Santa Stalker Returns

A few years ago, maybe 4 (it’s all such a blur), I decided to bring the Elf on the Shelf into our house. Why not? It’s not like I have anything to do over the holiday season after the kids have gone to bed and I’m exhausted right?  I had no idea what a big responsibility it is to keep the ELF thing going for a few weeks. I also didn’t realize the amount of pressure associated with the said Elf. While I was struggling to remember to move it from one table, plant holder or shelf to another, my friends on social media were posting pictures of their Elf’s elaborate hi jinx , with props and characters and storylines. 

Year two I stepped up my game and too began posting pictures of my Elf doing silly things like drawing sunglasses and a moustache on my sons picture that hangs in the living room and having a marshmallow fight with our Nutcracker and even imitating Mylie Cyrus on her Wrecking Ball. 

Although this was fun and the kids loved finding what the Elf was up to every morning, my older son, who’s more than skeptic about the whole thing, named our Elf Santa Stalker because that’s basically the premise of the Elf who’s there to silently watch your every move.  I also suddenly found myself making up all kinds of elaborate stories about why the Elf didn’t move (someone must have gotten up to use the bathroom as he was leaving and he couldn’t move so he missed his ride) , why the Elf has tags ( because it’s part of their camouflage, if someone sees them they can pretend to be toys), Why there are boxes of Elfs at Indigo (that’s for families that don’t believe, but still want to play with the Elf)  and yes, you don’t  have to tell me that that’s probably not right and I shouldn’t feed my kids all this crap.. blah, blah, blah (and I say that with all due respect) but the truth is I Love the “magic of Christmas” the fact that it’s not real is exactly the point. For 4 weeks a year I get to create something unexplainable, something memorable, something just plain fun.

Except…. after last years Elf run, I made the mistake of putting him somewhere “safe”. So two days ago when it was time for Santa Stalker to make his big return, he was nowhere to be found.  You can’t imagine the panic I felt as I rummaged through my closet, the linen closet, the back of the bathroom cabinets and he was nowhere. My mind started to race. What if Baby Girl realizes it’s December 1st and  there’s no Elf , what do I say? This is where the elaborate story piece plays a part.

Here are the top 3  responses I was ready to give to Baby Girl: 

  1. Are you sure today is the 1st? No, I think there’s a mistake because last year was a leap year. ( I know this makes no sense but she’s only 6 and I could probably confuse her enough to get through a few more days)
  2. Well, since your brothers are teenagers now maybe Santa doesn’t have to send an Elf, since it’s only you he has to watch he can do it himself from the North Pole
  3. I read an article that Santa’s Workshop needs to reduce costs and he had to cut down on Elfs so now there’s only one Elf per street and I guess he’s just not at our house yet. 

Thankfully there was no need to actually use any of those explanations as Baby Girl woke up and went on with her day without saying a peep about the Elf. I on the other hand rushed home, running though the underground PATH to stop at an Indigo store near the Go train station to buy a new Elf. Do you have any idea what happens to me when I “panic shop”? I impulse buy. I went in for an Elf and came out, with an Elf (the Delux set with book and DVD) 2 blankets and an Elf hi jinx kit. Yuppp  you read that right. It’s a kit that comes with ideas for your Elf plus accessories like a candy cane grappling hook, an Elf harness and candy cane coloured rope etc.  My hope is that although I completely over spent, due to my own disorganization, that the ideas and accessories will take the stress over what to do with Elf away and perhaps take with it the need for the elaborate, let’s just call them what they are, lies in order to cover for Santa Stalker’s inconsistencies. I’ll keep you posted. 

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Unreasonable #1 – Lemon

I will be the first to admit that I can sometimes be somewhat unreasonable. I consider myself an emotional person and I don’t believe that there is room for ” reason” where emotions are concerned.  Mr. Libertydee and the kids like to call this unreasonableness “the crazies” but I have decided to celebrate my emotionally charged unreasonableness by starting to blog about these unreasonable reactions. 

