Summer days!

Aah. Summer! ☉

School days, seemingly chaotic in the moment, are actually idyllic compared to the hot, non-routinized, always bumping into each other summer days. Whoever romanticized the summer hols mustn’t have had children! 

Sure there are isolated moments when kids aren’t fighting, and you have enough money to check off the bucket list of fun-time activities, and day camps are blissfully drama-free … but really? Those are the few moments that are social media snap worthy. 

My days revolve around a mix of device/tv time requests, shouting and frustrated kids, sunburns, too much indoor time, and a million freezies wrappers on every surface of the house. *not even exaggerating. 

Pinterest has some amazing “kids-get-device-time-if-all-these-things-are-done” lists that are so inspiring and so improbable that I just gloss over them when they creep across my feed. 

Until I decided to give it a try. I was tired of redirecting kids (ok, I was already tired of all the *imagined* redirecting) so I crafted up a list, and hung it by our whiteboard/listboard. 

There was a little bit of push back, I’m not gonna lie. My oldest also thought it was ridiculous for me to have a “notes and comments” section. 

It’s been a few days and it’s been so well received! Kids are avoiding devices first thing in the morning. They discuss which jobs will get done. We discuss how this helps the whole family. They play outside together. They share books. 

Let’s hope this continues! We may run out of jobs around the house hahaha!
Just kidding. We totally won’t.

Xo Mto3

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Lazy kidless Saturdays… just baking up doggy treats

Trio are with their dad (read about my intentions here) and for this visit I wrote out some ideas of what I could do while they’re away.

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Lofty, to say the least

Well, I have about 30 hours until I’m trio-ed up again and, I’m sure you savvy readers have noticed, there is nothing yet crossed off.

However! I have done other stuff. And I contemplated writing these items on the list, just for the satisfaction of being able to record and remove list items (oh come on, we all do it.) but did not.

One of the things I have done:

This morning Pup-po and I made him some doggy bikkies. I thought of you, and wondered whether you’d like this perfect time-killer to fill up the edges of time in your world when you’re looking to ignore more productive things-you-should-be-doing. It’s easy enough so you think “Oh, that’s a small thing and it will make doggy so happy!” and yet active enough so you’re not ruminating or dwelling or listlessly (ha!) staring at the wall [hm, i’m sure there’s a better joke in there for a better joker. LMK if you see it and can articulate it]

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Easy ingredients, right? If your dog tolerates wheat better than mine, please use that. My lil dude seems to have an sensitivity to it. I swirled up 1/3 cup of rolled oats to become more flour-like.

We need a cup of something – I just used a trifecta of binding agents that I had on hand: 1/3 cup of ground up oats, 1/3 cup of whole oats, 1/3 cup quinoa flour – you can use whatever you like. I wanted to channel my Tasty capabilities, so I used the smaller glass dish and poured that trifecta into said dish.

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Next is some baby food, or that amount of pureed anything. I had peas and bananas on hand, so I figured a peas-and-carrots bikkie might be nice for him. I grated in a 1/3 cup of raw carrot (it was half-a-carrot, but my carrot was kinda small).

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I am a *HUGE* cinnamon lover. Everything gets a dash. I was a little worried how it might taste with the peas and carrots, but then I realized that this is a dog cookie. He’s not going to care! I added cinnamon, but only after I accidentally used nutmeg (a total fail) because I put the nutmeg canister where the cinnamon usually lives. Sigh. I carefully scraped out the nutmeg and sprinkled in about 1/2 teaspoon.

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It came together ok. I let it sit, thinking that the oats could absorb some of the baby food. But it never really got much drier. I probably should have used more flour (but srsly. Quinoa flour is super expensive) but did not use any more, and it’s FINE!

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I even bought a cute little bone cookie cutter just for him. Bake it in a 350 deg oven (or if yours runs hot like mine, 325, otherwise they get brown and crispy at the edges, and chewy in the centre. Unless you think your friend will like them that way. I feel as though an all-the-way crispy bikkie would be good, and that way I can just leave them in a paper bag on the counter) for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Let me know what combinations you used! I think I might try peanut and banana next.

 

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Poor dude just wanted his cookie, and I chased him down saying “Wait! Wait! Sit! ah-ah! Sit!” just for the photo!

He’s such a trooper “D’oh, ok mom. Fine.”

 

Reblogged: She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

This is an amazing post – the discussion (and metaphor! It’s a metaphor!) about what sometimes happens in a marriage and why they go south. Great piece with an opportunity to do a little self-reflection and digging.

(And my Humanist side feels that it’s not just always he who leaves the dishes… sometimes it is she. But again- metaphor.)

Source: She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

Thanks Matt!

 

(ps. if you can wade through the comments, please do so: you might find there is some hilarity, some gems, and some ridiculousness)

 

xo

Cue the dad…

Tomorrow marks one of the two weeks when trio’s dad comes into town. I have my heart in my throat – I’m getting ready to miss them, and I’m getting ready to have some time to myself.

It’s a weird mixed bag of emotions – and I wonder whether other parents feel this way, regardless of how frequently kids are with the other parent. I struggle between wanting to “use” this time for myself and only myself, and do things around the house that I don’t normally have time to do.

