Thursday, 24 July 2014

What's in a Name?

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - William Shakespeare

In my case, it doesn't feel that way.  (Warning: I am actually seeking advice, though it may seem like I'm only ranting irrationally)

Here is my predicament - almost six years ago, when I was married, I decided too hastily to hyphenate my name to reflect my maiden name and my husband's last name.  Now my children also have hyphenated last names...predating the wedding, so I figured I would be all matchy-matchy with them.  I quickly, in my post wedding bliss, reflected this name change on Facebook (because things aren't official unless they are on Facebook!).

Fast forward a bit, and I realised that I really wanted to just keep it simple and stick with my maiden name. Years ago, I had been warned by one married woman of the hassle that is involved with legally changing one's name, so thankfully I never changed my official name.  Thankfully.

All correspondence reflected this epiphany, every RSVP to a wedding, Christmas Card, school form, email, etc. contained my original name.  I figured that I had been a Henderson for 35 years, that's who I am and always will be.  Yet, I still met with such resistance from people.  Some people refuse to accept this fact.  I find it so odd.  I read in Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th Edition - Manners for a New World that women should be addressed by the name that they choose, yet some people STILL insist on addressing me by the name THEY choose -  my husband's name. And I'm not talking people that don't know that I still go by my maiden name, I'm talking about people that simply don't care about my wishes.  We're not playing house here people! I'm allowed to choose my own name! My absolute favourite is wedding RSVPs.  It's almost like a game to see if people actually read the RSVP which clearly states my actual name....always an adventure to see what my name will be on the table plan.

Now, I know I'm sounding bitter.  I'm really not.....well, maybe a bit.  Afterall, the fact that people are imposing their views on what I am called, though I realise does not reflect who I am, is still irksome. But that is not what this post is about.  My predicament is that I feel like I'm sending mixed messages because my Facebook name is still the hyphenated name of my post wedding delirium.  I need to change it, but I don't know how to do so without offending people, or without starting the rumour mill that a divorce is looming on the horizon.  There is the alternate name feature, where a name in brackets appears below your actual name. I am wondering if that is a good option for me. Though my initial thought was to put "Not and so" in the brackets, that may be seen as offensive to the very people I am trying not to offend.  Do I simply change my name and not put an alternative name, using the no fuss no muss approach? Do I use the alternate name feature and simply put the hyphenated name to keep my husband's family from gossiping about me? Do I just change my name to "Jane Doe" and run away to Costa Rica? This is seriously stressing me out! STRESSING. ME. OUT. BIGTIME.

Help me, Obiwan, you're my only hope! I hope that someone with a clear logical head can help me. It would be such a hassle to have to get a passport in order to flee the country.  Especially if I were to legally change my name to Jane Doe.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Three (or Four) Things

I can't believe that it is already July 22nd. How did that happen?

My children are complaining about the lack of excitement in their summer.  My original plan was to give them a 1970's summer as advised by Melissa at 4boysmother, but that fell by the wayside as soon as summer actually began.  Especially once I realised that my cable provider no longer carries TV Land (What the hell, Rogers? What the hell?).

Of course, the children have done tons of things, but not enough apparently.  Two of them currently have fevers, so I really have no idea what they are expecting, but I have learnt to not to question the delirious minds of feverish children, so I ignored the sleepovers, cottage, pool, park and ice cream trips. Though much to their annoyance I brought up, as exciting activities of the summer,  my recent ultrasound, hospital appointments for two of them (dislocated/fractured elbow checkup for one and neurologist for another) and my check-up.  They didn't find me very funny, though Kiki found me hilarious.

Pre-fever, I came up with a brilliant idea.  An evil brilliant idea to occupy some of their time AND to have them keep their brains working during the summer months. I asked the children to come up with three things that they wanted to know more about.  It could be a person, a place, an animal, an invention...anything that they were curious about.

Well, Kiki was busy with her World Religion online course and grumbled something along the lines of not having time.  Whatevs...18 year olds that are taking a course that interests them in summer school are allowed to forgo research projects disguised as fun...I suppose.  Mexi was sleeping and I'm pretty sure would find the idea less than appealing.  Afterall, anything that she wants to figure out is as close as the Google home page.