Like GI Joe said “knowing is half the battle”  or Dr. Phil’s famous ” you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge” by identifying these “things” and writing about them perhaps I can change. Or… maybe not… 

So let’s start with unreasonable reaction #1 shall we.

 Let me set the stage. I’ve been sick, like flu sick and I had a bit of a rough day at work and tonight was my last improv class so we did a show for family and friends but my family wasn’t there because my son got sick. Anyway , I sucked it up for the show and got home after 10:00pm, I sat on the couch, alone, enjoying the peace and quiet and thought I’d make myself a cup of tea. I love my tea. Red Rose, a teaspoon of honey and a squeeze of lemon with a slice dropped in for dramatic effect. 

What could possibly go wrong, I’m alone, I’m making tea, not a care in the world right? Well let me remind you that this is about unreasonable reactions and let you know what happened next. 

I go over to the fridge to take out the lemon only to find…., ready?????? Wait for it……someone has already cut the lemon. Lengthwise! Who the F$&@k cuts a lemon like that? What kind of savage ruins my lemon like that?? Are you kidding me? What am I supposed to do now? Cut it into wedges?? I don’t want wedges! I want a slice in the shape is a circle for my tea!  

Upon reflection, I do think that may have been somewhat unreasonable as I am drinking a cup of tea with a wedge of lemon but although it tastes the same.. it’s just NOT the same. 

Bye Bye Bunny

It was a Monday just like any other Monday. I was running around the house looking for my cel phone, my keys, matching mittens for the kids and yelling at them to turn the T.V off because we were going to be late. On this particular Monday Mr. Liberty Dee had left the house a bit earlier than usual and I was feeling the angst of a usual unorganized Monday morning.

I finally asked my boys to go on ahead and get in the car while a corralled baby girl into her coat. The boys went out and within a minute were back in. The Plan simply said ” We have a problem”. Then he continued ” There’s a dead Bunny on the drive way”

Ever since we moved into this neighbourhood over a year ago I have been in awe of the amount of rabbits in the area. I am not well versed in all things rabbit so I don’t know what kind of rabbits they are. All I know is that they hop, wiggle their nose, have longs ears and are just so darn cute. I see a at least one or two a day and I just love them and  so does Baby Girl. So when I heard The Plan state there was a dead bunny on the drive way my mind automatically went to how I was going to protect my baby girl from the trauma of seeing a dead bunny.

I then proceeded to ask a slew of stupid questions like:

  1. What do you mean a dead bunny?
  2. Like dead dead?
  3. Are you sure its dead?
  4. Where is it dead?

As I write this I have realized that there was probably a very simple solution to the problem I was faced with. I am now thinking I should have left the kids in the house, gone out to find the bunny and removed the body. However hind sight is 20 / 20 because that is not at all what I did.

What I did do is come up with plan. I would hold Baby Girls hand and keep her close to me. I would shuffle along side ways to shield her from seeing the dead bunny, I would quickly get her in the car and quickly drive away before she saw anything. At the time it seemed like a logical plan, I realize now that I was under the influence of Monday morning, I am late, I  should not have stayed up watching Netflix.

I set out the front door with baby Girl in hand and as soon as I could see the drive way,  I saw the bunny. Well, not the whole bunny it looked more like an episode of Bugs Bunny when he pretends to die and stiffens his legs up in the air because that is all I could see in the snow., Two bunny feet up in the air. I turned sideways and began to shuffle along talking to Baby Girl trying to keep her busy. I made it to the car and as I was putting her in she caught a glimpse of the bunny with her peripheral vision. “Look Mommy, its a bunny”  ” Yeah sweetie it’s a bunny, we are late get in the car” I repositioned myself so that I would block her view. As I started to put her buckle on she turned her head toward the bunny and waved ” Bye, Bye Bunny”.

