A Plate of Oatmeal Cookies and Dinosaurs- My Housewife Life

In this big vast world, full of countless roads with houses and even more people in those houses, is a place few people have seen. My home.

While the rest of the world was moving, I was quietly sitting still, on the couch, stroking my two year old son’s soft brown hair. His forehead was slightly too warm. I have been indoors with sick kids for two weeks already. It was a cold white winter day in this part of the world, and the snow was shovelled high on our road. My older son was finally feeling better. He had put both legs in one pant leg and dumped every toy he owns on the floor as proof of his new found health. My younger son had taken over the “sick seat” on the couch, cuddled next to me. It was nearing lunchtime.

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Twenty minutes later I smelled something burning. The timer had not yet gone off! I took out the cookie sheet of oatmeal cookies. I can only describe them as a solid mass of something “edible”. The balls I had rolled were melted into one big thin sheet of cookie. Once cooled, they were not bad. A bit chewy but the flavour was okay. However, my enthusiasm skills clearly need practice as my boys were not convinced that this offer was so grand after all. What kind of mother am I? How do I fail so badly at cookies? Especially when my kids have been so sick?! Note to self: always have a batch of store bought cookies hidden somewhere as back up. I’ll just scrap the idea of trying to make EVERYTHING from scratch. Reality check here, just having a reality check. Both boys refused to even try the cookies.  Guess who ate half the batch by herself?

So the excitement of the cookies was short-lived and we were all back on the couch. The sickly two year old had fallen asleep. The four year old grabbed a dinosaur fact book and wanted me to read to him. His favourite pages are the ones that show the internal anatomy of the dinosaur and the page that shows the extinction theories. He loves fire and hot lava. As I read, my four year old burped the word “ouch” in my ear. I looked at him. He was already looking at me, small corners curved up, pleased with himself and his recently discovered talent. Will I ever get used to spontaneously burped words in my ear?

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I looked outside our front window. The snow kept falling. The occasional car drove by. I am a stay at home mom. I should not feel so insignificant but I often do. There are moments, like today, when I ‘let’ the world go on without me, I stop chasing after it. I realise I am wanted and needed right here, taking care of these special little boys. Not much happened today, but that is what it is sometimes.

And in this house, our home, that sits on a street I never knew existed until I moved in, is our world.

I Used To Dream Of Paris

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Years ago while living in London, I got bit by the travel bug. While working and pursuing a degree, I booked flights to places like Greece, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Sweden to name a few. I loved experiencing their food, the textures of the land, their skies and the sounds on the streets whether it was quiet or busy or just the sound of the sea. My bucket list of places I wanted to visit was a long one.

When I met my husband, he also wanted to see the world. I imagined us going to the same places I had already been to, and then we would explore new countries together. Our dreams were big, ambitious and I was excited! We chose Paris as our first destination. We looked at hotels, things to do, and train tickets. But we never booked anything.

With marriage and family life, we knew we may have to hold off for a little while. And that was okay. We were happy to be blessed with our two little boys. When our second son was born, my husband was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition. And sometimes life does that to us. We make plans, dream, achieve some goals, and then we get thrown a curveball. We never made it to Paris.

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I recently had a conversation with a friend who said:

“YOU WILL DREAM NEW DREAMS”

She was right. The travel bug got buried. My dreams no longer contain stamped passports and foreign cheese. Living on the other side of the world now, my bucket list has changed. Every country has delicious food to be savoured. No matter where we are, every sunset on the horizon is beautiful. It’s not where we are, it is who we are sharing it with.

The other day as I walked down the picture frame aisle, I saw a lovely picture of the Eiffel Tower. The image of my husband and I sitting at a table eating bread and cheese al fresco at candlelight crossed my mind. I picked up the picture. $6. Cheaper than a flight! I added it to the cart. I went next door to the grocery store and picked up a few items for dinner. That night I fed the kids early so my husband and I could eat alone. I propped up the picture of the Eiffel Tower on our dining room table. I also placed a small vase of greenery as part of the centrepiece and lit some candles. Candlesticks that looked similar to the ones we had for our wedding. I had a bread basket with cut up baguettes, and a serving tray of different cheeses including Brie. I even put on some makeup and my jeans. Would our conversations have been so different if we were actually in Paris? Would the bread and cheese taste that much better? I’m sure our dinner would not have been interrupted with the children running back and forth to get their noses wiped, or to stop them from hitting each other or to suddenly run one to the potty. What I am sure of is that, whatever candlelit dinner I am having, I am sharing it with the best company: my husband!