The three little ones were quite enthusiastic though.  YAY! So enthusiastic that my aptly named "Three Things" project became not aptly named when all three chose FOUR interests. They are looking forward to heading to the library and finding books on their chosen subjects. I mean we could just go online, but the library is much more fun for them and it counts (at least in my mind) as a summertime field trip.

So, I'm sure you're dying to hear their topics of interest! Here they are:
Miss Hollywood chose Tigers, Amelia Earheart, Africa, and the Moon.
Boy 1 chose Greek Mythology (which he already knows tons about), Egypt, the Sun, and Jackie Robinson.
Boy 2 chose Albert Einstein, the Statue of Liberty, Koalas, and How The Earth Moves.

Luckily we already have books on the people that were chosen, so they can have a head start while they hopefully make speedy recoveries....and as we await for Mr.O to become ill too. (We all know it's bound to happen).

I find it cute that we have the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth involved.  They inspired each other with those choices! I think it will be fun for them to tell each other what they have learned.  Hoping everyone is well enough to get to the library later this week.

By the way, all three books that we own are 5% off on the Chapters Indigo website for my Canadian Friends. I love this whole series of books.  And more importantly, so do the children!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

When Anxiety Rears Its Ugly Head....Celebrate National Ice Cream Day!

Oh Anxiety, what would we do without you?

Well, today, we wouldn't have had delicious sundaes from McDonald's!

First let me take you back to last year.  A local church was having an Egyptian Festival, which piqued the interest of Kiki and Boy 1. Both are interested in history and the Boy just loves Egypt in particular (though Greece is his absolute favourite).  Unfortunately, last year Miss Hollywood was ill and we were unable to go.  So, this year, when the flyer for the Festival arrived in the mail box, we were giddy at the prospect of finally going.

Things didn't go quite as expected.....

First of all, as I stated yesterday, my two eldest girls were off to their grandparents for Friday night and most of Saturday. This left today, Sunday, as our day to enjoy the Festival.  Uh-huh.  Well, that was the plan. After getting four of my children out the door a couple minutes later than we had hoped, we arrived at St.Mary's Church, the location of the Festival.  Pulling into the parking lot, I first noticed a group of people, in the little yard.  People that obviously knew each other.  Hmmm, I thought.  Then I glanced up at the back of the church, where the entrance was located.  There were more people gathered....they all knew each other too.  They all looked as though they regularly attend St. Mary's.  They all looked Egyptian and that they were just attending their normal Sunday at church, which happened to be celebrating their culture this weekend. Now for a shy person like me, this was NOT cool.  Perhaps, if I had brought a group of people, it would have been fine.  I was interested in seeing all of the neat stuff that was advertised in the flyer, but felt very much like an outsider attending a church function.

I took a deep breath was getting ready to park the car, when Kiki had the biggest panic attack.  I mean, she slunk down in her seat and tried to hide, while constantly saying, "I can't do this, I can't do this..." And so I awkwardly, did a 3 point turn with curious eyes watching me, from both the back seat of my van and from the parishioners outside the car.

Instantly, I went into quickly-let's-come-up-with-a-new-plan mode. I immediately thought about the free McDonald's ice cream cone coupons that I had at home.  Then, I thought, screw it - let's go for ice cream sundaes instead! Now, Miss Hollywood never wanted to come to the festival, Boy 1 did not seem to mind after all, once he saw that the church had nothing Egyptian looking on the outside. Only Boy 2 was a bit ticked off.....until he heard about the ice cream.

I then took the children to beautiful Andrew Haydon Park.  It is gorgeous and peaceful there (future blog post to come shortly about the beauty of the park). The children didn't appreciate the view as much as I did. Boy 1 at one point exclaimed, "I feel like we're barbarians, out in the wild!".  (Someone has had a wee bit too much computer time over the past few days!!) Within five minutes, the same child was yelling, "This is the best place in the world!!!", as he discovered the wonderful play structures on the grounds.