I finished bucking her in and slid the door closed.  I turned and finally got a good look at the bunny on the driveway. The poor thing had been run over. Mr.Liberty Dee had obviously been the cause of death as I could quite literally see the tire track where the bunny’s head had once been.  Usually the sight of this would have brought me to tears but as you moms know ,having kids gives us the ability to “suck it up” and act in the kids best interests (Or what we think is their best interest) In that moment I realized that I couldn’t simply drive away and leave the bunny there. Our house  is right by a path that the neighbourhood kids go by on their way to school and back. I couldn’t leave a squished bunny body there for the kids to see, I didn’t want to be known as the Bunny Killer house. I started looking around for a way to dispose of the body. I thought about getting a recycling bin from the side of the house to put it in but the snow was so high I couldn’t get around. As a matter of fact, as I looked around all I could see was snow. Then I spotted it. Our shovel had been left leaning against the wall by our front door. I went over, I grabbed the shovel and scrapped the bunny off the floor and onto the shovel. Then I thought “Now what?. I have the bunny on the shovel but what do I do with it”.  I had a bright idea. I dug a hole in the snow, dropped the bunny in and covered it with more snow. I finally exhaled and thought Mr Libertydee could figure out what to do with it that evening but for now the neighbourhood would never now what had happened.

I proudly put the shovel back, feeling pretty good that I had been able to handle the situation on my own and that I had managed to protect my baby girl from the terrible truth that is life and death. Or so I thought. I am not sure what I was thinking, as you may have already figured out on your own, my car has windows and so when I entered the car and sat down. My baby girl’s voice came from the back “Mommy? Why were you shoveling the bunny?”

 

What I’ve Gained is Much Greater than What I’ve Lost

I kind of fell of the map. I was blogging daily and then suddenly stopped. What happened you ask?
I lost 24lbs.
I initially started blogging to document my journey as I tried to get healthier and tried to take my family on the journey with me. I thought that if I could write about it and feel I was accountable to my readers that it would be easier to lose the weight and remain committed. But after weeks of blogging I was no further along in my weight loss and if you look back at my post you’ll notice I avoided the issue all together, Thank goodness that my kids offer up enough material that no one seemed to notice.
I started seeing a trainer on August 24th and as of today November 1 I have managed to lose 24lbs. I have never been able to lose so much weight so quickly and the best part is that I have never felt better. I’m not hungry, I’m not grumpy and my cravings are almost non existent…almost. I have complete eliminated refined sugar from my diet which is challenging especially f you refer back to my post: Why Work is making me Fat. In order to get around all the cake eating at work I now don’t sit at events and instead stand very close to the door. I stay for the presentation and necessary speeches but as soon as the cake starts being cut I make my exit. 

I weight train twice a week with my trainer, do cardio classes three times a week and have recently taken up hot yoga on Saturday mornings. (That experience is a blog all to itself. Stay tuned) It is amazing how far I have come physically in such a short time. I can keep up during the cardio classes and have moved up to some of the more challenging options in order to keep my heart rate up. I can feel muscle definition in my arms and sometimes when I pass a mirror I don’t even recognize the person on the other side.  Then this last Friday I checked my blood pressure and it turn out my heart rate has been reduced by 18 beats per minute.

But enough about the weight loss, something completely unexpected has happened, my kids are showing an interest in exercising. The boys have always been active in sports but now they want to do push ups and burpees. They like to grab my arms and feel my muscles. My Baby girl has even put on her shorts and joined me doing squats. MrLibertyDee is eating much better and has set up a gym in the garage and is using it.

I have spent years trying to get my family to eat better; I have spent endless hours telling the boys how important exercise is. I have spent the last 11 years taking care of the kids, the household and working full time but in all that time I was actually using these things as an excuse to not eat well myself ( “I have to eat on the go” ) I was making excuses to not go to the gym “ I cant’s just leave the kids” “I have laundry to do” “I need to spend sometime with my husband” “I’m too tired from work” “ I haven’t spent time with the dog” .

Then on August 24th I left the house to go meet my trainer. The kids lined up at the door like I was going off to war to say their goodbyes, MrLibertyDee made a face as I went out the door, but I left. I put it all behind me and I left. When I got back I was exhausted. I had not been physically challenged like that ever and I felt great. The next couple of visits to my trainer were pretty much the same but I kept going. Then one day, I left for the gym and everyone just said: “see you later mom” My excuses have stopped. There have been times I have to be at the gym at 6:00pm and I’m exhausted on the train and I stat thinking” maybe I’ll just go straight home” but then I force myself to go anyway and guess what I feel more energized by the time I get home. I caught a cold and again I thought maybe I shouldn’t work out but I pushed through and once at the gym I felt fine.

