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Run down and tired – a parenting rant.

I’ve always looked forward to my evening blog post.  It’s a time to reflect on the day, gather my thoughts, share what’s on my mind – whether it’s something of huge importance or just a little blurb about my life.  Lately though, by the time the girl is asleep in bed beside me, I find I’m too run down and tired to be much in the mood for blogging.

Lily-Ann is a “high need” kid (a term coined by Dr. Sears).  She’s never been easy.  She’s challenging, but oh so worth it.  She’s super bright, creative, head-strong, determined, yet compassionate and full of empathy.  Her emotions are always heightened and many would find them exaggerated – a fact that was nailed home in her report card, which came home right before Easter break.  And all this would be just fine, if she wasn’t such a chip off the old block.

My emotions tend to get so tied up within whatever she’s feeling that I’m just exhausted by the time I’ve laid down with her to read our nightly chapters.  What she feels has always translated directly into what I myself feel.  When she’s happy, I’m happy, when she’s upset, I’m upset.  I honestly can’t see beyond her pain when she’s hurting – and that includes when she’s in the middle of a temper tantrum…  which has been happening on a more and more regular basis in the evenings.

I’m exhausted, and can’t think of anything to write beyond that.

People talk about “the terrible twos”…  Lily-Ann was a BREEZE at two, and good-natured trouble at three.  At four she was everything I could ever have hoped for – and then some.  We’re now at five and a half, and wow!  While I still wouldn’t call her terrible, there are times when she brings out the terrible in all of us.

I’ve got all sorts of parenting skills.  It comes from a lifetime of parenting those around me.  I have multiple siblings who are young enough to be my own children.  I’ve been babysitting since I was ten (which seems crazy in retrospect).  My family ran a daycare when I was a child and a teen.  Parenting just kinda comes naturally.  But even I am left with nothing left after an hour of break-downs over everything including something as trivial as a piece of scrap that missed the wastebasket by 1/2 cm.

Now, I know this will pass.  Every child goes through phases where things are just more than they can handle.  However, while we’re in the middle of this particular tempest?  Blogging isn’t exactly my priority.

And hey!  Advice, ideas, suggestions, and pats on the back are ALL appreciated just now.  I know, as parents, this is something we’ve all faced (or are going to face) at some point.  😛

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Craft Crazy!

This time of year I tend to be on crafting overdrive.  Far too many projects and not nearly the time needed to comfortably complete them all.  I love it anyway though.  🙂

MLP ATC

A My Little Pony Artist’s Trading Card for the Trading Post. The theme was “holiday specials”, which is why Frosty is stuck in the corner – clearly I didn’t feel adventurous enough to sketch him myself.

It used to just be me, crafting all by my lonesome… but now that Kid Kid is five, she’s in it right along with me.  It’s awesome to see how well she’s doing to, in so many mediums.  Embroidery, sewing, painting, drawing – and that’s just today.  We still have planting, baking, decorating, packaging, more painting, more embroidery, more drawing, and a buttload of sewing still to go.

paint covered pants

Paint covered play clothes. Crafting is a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

I wish I could share all the projects, but some of the folk who are on the receiving end of our efforts may stop by the blog, so we gotta keep it all under wraps.  I gotta say though, as artsy fartsy as we are, all this creative work is absolutely exhausting.  It is with great relief that we welcome bedtime tonight.

falling asleep on a bed full of stuffies

The girl and Sweets (the old man chi) drifting off to sleep as Daddy reads… a bedtime well deserved after a day of working hard.

The Dog Show Family

I’m going to keep my thoughts to a minimum tonight.  I’m positively exhausted.  Alice did great her first time out, she loved being in the ring and had a blast (except when she had to be on the table or when the judge blew her dog whistle at her).  LOL  She took Best Puppy in Breed and Best of Winners for her very first point.

One thing you’ll come to notice, after you’ve been showing for a while, is that people at the shows become like part of an extended family.  They are more than friends, they are relatives you see a few times a year at big family gatherings.

There are your dog show parents.  People you can count on no matter what, who always seem to be there with guidance and support.  For me, that would be Kandy and Barry.

There are your dog show Aunts or Uncles.  Those who are always there for a laugh, but whom you know you could count on whenever you need a hand.  That’s how I see Lisa.

Then there are all the cousins.  The folk you love to laugh with, those you can just be silly with.  Share a drink and a story.  But they too will be there through thick and thin.  I’ve got a few of these…

And for us lucky few, we’ve also got real family there too.  Like my Uncle Dan, Auntie Kim, and my sister Jewles.

Dog shows are about the dogs, but once you’ve been there a while, you’ll find there’s a whole lot more to it than that.  😉

A2Z – Heroes

Blogging our way from A to Z on issues of sexual and gender identity - Heroes!