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I used to dream of Paris. But before my dream of Paris, I dreamed of love and children. And here I am with them. They are my dream come true. And if the travel bug bites again, I am glad to now realise that adventure doesn’t have to be so far away. Sometimes just a short drive away. I just need to appreciate what is already around me.

(Photo credit- paris) 

(Photo credit- bread)

Apple Pie

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I recently discovered a wonderful part of the grocery store. I’ll tell you how I missed it before. In usual grocery shopping scenarios, I have my two year old in the front passenger seat of the shopping cart and my almost same sized four year old in the main basket. I try to busy them with a new $1 or less toy. If they are good they can keep the toy, maybe.

Somewhere close-by is my husband pushing around the other shopping cart which has the actual food and household items. More often than not, at some point during our ‘hopefully less than two hours’ long adventure, a tantrum explodes. They want out, they want to run, they saw chocolate or marshmallows or a cereal they need right now or they won’t know how to cope with life. This causes stress of course on us parents. Some customers nod their heads and smile in understanding, giving us the reassurance that it’s okay. Then there are those who shake their heads with annoyance. And those are the ones that make our blood boil.

There have been innumerable times when I went running down the aisles grabbing whatever I can from my shopping list and tossing it to my husband who was trying to find the best deal of everything. Oh how I miss the luxury of Tesco online shopping! I congratulate myself on those occasions where I have been able to block out the tantrums and carry on shopping. When I have been able to ignore my children’s unsafe and out of budget demands, I like looking at foods I enjoy. Walking slower and really seeing what else the store is selling.

I found myself noticing a corner of breads and smaller aisles of baked goods. As I got closer to the treasury of pastries in front of me, my stomach sinks with regret. Why have I not prioritised this corner of delicacies before? Why do I not take more time to enjoy this shopping experience and treat myself and the family? I stop at the rows and rows of pies. I love pies! Big pies. Mini pies. Seasonal pies. Boxed pies and fresh pies. I feel like a foreignor when I say America is crazy for pies! I’ve never seen so many pies in other countries. Pastries, yes, but not pies. Chocolate mousse pie, apple Dutch pie, peach pie, cherry pie, strawberry pie, banana cream pie, lemon meringue pie and more. And this is where I get asked the famed question: what’s your favourite?
This question has always stumped me. Why have a favorite when they are all so delicious? It is easier for me to answer- which one do I NOT like? I don’t know! I suppose I will just have to sample them all. One of all the minis please!

But let’s think a minute. I love apples. There are always apples in my house. I make apple crumbles more often than I do pasta dinners. My go to snack is applesauce or apples with peanut butter. When I’m not feeling well, an apple cures me. I can eat apples everyday. Does that make it my favourite? Not necessarily. Put a fresh strawberry next to a fresh apple, and I’ll choose the strawberry. Does that mean strawberries are my favorite? Put a key lime pie next to the strawberry pie and I’ll choose the key lime because I have yet to try a key lime pie! Oh my goodness, I need a buffet of pies!  So there I was in front of the pie section wanting to take one home with me. One. I want all of them! If I were to claim that apple was my favorite, then people may be surprised if I chose the peach! I don’t pick favorites. I pick moods. I fear having a favorite would run the risk of being stuck to one thing. With food, horizons should be broad. Very broad. I’m so glad I discovered the corner of the store that was always there. And if you’re wondering, I chose the chocolate mousse pie! This made the boys very happy because mommy always shares. And chocolate is always good leverage for bribery 🙂

Next week we will indulge in the bread section and maybe take home some new cheese to eat with it! Love food!