I have stopped telling everyone what they should eat. I have stopped telling them about the importance of exercise. I stopped worrying about them in that way and instead changed myself. Guess what’s happened?  I had been raising the kids in a “do as I say not as I do manner” without any success but now the kids see what I’m doing, see the results and want to do the same.

And so although I have lost 24 lbs, lost 2 dress sizes, and lost my excuses what I have gained is so much greater than what I have lost.

5 Really Stupid Reasons I Yell at the Kids

So how’s your Orange Rhino (No Yelling) challenge going you ask? Well let’s just say that my heart is definitely in the right place and that I am without a doubt yelling less.  That’s a step right? The part that is going really well is the fact that I am learning why I yell and what those things are that set me off.

I’m then able to take that information and make changes to avoid them or at least think of alternative ways to deal with them.  Let me give you a quick example. It used to be virtually impossible for me to leave the house in the morning without yelling at someone. I’m always running late and the kids take forever to get ready and get out of the house. I now (for the most part) make sure that I leave their clothes ready the night before as well as anything they may need to take with them. This has really helped to speed up my mornings and in turn I am yelling less.

When I do yell and of course deal with the subsequent guilt I am taking the time to figure out why it is that I shouldn’t have yelled.  (Let me tell you there have been a handful of times that I did yell and did not feel guilty about it. Like the time recently, when  Baby Girl bit The Plan like a crazed Pit-bull and I had to yell at her to release).

As part of this reflection I have found a few situations where I yell for really unnecessary and in truth really stupid reasons. Here is my list of the top 5 really stupid reasons I yell at my kids.

  1. They ask me the same question more than once. Ok, maybe twice or even three times. Regardless of how many times the question is asked this is a really dumb reason to yell at a child or anyone for that matter. Maybe they didn’t hear me, maybe they don’t know how else to make conversation or maybe just maybe they love the sound of my voice. Stupid.
  2. They yell at each other. Seriously? Do I really think that yelling at them because they are yelling is teaching them anything? Stupid.
  3. The TV, Video game, Toy is on too loud. I guess my philosophy on this one is to fight loud with loud? Stupid.
  4. They don’t want to do something that I think they will like. Well of course if I think it will be fun, then they are going to have fun. Even if I have to make everyone miserable in the process. Stupid.
  5. MrLibertyDee yells at them for something I think is unreasonable and I get so frustrated that he yelled at them that I turn around and yell at them. Yes I know. If anyone wants to give me the stupid award you can do so for this one.

The point is that now that I am aware that I do these stupid things I can work towards changing my behaviour. I’ll keep you posted.  I’m sure there will be another list coming.

Half Full

Ever since I wrote the blog about not having a bucket list, My Empty Bucket, I have started being more aware of the things I may want to do at some point. I also got a “talking to” from MrLibertyDee about how he found that post a real “downer” and that I have the bucket list concept all wrong. I decided to listen to him (he’ll be shocked to read that) So I have started thinking about the bucket list not so much from the “kicking the bucket” point of view but more like kicking a can down the street like I did as a kids just for fun.

Here is my list of things I have come up with so far that I would like to do at some point just for fun. In the spirit of keeping things positive I am not thinking about ti as my empty bucket but rater as my bucket being half full.

1. Pet a Horse – This should be relatively easy to do. I don’t have any desire to ride one but I would like get close to one and maybe pat it on the head orsomething.

2. Milk a Cow- Not sure how I would find a cow to milk but I’m sure there must be a farm somewhere not too far from me that could possible show me how to do it. Come to think about it, do people milk cows anymore? I always see those poor animals hooked up to those milking machines. I always felt like one of this cows when hooked up to my breast pump when the kids where infants. I hated that thing. I hope the cows don’t feel the same way.