Things I wonder if I will do while trio are with their dad:

  • De-clutter the basement: It’s a terrible mix of my work stuff, their lego, and miscellaneous storage-d items
  • Finally vacuum the basement: I can’t even see the floor most times
  • Go for a massage! Ooh! A little bit of pampering
  • Take pup-po for a long walk every afternoon: with no dinners to make, I will have time
  • Paint my bedroom: this would feel so good to accomplish!
  • Go out for dinner by myself: have you ever done that? {nose wrinkle} I would love to, I never have done it and I feel it is a rite of passage
  • Re-paint the baseboards on the mainfloor: I didn’t know *this* was a thing, I’m embarrassed to say. I usually ignore baseboards.
  • Practice Yoga in the living room!
  • Empty their closets and re-organize them

I don’t usually make lists about what I can do when they’re with their dad. Until this last visit (or the one before it…), they usually don’t have sleepover. Because they’re too young, because they don’t know him well, or because … maybe some other reason. So if I made a list and they called for me to collect them, I might feel unhappy or annoyed or dissatisfied that the week didn’t go as I planned.

So, what I usually do when trio are with their dad:

  • Read on the couch: this feels like *such* a luxury!
  • Go to bed early (when it’s a sleepover)
  • Catch up on pinterest: and then I imagine all my de-cluttering feats
  • Eat cereal for dinner: why bother cooking? All those dishes and time…
  • One big room clearing-out in the house: their bedrooms, the living room repainted (it’s only been 3 times that they’ve been away long enough for me to start and finish a task)
  • Do some knitting or crochet: it’s almost meditative
  • Talk to trio every night (when it’s a sleepover): or worse, not at all

My knitting nest

I don’t really do anything. I may go out for dinner with a girlfriend or a sister. I may finish reading a novel. I may start a novel after lollygagging around the library.

With trio not being present for an extended period of time, it’s almost as though my motivation to do anything leaks out of my feet. And when they come home each night after dinner to sleep and get ready for school the next day, the whole routine is off. Its like I’m just waiting for them to come home so we can continue our lives after the cameo appearance of their dad.

I never intended to be that type of mother: she who’s life is so subsumed in her children. But again, I never intended to be a solo mother: she who’s life must be [momentarily] subsumed into her childrens’.

 

Soundbite: Since separation nearly 9 years ago, their dad lives on the absolute other side of the country and will travel in with his wife twice a year to visit his family and trio. The time during the week is usually from after school until after dinner, so the weekend will be for sleepovers at his family’s house. 

A moment in which to luxuriate

Empty plates? Cold veg in the serving dish? Salt on the table cloth and warm milk in the bottom of the plastic cups.

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…and with all that, a corner has been turned.

Trio and I will chat, and laugh, and discuss the coming week, ask questions, and connect in the aftermath of dinner. The cooling plates cozied between our elbows on the table. The crispy bits of the roast being picked at between comments. The napkins being folded, and unfolded, then folded again while we consider interesting points of views. We bang our feet against each others’ under the table, or tickle ankles with our toes, or touch the shoulder of the person sitting beside us this meal.

It certainly doesn’t feel very long ago that meals were nearly untenable marathons of repositioning bums, picking up forks, feeding babies then toddlers then babies again, getting drinks of milk (no! Not that cup!), and ketchup (always ketchup).
I had a love-hate with my self imposed insistence that we sit at the table and enjoy dinner together. It certainly wasn’t in deference to my cream love seat and all that ketchup.

Being outnumbered as a single parent means, for me, that our connection to each other as a set of four is paramount. There are many ways to connect one-on-one. But in a group, there aren’t many experiences as binding as preparing food, eating together, and then cleaning up together. It is different than any other activity we do as a group. At a deeper level, we seem to understand we are nourishing each other – that we are giving and creating something more than playing a board game or shoveling the driveway (important family stuff, abso!!).

To just be together in those after moments: we’re choosing to stay together, even though we’ve finished eating, to maintain this closeness, this full feeling. It’s an unexpected gift as a parent.

Keeping it real: we fought throughout the whole KP duty. I felt trio knew enough about what cleaning meant to handle it while I took Pup-po out for his business  (biting cold and an uncooperative dog grumped me up by the time I finally got back in the house and saw trio had done very little KP) … so there *might* have been some nattering and griping and grumpiness during the clean up.

… and then reconnection again at bedtime when we all piled into my bed to look at pictures and snuggle a bit…

30 Days of Gratitude – day 27

Whoo. Today was a tough one. I’ll say it straight up: I cried. In front of trio. Like, snuffly, red faced, kleenex worthy crying.

It was just too much. It was a day off for them, I had lofty goals of doing a million things (on my whiteboard list!), and needed to brave the black-friday traffic for groceries.

Right off the smash, trio made it clear they’d rather veg out all day. And the “quick” outdoor tasks I needed to do before the rain came proved to be more challenging than I anticipated. And then the rain came before we finished.

And then I cried.

There was a little bit of feeling-sorry-for-myself (If I had a partner, I wouldn’t have to choose between groceries or putting the cover on the air conditioner or the classic If I was a better mother, the house wouldn’t be so messy)… and a lot of feeling so responsible for everyone and everything, and to do it all within an arbitrary time line… Sigh!

This morning proved to be a great opportunity to practice mindfulness and meditation. I told trio what I was feeling, and how my thoughts were racing into the future and landing on all the challenges. And it really did feel like a time to try out breathing and actually stopping for a moment to just let the challenging emotions pass through me.

Well. I’m grateful today for many things. I am lucky to have so much that it can become messy. I’m grateful that trio are compassionate and empathetic. I’m also grateful that I have space in my heart to practice being “in the moment.”

Aaaand!  We still managed to cross items off the list!!