Photo credit (apple pie)

My Random Thoughts Today

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It’s been one of those days where everything seems to be so random.

As I ate my breakfast bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, I made a bet with myself that I could EASILY eat a whole box in one sitting. I want my husband to be my witness.

Why on earth are my son’s underpants in a tupperware on the hutch? Better question: why have they been there for over a week and it hasn’t bothered me until now?

I was recently given a cool candle holder that looks like a bowl with stars on it. I filled it with mints and felt like a genius.

The spots on my toddler’s feet are not a side effect from last week’s vaccinations, but just tan marks from his crocs. What a relief.

I’m pretty convinced that bikinis for little girls was made up by a pedophile. Seriously, why do I see two year olds wearing bikinis? Grown ups wear them to be sexy right? The original idea of wearing a bra and panties on the beach, but kids don’t wear bras. So why have a spaghetti strap bikini? Little girls aren’t sexy. They should have something sensible and easy to play and swim in. Yep, the head of that is a total perv.

Had an incident at the park that made me think of being mindful for a long time. The whole time I was pushing my toddler in the swing and then the whole walk home. Sometimes we need to remind bigger kids of the younger kids and they often give a surprised response. Really? Aren’t we all being mindful of each other? As adults we notice the children, the babies, the pregnant women, the elderly, the disabled, the inflicted, the bully, the beautiful, and the different. Shouldn’t children also be taught to be mindful? I have seen children running and nearly knocking down an elderly woman who was walking with a cane. I have seen children push a man’s wheelchair as he sat in it so they could squeeze by without saying a word to him. Not even looking at him. When I was 7 months (hugely!) pregnant I recall children who were jumping around and one on me! I have seen people walking through doors and letting it fall on the person behind them instead of having the courtesy to hold an extra second for them. When I notice these things I make myself a mommy promise: I shall endeavour to teach my sons to be mindful! My almost four year old makes me proud when he takes note of other’s feelings. He notices the sad, the happy, the proud, the tired, the pained, and he is noticing his own emotions too. That he feels happy when he makes good choices and I see him repeating that good choice and expressing his good feeling. He is also mindful of his toys and making sure they are not where, as he states in his cute little voice: “daddy can trip and fall”. I am not saying my son is perfect, I am simply demonstrating that being mindful of others is teachable. Even at a very young age.

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My sister is in Italy. Last year she had told me about the Lorax movie and thought my son would love it. He does, a year later! Now both my sons are crazy for it. I need to email her and tell her. Who knew that “lorax” would be one of my son’s first words? Ha!

Goals change over time and goals can change quite quick. I need to be more committed in my short term goals. Like saying I am going to eat healthy all day. Then the stress gets to me and I am in a bowl of ice cream by 11:30 because that’s close enough to being lunchtime. I keep thinking about that day and how I need to be better!

I cut all 40 nails on my two boys and neither cried or threw a fit for the first time ever. Proud parent moment.

What if I add some mint flavouring to the chocolate chunk/caramel/vanilla ice cream? Totally adding it to the grocery list.

Sometimes I tire of fanciful things. I long for simplicity. My thoughts keep going to the flowers my boys pick for me. Or maybe they are weeds? I don’t even know!  They are not big and colourful or even particularly beautiful, but they are very special to me because these are what my boys give me with hugs and kisses. My son watches me intently making sure I hold them and keep them! His sweet voice saying, “Mommy look! I pick these flowers for you! I love you!” and my other son, finally saying words, holds his out to me and happily says “flower!” Wouldn’t every mother treasure them when they come with such sweetness and love?

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I hadn’t noticed before how many pictures I have taken since I got married. Do I really need over 18,000 photos? So far I deleted a 1,000 and it feels good. Deleting feels good. It’s the same as de-junking (a term I picked up from my lovely mother in law! I love it!) De-junking feels good. Getting rid of all the rubbish in our lives. The clothes that sit and are never worn. The books we simply don’t need to read again. The friends that don’t make us feel good (mean people suck!). That box of random scrips and scraps and bibs and bobs we were saving for “just in case I might need that one day”. Yeah. Reminds me of an old friend who lived in sweden for a few months with her three boys and husband. They lived simply in an apartment and she said she realised how things can be such a burden. She expressed how she was eager to go back home and rid her life of too much stuff.