3. Take a Disney Cruise – I guess I’ll have to start saving up for this one. I really like Disney and I have heard nothing but good things about their cruises. I’d love to do this with both sides of the family. Eating, drinking, and relaxing in the sun with two life-sized mice. What could be better?

4. Buy a Piano – Another thing I have to save up for. I took piano lessons from the time I was 9 until I was 13. I loved playing but didn’t like my piano teacher vey much. She had a habit of putting her hand in her blouse and playing with one of her breast while she talked. One day a button popped of her blouse and her boob just plopped out! She just kept talking, plopped it back in and carried on. I was out of there within a few weeks.
Now that I am much older I would like to take it up again and I think as long
as the teacher is either a man or wear’s a bra it shouldn’t be as traumatic.

5. Visit Italy – There is something about the Italian language that I just love. I’d love to spend time in Italy, exploring, eating and learning the language. MrLibertyDee and I had been planning a trip to Italy just before I found out I was expecting Baby Girl. Those plans got set aside but I’d still love to go.

6. Go Whale Watching – On a large boat. None of this going out in the water on a dingy and letting the whales push you around. I want to see the whales not be eaten by them.

7. Swim with the Dolphins – I’ll keep this on my list but my brother was recently attacked by a jelly fish and now I’m a bit nervous what lurks under the sea.

8. White Water Rafting – The only problem with this one as that I’ll probably have to go alone because there is no was MtLibertyDee would do this one. He is somewhat water adverse. I had plans to go with my brother but then ended up pregnant with The Plan and it never got rescheduled.

9. Buy a Car – I have a car now and have gone through the purchasing process a few times but it’s always been with my hubby. I want to save up, do the research, walk into a dealer on my own and walk away with my car. Yes I may choose it because I like the colour and it comes with a fancy mirror but it will be mine, mine, mine.

That’s it for now. Sorry I couldn’t make it a nice even 10 but I just can’t think of anything else. In outing this list together I have learned a little bit more about myself:

1. I obviously like animals
2. I obvioulsy like the water
3. I obviously shouldn’t plan any exciting trips or else I’ll end up pregnant.

Grandpa and the War of 1812

Last Month I wrote about some of my favorite family quotes in Why a Unicorn is Better Than a Pony and so I have decided to start a reoccurring Blog post made up of Quotes of the Month. My kids are always saying all kinds of things that I think are worth noting somewhere and once in a while I’ll even catch myself saying something to the kids that sound absolutely ridiculous.
So here we are. Below you will find the top quotes said by my family in the month of July.

1. We’re not wrestling. We’re hugging on the floor- The Plan_ in response to my ”STOP WRESTLING!” when I heard a commotion upstairs.
2. “Is that the war grandpa fought in?” – The Life_ as my husband talked to the boys about the war of 1812
3. “If you make me yell at you I’m going to kill you!” _ Me to the boys as they were getting “restless” in a hotel room we had been stuck in all day and I was ten days into my Orange Rhino Challenge.

This next one a small excerpt of a conversation between The Plan and The Life at the dinner table when the topic turned to how babies are made:

The Life – “So do they have to take their clothes off?”
The Plan – “This is what I don’t get. They don’t have to but they choooose to.
Technically they only have to take off their pants.

Join me again next month when one of my kids will say “blahblah blahblah blah
blah blah” (anyone out there know where that’s from?)

Why There’s a Bottle of Scotch on my Night Table

When I see my doctor for my yearly physical I always dread the question “do you drink?” I always go into a long story about how I don’t think I drink too much and then I go on to pretty much detail every drink I’ve had over the last year like I’m in confession or something.
I absolutely know that I could simply say yes or no but there’s something about my brain-to-mouth connection that just keeps my mouth moving once I start. About 5 minutes into my long winded drinking explanation she’ll usually cut me off and say something like ” so you have a drink once in a while”.
We have been having this same conversation for 11 years. Actually I guess It’s 8 years because I didn’t drink a drop of alcohol while I was pregnant. Although I craved red wine so strongly that it became a bit embarrassing for MrLibertyDee. Every time we went out to dinner or had an event and he left the table, he would come back to find me with my nose in his wine glass, inhaling deeply.