Eating Sundaes on a Sunday

What fun it was to watch my children run and giggle while playing tag and, later, Sandman.  Of course, they squabbled during the games as well, but regardless, fun was had by all.  Even my 18 year old was running and playing.  It left me feeling grateful for my precious babies.  It made me feel blessed to have this life. And extremely fortunate that we didn't go to the festival, but instead spontaneously made our own fun.

Boy 1 & Kiki exploring the play structure.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Blame It On Maggie..

Sounds scandalous, doesn't it?

Well, it isn't really. Maggie is the name of our van. She is my faithful companion. I use her to chauffeur around my babies, to run countless errands, to travel to fun and adventurous places, and to go grocery shopping every Saturday morning.  Every single one.  Drop off hubby at work at 8:50 and then off to FarmBoy and to the supermarket. Every week is the same.  Except this one.  My eldest girls were off to their grandparents and it was just me and the three younger ones. I awoke early, as usual - stupid internal clock, and made the decision that I would allow my darlings to relax, Miss Hollywood could sleep in, and I would let hubby take Maggie to work, leaving me van-less for the day.

It is amazing the amount of work that I could get done when I didn't have to shop or drive the children wherever they needed to be taken. By 9:15, I had caulked around the bay window sill, otherwise known as the Kitty Counter. The kitty counter had been tiled three months ago. Finally, it has been caulked.  While in the kitchen I did general tidying and I even scrubbed the floor Cinderella style. Upstairs, in the boys' room, I hung a picture and a clock that had been waiting for me to pay them attention for quite a while. I moved responsibility charts that were too accessible to the babies I watch. I swept the stairs. I did laundry. It felt good to accomplish things, despite the children and pets trying to thwart my efforts every step of the way!

I started not only reclaiming the house that has become overwhelmed since the children started summer vacation, but I got to cross some items off my long term to do list that I had been procrastinating doing.  I accomplished so much that I may just let hubby take Maggie more often.

Caulking is not the ideal pastime for those with OCD tendencies

Boys' Room finally getting some finishing touches

Monday, 3 March 2014

Words of Inspiration and What To Do With Them

I have a confession.  I'm an inspirational quote addict.  I can be found downloading inspirational quotes from Facebook and Twitter daily. I just love them. Here is my favourite from today:

Yes, quotes in chalkboard writing appeal to me the most.   It's an illness, really.  All I can say is that I'm lucky my printer is broken, or else I would probably have these babies pinned up all over my house.

Really, I'm not sure that would be such a bad thing, because though these lovely words fill me with hope and determination, the craziness of day to day life cause me to quickly forget them.  And I NEED the reminder that I am strong and capable and more than what I seem.  I need that reminder to strive daily for greatness. To be the woman that I was meant to be in this one precious life I have.  To seize each day.  To practice patience. To forgive. To love myself.

So, maybe I will choose some of my favourite quotes, get them printed and decorate my home with them, so that life doesn't get in the way of remembering to live each day to the fullest.  And eventually, these reminders will become constant conscious thoughts.  And I will be able to embrace the wonders of each day, and, more importantly, embrace the beauty that is my life.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Empowerment of Stepping out of My Comfort Zone

Even when I was more social, there was still the anxiety, though that's not what it was called back then.  It was called being shy. I was shy until I got to know people and hated walking into rooms even if I knew everyone there.  It wasn't until my daughter was diagnosed with extreme social anxiety that I realised that I had it too.

Since that women's dinner last year, my social calendar has definitely blossomed (mostly due to the same woman that invited me out that night).  She will invite me to lunch or dinner at a nearby restaurant/micro brewery, where we chat about our lives, watch hockey games and laugh a lot.  But, this past weekend, I actually went to a girls dinner at another acquaintance/friend's house.  I got this random invite on Facebook a few weeks ago.  The inner shy girl screamed, "DON'T DO IT!!!!!!".  The social butterfly wannabe had different ideas.  Now, I knew this girl, but we aren't besties.  We have attended the same weddings and stag & does. We are beyond acquaintances, in the fact that we hug, but not friends to the point that we have ever gone out together that did not include mutual friends.