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I love when a new idea pops into my head! Okay it has actually been swimming around but today it’s been made clear. I have journals for my boys that I am writing. Funny quotes and stories and things they do and like, etc. But I don’t want them to be hoarders. They can have ONE box of keepsakes. I will start it out for them and in time they can add to it themselves as they get older. It would be so much easier to have ONE box than 20. The more we grow up the less time we seem to have and we just lug our stuff around where ever we go. Except sometimes we can’t and it ends up in someone’s basement or attic or closet or in a storage unit. I’ve lived in three different countries and more addresses than anyone would care to know, some of it was planned and sometimes things in life are not planned but they happen anyways so now I think: less (stuff) is more (peace of mind). So far, my boys don’t have enough for me to even purchase this one BOX, they are only 2 and almost 4 years old, but I have a few things I know will not be going to Goodwill when the time does come. Sometimes it just feels good to have a plan.

There was something I was supposed to write down so I wouldn’t forget… what was it?… Oh never mind, it’ll come back to me later. I’m off to bed.

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My first born boy, a few days old.

Friday Night is Date Night

2007

Over the past year there have been a handful of friends and family who have gotten married. I am often reminded of the excitement of our own wedding. Last night I thought about the whole process. The excitement of each stage. Realising you found someone special. Finding out he loves you back. The engagement. The wedding. The first positive pregnancy test. Experiencing the first baby.

Now that we have been married four and a half years, and we have two kids, I asked my husband last night, “What’s the next exciting thing for us?” I was not asking because I am unhappy in our marriage, I was just curious in my thought process and who better to ask than my spouse? His response was brilliant.

He spoke happily and excitedly that everyday as parents we should feel excited because our children are constantly growing, learning and doing new things. The exciting thing is knowing we are witnessing their life unravel before our very eyes. I thought about that for a moment and replied that it is most important then that we spend time together as a family so that we, together as husband and wife, are witnessing and watching our children together. I often feel like since I have the kids all day and I see a lot of what they do, so when Shaun has them, I do find myself  ‘running away’ for some quiet “me time” but this is where I need to improve. I should stay and have us all be together more. Balancing life was never easy. He is right, and now I need to snap out of it and enjoy motherhood more fully.

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Even after the kids are grown, we have grand kids to look forward to. The rest of our lives is the next exciting thing.

My husband went on to speak about how as a couple we are learning new things about each other as well. In the beginning of the dating phase, didn’t we all spend hours talking to our significant other? Hopefully it doesn’t stop. The other night my husband and I were up late into the night talking and laughing. It was wonderful. I love nights like that.

Back to my original question: After marriage and kids, what’s the next big thing for us? My husband returned it to me. My answer was simple. Spending time ALONE with my husband since it is so rare! When we are alone, we can hold hands. We can talk without interruption. Most importantly, it reminds me of the beginning and I fall in love all over again. Which, for me, makes date night the next big thing.

Love that kiss!

Friday night is set aside as our date night. Most of the time we stay home and have an extra yummy dinner and choose a film but once in a while we get to go out and it is so exciting! Sometimes we both spend hours looking at potential restaurants or entertainment ideas online, we talk about it all week, weigh out pros and cons of different options and then make a decision just before we head out the door. Tonight I am in charge of planning. I’m not telling him where we are going until we are in the car. 🙂

After marriage and a kid or two, Shaun is right, the next exciting thing is looking forward to every new day. And if, like me, one feels things have gotten monotonous, it is time to break the routine, get creative and allow some fun together as a couple.

When I am out with the husband tonight I will wonder if there is anyone else in the world doing that very thing at that very same moment? I hope so. Otherwise, what are we trying to save?

xx

PS Guess that film. 🙂

Dear Diary, I Had A Normal Day!

