a pretty depressing story. The characters were pretty messed up but I have to say I did feel for the mom who still wanted to at least pretend they held normal lives. It was such a desperate attempt at normalcy that it was sad as she didn't know how screwed up her own kids were. It was still an interesting book but not at all uplifting.

2. The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford. Hilarious. I just read my notes on this book and I only wrote 'Ok. Nothing memorable'. And I'm sitting here and can't remember anything about the book!!!  Take that as a sign maybe to leave this one be.

3. Vendetta - Michael Didodin. this is a mystery where you follow the character of a detective. Part way through the book I realized that this is not the 1st book but it's the 2nd in a series so there was some back story that didn't make any sense to me.  I enjoyed the beginning of the book so purchased the 1st and 3rd book in the series but then found the book to kind of fall apart at the end. I'll read the 1st book and hope I like it enough to get through the 3rd!

4. Cleopatra's Daughter - Michelle Moran. Very much like her other books. Just an escape from some heavier books I read. They are all starting to seem similar but still an easy read and enjoyable.

5. I can't remember the last book I read so will need to wait until all loaned out books return and then I can add it here ;)