Daily, I checked the Facebook event page, trying to see if the few people that I did know that were invited, were in fact attending.  Only one was (and for the record, she ended up not coming because her car wouldn't start, so I did this all by myself! I'm so proud of me!). By the day before the party, I was in a pure state of panic.  I was suddenly making excuses why I might not be able to go. ( I was cramping, the weather might not be good, etc). I stayed strong and refused to let myself off the hook.  I knew that if I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone, that the reward would be worth it.  And it was.

I scheduled my time well that afternoon, dropping children off at their perspective friend's houses, picking up a bottle of wine and gassing up the car.  The roads were busy and I started losing confidence, but once I was on the highway, I felt relief.  My goal was to get there early enough that I wasn't stuck walking into a room full of people.  And it worked! I was the second car there and the third guest.  The hostess' husband was outside when I arrived, so I didn't even have the chance to worry once I got out of the car.

As for the party itself, what a blast!  Put a bunch of women together and that is bound to happen. And better than that, it opened up the door for more fun, as I have invited the hostess and her hubby to come to our house for the evening.  Just have to figure out a date....and what to serve....and who else to invite......whatevs, it will be amazing.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Channelling My Inner Betty Draper

I'll let you in on a little secret....I actually (sometimes) enjoy cleaning.  Well, perhaps not entirely the act itself, but nothing beats a clean house.  I just feel happier when everything is in its place and there isn't a layer of dust on my furniture or dog hair tumble weeds rolling around my house. I love rushing down to the laundry room with a fresh tin of laundry soap (Nellie's is my fave).  I'm really odd that way.

Of course, I am the mom of five, six if you count my husband, so my house is not usually in the state that would make me happy.  My eldest will help with the cleaning if I ask. She doesn't do a great job, mind you, but it's nice that she is helpful, even though she would rather be on tumblr.

In a family of seven, my house is rarely company ready (though it has been two days this week!).  Or it doesn't last after 5 minutes of the children walking through the front door after school. This can be so disheartening.  And lets not even mention the bedrooms.  I have a panic attack when I'm on the bedroom level of my home.  It's just so overwhelming.  And being overwhelmed can lead to inaction on my part.

Now, I have discovered a secret about myself.  On the days where I wake up and get all dolled up and put on my pretty apron (now I wear my Ruby Woo lipstick too), it all seems so much more pleasurable.  I feel like Betty Draper, when she still was Betty Draper and not married to Henry.  I find joy in cooking eggs for my darling children before sending them off to school.  I happily dust, sweep, vacuum and fold laundry.  Now, hell would freeze over before I waited on hubby hand and foot, but at least he can be happy to come home to a clean house.  It reminds me of Mary Poppins singing a spoon full of sugar to get the children to clean up the nursery.  Playing the role of a glamourous housewife of days long ago, makes scrubbing the faucet with a toothbrush seem noble; it makes a shiny kitchen sink seem to be the secret of lifelong happiness.

I remember watching a talk show once (possibly Ellen?) on which Emily Procter from CSI Miami spoke about how she always wears a tiara when she's doing her housework.  Ms. Procter, I believe you are a genious.  Brilliant thinking!

That being said, I'm not quite sure where I hid my tiara, so I will now change out of my sweats into some prettier clothes, put on my face (and my apron, of course) and make this house company ready once again.

Now if only I had company coming over..........

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Search for the Perfect Red

Tuesday was behaving like a typical Monday.  One of those blah days, in which getting out of bed seems like the biggest of life's struggles.  Add to that some January Blues (it's so ridiculously cold out there!) and lazy me just want to cuddle up on my couch.  There I was checking my email and from one of the umpteenth companies that send me email I never read, I actually decided to click on a link about red lipstick and how EVEN I could wear it.

Fast forward several wasted hours, and I had researched red lipsticks and skin types and I had it narrowed down to two classics, Ruby Woo and Russian Red, both by MAC.  I had also hatched a plan! My eldest DD had been itching to go out and purchase some new headphones, so I had an excuse to leave the house. I would just "check" the colour to see which one I like best, as online research can only go so far.

I'm sure that you all know how this story ended and it didn't involve simply checking anything out.  I must have looked quite the site.  I must have looked quite the site in my big warm coat and purple headband trying on red lipsticks.  Next time I have to remember to dress the part of sophisticated make-up connoisseur instead of frazzled mismatched housewife.