By this point you may be wondering then why is there a bottle of scotch on her night table if she’s supposedly not a big drinker?. The answer is this: Mosquito bites. It turns out that scotch is an amazing itch reliever.
I came back from my vacation with lots of mosquito bites on my legs and the itching was driving my crazy! I couldn’t find my “After Bite” itch ointment ( I remembered putting it somewhere safe which is similar to throwing something into a black hole because I rarely remember where that was) MrLibertyDee had the brilliant idea to “Google”  some home remedies and we were presented with three options
1. Aspirin – mash it up and apply to bites
2. Salt – mix it with a bit of water to create a paste and apply to bites
3. Alcohol- use a cotton swab and apply to bites

I didn’t have any Aspirin, the salt mixture sounded bit messy to apply to my legs and I didn’t have any rubbing alcohol. That’s when MrLIbertyDee had his second

brilliant idea. He pulled out a bottle of scotch and a roll of paper towels. I wet a paper towel with some scotch and held it to the bites. Within seconds, the itching stopped! It was a miracle!

I have suffered from mosquito bites all my life. I can be outside in a crowd of one hundred people and I will be the only one who gets bitten. Then the itching lasts for days, interrupting my sleep and making me cranky. By using the scotch, the relief was almost immediate. I woke up only once that night with some itching. I put some scotch on it and went back to sleep. The itching hasn’t bothered me again since.

The only draw back to this remedy is that it’s hard to convince people you are not a heavy drinker when your whole body smells like booze and you keep a bottle of scotch on your night table.

Do you have any strange but true remedies for bug bites?

Where’s My Eyebrow?

I am about to reveal something very personal and even a little bit traumatic for me.

I lost my right eyebrow.

Yup. You read that right. My eyebrow just disappeared right from under my nose, (well..not my nose cause if I had a brow under my nose that would be a mustache).
It started last summer when one day after a shower I noticed some of it missing right from the middle of the brow then next thing I know,  all that was left was the little poof by the bridge of my nose. It’s really quite inexplicable as I have had it looked at and  there is no” skin condition” in play  and although I do have hypothyroidism which can cause hair loss this seems unrelated as I am not experiencing hair loss anywhere else.
Part of me thinks this is some kind of karma thing because I was always very proud about the fact I had such lovely eyebrows that were always perfectly groomed without the need for any type of cosmetic intervention.
I was initially quite self conscious about it.  I tried to draw it back in but the only thing worse than two obviously fully drawn in eyebrows is one normal eye brow on one side and then a small poof and a drawn in line on the other. ( it was not a pretty picture)

I considered just removing the left one to at least have some symmetry but I just couldn’t bear to part with my one good brow. I then found a different solution.

I cut my hair and got bangs. Mind you, I had not had bangs since I was 10 but I did It and I thought I looked pretty good. My eldest, The Plan,  didn’t think so. He frequently made comments about how the bangs made me look strange. MrLibertyDee always said the right thing when I asked him about it but I’m not convinced he truly meant it.
I think I have since figured out what happened to the eyebrow. I rubbed it off.I have developed a habit that when I’m thinking or feeling stressed I rub my face and especially the right eyebrow area.  MrLibertyDee was the first to point it out and since becoming aware of it I have caught myself doing it often. I now stop myself and have noticed that my eyebrow has started growing back.

I have started to let my bangs grow out and today was the first day I wore my hair down without my bangs pushed over my forehead. I did still have to draw about 3/4 of the eyebrow in but when The Plan saw me ready for work this morning he said ” I like you better with your hair like that” “Really? “I replied. “Yes you look like a normal mom not like a one eyebrow-ed mom with weird bangs.” Well if that’s not a compliment I don’t know what is.
I’m hoping that my eyebrow is on the road to recovery and that one day when we are all a little older we can reminisce, and the kids can  say something like. “remember that time  your eyebrow fell out?”

You-must-never