Dear diary,

It’s been quiet around here for a while, but for good reason. I had nothing much to say! Sometimes life in general feels heavy and I hide in my cave until I feel ready to come out. Today, was a good day. One I am willing to remember. It wasn’t spectacular or overly significant. Just a day that represents life as a housewife pretty normal. Well, as normal as it gets for me.

I got woken up at exactly 5:14am. I always check the time so I know how tired I should feel. Axel was the first to wake. He got his milk and we had cuddles on the couch as we always do. He wasn’t falling back asleep so I put on Baby Beethoven and closed my eyes with him snug in my arms. An hour later, Ethan woke up and squeezed his way unto my lap too. Now I had to wake up. Now the non-stop test of patience begins. Now the demands will start rolling. However, today I was more prepared because last night the husband and I talked, read, prayed and recognised we simply need to do everything with love. Everything. Luckily he was in a good mood so our morning was pleasant. The best part was building a tower out of his legos. He gets so excited. Later he proudly showed daddy and I was glad I had been a part of it.

By 9am we were all dressed, breakfast eaten and laundry hung outside, so we went out for a walk. It’s easier to leave the house when you like your outfit and know you’ve done your hair. I straightened mine today. The sun was beaming and it’s warmth felt so good. We headed to the playground around the corner. We were the only ones there but Ethan did not like that it was all wet from yesterday’s rain. Oh, last night was weird and lovely. The sky was weird with a blend of bright blue sky, brilliant white clouds coupled with dark grey clouds, a rainbow, hail, and then some light rain. Rain gentle enough for me and Ethan to sit on the floor with the back door slightly open so we could stick our arms out and feel the rain drops on the palms of our hands. He kept saying, “rain, I feel it!”

Ethan did not mind walking all the way back home to get some towels to clean the slide. He talked about it the whole way and behaved very well. Back at the playground there was a family of 3 girls playing but no one going down the slides. I could have been a hero with my towels but instead I heard one of the girls whisper to her dad, “it’s still wet.” My first thought? Brat! So I missed a spot, sit on it! Ethan tried to make friends with them. He always tries to make friends with kids at the playground. But his pick up line was “spiderwebs!” as he pointed out a big one and those girls just did not seem interested. Not wanting his excited spirit crushed, I tried to be extra enthusiastic whenever he showed it to me.

In the far distance I saw dark clouds sneaking in and I immediately worried about my laundry. I am always the last of my neighbours to notice the rain and my laundry is wetter coming in than it was when it went out! But today I had eagle eyes and would not let it repeat! We went home, I began to unpeg my laundry but felt it was too early. The sun was still shining. I will just pay attention and be quick.

Axel had fallen asleep for his late morning nap and Ethan entertained himself on my iPhone. I thought about my career. Or lack of. My unused degrees packed in a box. I have always wanted to do something with writing. I love words. But to say I want to be writer, is it cocky? Like I think I have important things to say and people should actually read them? I have always believed that to write and be read is the same as being listened to and heard. Whether my voice is heard through someone’s ear or their mind, I want my words to touch their heart. Being heard makes a person feel alive. One’s existence acknowledged makes a world of difference to their world.  No one has ever stopped me from being a writer, no one but myself. I have insecurities and weaknesses as a writer. Sometimes I want to be perfect, but then I think, perfection would not be genuine because perfection is impossible. And who is to define what is perfect? If someone were labelled as a good writer, that label is just an opinion. And it is those opinions I fear. I shouldn’t, but I do.

Second load of laundry done! Wow, I felt so accomplished and it wasn’t even noon yet! I hurried to get the laundry hung, don’t waste the sunshine! I ran out of pegs. I love pegs. I have a lot of pegs. I happily went back inside to the hallway closet and got my peg holder. A uniquely made bag specifically for pegs! The first time I saw one, was the day I bought this one. I was about 6 months pregnant with Axel. It was only 50p at a charity shop in South Ockendon. I originally had gone to South Ockendon to get passport photos done for Ethan and I. Turns out the ones I had taken that day were all wrong and it would have felt like a wasted two-bus-trip had it not been for this lovely, beautiful and practical peg holder! What a find! It makes me happy!