As per usual, the make-up lady recommended the colour for the darker skin colouring.  They always do.  Must be my hair and eye colour.  They always put too-dark foundation on my face that make me look somewhat orange.  Drives me nuts.  In the winter I have pale, fair skin.  Just because I'm a brunette....oh whatever.  I tried on the Russian Red.  It was pretty.  Then I tried on the Ruby Woo.  DD and the make-up lady immediately said that that was the ONE.  It is so pretty.  I felt glamourous in my sweats and purple headband.  My confidence was even pumped up more when MAC lady told me that I have the perfect lips to wear red lipstick.

Not sure what the peeps at Best Buy thought of my bright lip colour...Need to get used to it.  I kind of kept my eyes down, but I wore it again yesterday and plan to again today! Housework is much more fun when you look good. Hubby is getting suspicious about me dolling myself up all of the time. It honestly just make me feel more confident and happier overall.  And there's nothing wrong with that!

Tried to take a selfie of me wearing my fancy Ruby Woo, but my kitten, Fergus, had other ideas.

At least you can see the pretty colour.....

.....or not!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Spontaneous Tea Time

Happy Saturday!

Well, it is now. Today didn't start out on the right foot, but a simple cup of tea has turned all of that around. 

For the record, my mood was fine, but a nasty headache was hampering my enjoyment. (It was an ice pick headache which is most unpleasant and was interfering with the vision in my right eye.)

Despite this, or perhaps because I was grateful to pawn off my children for the afternoon in exchange for some peace and quiet, I was once again Chauffeur Mommy. And of course these visits could not be coordinated for the same time. So off I went with Boy 2, followed by a half hour lie down in hopes of letting the ibuprofen kick in, and then I took Miss Hollywood off to her friend's house to work on a school project. After chatting for a few minutes in the foyer, I was invited in for a cup of tea. I looked like hell, but thought why not. And just like that, without any pre-planning I was able to be social. Able to be more than a mom. Woot! 

It was so nice and relaxing and I'm envious of her gigantic kitchen in which we were able to chit chat and make plans to go garage saling in the spring. My headache all but disappeared. Then I came home......

Friday, 10 January 2014

Should Have Worn My Fat Pants

Last night was a wonderful evening. I was lucky enough to get to go out to The Keg Manor for dinner (and I didn't have to pay!)

First of all, let me say, what a gorgeous building. The restaurant is in an old manor named Maplelawn that was built between 1831 and 1834. I love homes from that time frame. The details in the architecture and decor were breath taking for me. 

Then, there was the food. One of my dinner mates insisted that I get the French Onion soup as a starter. Big mistake. I think I was full after that and I only had half of the bowl of soup! The staff was lovely and made me a vodka gimlet, even though it wasn't on the menu. I was able to channel my inner Betty Draper. 

For my main meal, I chose a filet mignon wrapped in applewood bacon and a twice baked potato as my side.  It was beyond scrumptious. For dessert (of which I should not partaken), I had a lovely Creme Brûlée.  And a specialty coffee too, of course. I think I ordered the b-52 coffee, but honestly at that point I was so outrageously full that I thought I was going to die. 

All in all, despite my gluttony, I had a fabulous evening. The food, drink, atmosphere, conversation and our server, Jason, were perfect. 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Quirky Plan or Pure Genius

Christmas is over, January is here and I'm still feeling blue. Now, I know it could just be the winter blues, but if I'm honest with myself, I know it's not. 

The lack of purpose is strong and I need to figure out which direction I should choose next for my life. I need a greater purpose than simply "Momming". Quite frankly my Momming is suffering by being in this funk. But before I pull up my big girl panties and face the road ahead, I have decided to have a good old fashioned day of wallowing. I find that the majority of my days are filled with tasks to keep me busy in an attempt to not have to face up to things....feelings, is all avoided. 

So I'm setting aside a day to just sulk. Sulk about the weather. Sulk about roads not taken. Sulk about sulking. I'll eat ice cream and cuddle under a blanket and cry and watch sappy movies and face it all head on. 

I think I deserve at least one day of that before heading down the next road.