I still had some time so I went online looking for date ideas. This Friday, the husband and I have a date. We are very excited because my sister has the whole day off and we can do whatever we want! So many choices, how will we choose? In the ten minutes I was online I found three possibilities for a trip into London: the London Philharmonic Orchestra or We Will Rock You plus dinner package or Wicked plus dinner package. I emailed the links to the hubs. At the time I thought the decision would be weighed upon mainly by which restaurant had the best menu for dinner. However, later the hubs and I spoke and we decided London is too far. Why waste all that precious time together on public trains surrounded by people? We just want to be alone. It’s so RARE!

Ethan returned my phone and decided to draw in his dinosaur book. It’s the kind where he can erase the marker and start over. Instead of the book, he drew all over the plastic high chair! He gave me a look as if to say, “that’s right. I did that. Now what you going to do?” A minute later he cried for his Easter basket candy! As if!

The rest of the afternoon happened so fast its a blur. I got to be honest with you diary, my memory is slowly packing its bags and leaving me. We went to Tesco. Axel fell asleep in the pram, that’s how exciting he thought grocery shopping was! Walked past a navy blue skirt that looked flirty and fun. It was soft. Then Costco. Saw some little girl dresses I thought I could copy. Teeshirt on top, a tulle skirt on bottom. Looks easy. Shaun was disappointed that both stores had no pink grapefruit. Only red. Something must be happening with the crops. Had a quick dinner. I did some housework while Shaun played with the kids- I love hearing them laugh and play together!

The navy blue skirt popped into my head again and again and again. Must be a sign I want it? Must have it? Outfits started forming in my head. But the skirt was navy blue. I don’t tend to wear that colour. Do I have anything to match? It’s all looking good in my head but might look stupid in real life. In my head, I’m slim. In real life, that’s a joke.

Now with all this written down, I hope to spend the rest of the evening with the husband, no wait. It’s 9:15. I got to go to bed. I never know what kind of night it is going to be and I need to get my sleep when I can! Thanks for listening, until next time, xox

Me and You, Heart to Heart.

Another day has come and gone.

A few random thoughts as I sit here wanting to make sense of life right now.

I don’t know what it means to truly be “strong” when we are facing challenges or obstacles in our life. Crying does not make me feel weak. It is simply an outlet where my frustrations and emotions collide. When the tears have dried, I honestly feel motivated to keep going.

I have two little ones. Doing nothing is not an option.

As a woman, there are things that naturally discourage me but I have decided that acceptance will help put peace in my heart.

I accept my life for what it has been. Regrets are pointless.

I accept my choices and consequences, and forgive myself for the foolishness. At least I learned my lessons.

And. A good quote by a famous inventor of whom I cannot recall but he said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make all the mistakes yourself.” Or something like that.

I accept others as they are. We are all individuals living in our own sphere of adversity and shortcomings. I will not judge. I understand imperfection. (unless you are a nurse at a hospital and you are being rude to my husband who is a patient, there is no room for imperfection in your bad attitude, you can at least walk around normal!)

I have a lot I need to work on.

I need to be better.

Thank goodness for family. They help point out everything that is wrong with you.

I recently came across this quote: “Everyone you meet comes with baggage. Find someone who loves you enough to unpack.”

My hubby and I have a lot of unpacking to do together but he sure makes it fun along the way.

Today I tried to do my mother’s to do list from my previous post. I want my children’s laughter to echo in my ears forever.

I want to memorise every brilliant sentence, every facial expression, and every funny thing they do. Being a mother is the most wonderful yet heart wrenching thing I have ever experienced so far. Because I know I won’t remember all of it. They’re growing up too fast. They are right here with me now but I miss them already. They’ll never be as they are now ever again. I must cherish everyday. My heart shatters for parents who do not get to see their kids everyday. My husband has been in hospital a week tomorrow. Me and the kids make a video during the day and I show it to him each night when I visit the hospital. I see the longing in his eyes. It sucks.

Everyone has something they turn to when they want to get their mind off of life. I want to watch the Office. But we always watch it together. I guess I’ll just go to bed.

Good night. x