Heroes.  They are something we should all have, and they come in many shapes and sizes.  Some may be the usual suspects, heralds of a cause, but others can be found unexpected places.  In truth, I believe everyone has the potential to be a hero.  And I can’t think of any better way to demonstrate this fact that to share a few of my local Saskatchewan heroes who also happen to be members of the acronym community.

Mikayla Schultz is the founder of TransSask (support services).  She is a tireless advocate and campaigner for equality.  Through tremendous efforts, she recently put government to the test and had many successes with the signing of a declaration formalizing March 25-31 as Transgender Awareness Week in communities across Saskatchewan.

Don Cochrane is a former University of Saskatchewan professor, who continues to educate everyone he meets.  His groundbreaking work into subjects of importance to the Sexual Minority and Gender Variant community continue to force change, improving the lives of everyone in Canada.  You can see his hand all over this province, and especially at the annual Breaking the Silence conference here in Saskatoon.

Sarah Houghtaling is a local high school student.  She strives diligently to make lives better not only for those who attend school with her, but for minority students across our province.  A student activist who’s name I highly recommend taking note of.  She’s one of the many young people who WILL change our world for the better.  If you are ever able to attend one of her talks, DO!  You will be inspired.

Kay Williams is one of the most outspoken allies you will ever meet.  A determined advocate for her son, and a helping voice in a confusing world for parents new to the world of parenting LGBTT2QI children and youth.  Kay is a proud volunteer, and one of the founding members of PFLAG in Saskatoon.  She also was awarded the Peter Corren Award for Outstanding Achievement this year at Breaking the Silence – and yes, I teared up during her acceptance speech (which I recorded, and will share at some point).

Four individuals, all unique, all at different stages of their journey, all willing to do whatever it takes to see things become better for those around them.  All four are heroes, and all four I’m proud to call friend.

Who are the heroes in your life?

“And then the princess…”

Tonight the girlie wanted to tell me a bedtime story.  So as we lay together in the black of the bedroom, lit only by the red standby light on the TV and the 9:51 on the clock (way past bedtime), she began her story.  It was a tale of a princess, lost in the forest.  Guided by a new-found friend, she finds peace and contentment amongst the wild things living there.  It started out with such zest and eagerness, but within mere minutes drifted off with “and then the princess…” as my princess fell asleep.

It was so sweet.  Lily-Ann’s words floated away, carrying her to dreamland.  It was a perfect end to a day that was generally lovely.

My parents celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary today, and they spent a gift certificate we had given them for their birthdays while we stayed at their place to watch everyone.  Previous to that I had an afternoon shoot – an outdoor boudoir session, which is always fun and a little risque.  A last minute cancellation of an evening shoot opened up my night which allowed me to spend it with my family (still spent most of it working, but working in their company is always nice).  My sister Riki had even stopped by my parents place while they were out, which was nice too.  She finally got to meet Deedee and Alice, who I had brought along and had set up in a puppy play pen in the kitchen.  Yep.  Just generally a nice day.

Being that it’s Father’s Day…

I figured I’d try to keep on topic.  But I’m also going to try to be brief.  After working 13+ hour days from Friday through Saturday, and then being busy today too… well…  I’m wiped right out.

Today (after a photo shoot at the U of S) we headed to my parents place to celebrate Father’s day with my husband and my Dad.  It was a pleasant surprise to find my Grampa there too.  As I shared pictures of our puppies (who are now four weeks old) I realized that this might be the perfect opportunity to share the blog post I made in his honour.  So I did just that.

I tried not to spy, as Grampa read through my words.  But I noticed him tearing up, pulling out his old cloth hanky to wipe his eyes and quietly blow his nose.  Afterwards he took the laptop in to Grandma Joan (who was sitting in the other room playing a game on the Wii with my parents and siblings) so she could read it too.

Grampa came back into the kitchen, where I was sitting, and relayed a few memories from some of our camping trips when I was a wee thing.  I’m glad he got the chance to read it.  And of all the days he could have read it on, I’m glad it was today.

Grampa gave me an extra tight squeeze, and a kiss on the cheek when he left.  And Grandma Joan said she thought that it was a lovely thing I’d written about him.  It was a good Fathers Day.  🙂

Haven’t read my post about my Grampa?  Head on over HERE to do so.

So, here’s my thank you.  To my Dad, to my Grampa, to all the men out there who love, nurture, protect and respect their children.  Who give us the space we need to grow, but the guidance to do so safely.  Who are steadfast, true, and ever present – even when we (in the moment) may wish they weren’t.  Who hold us tightly in their hearts, and in their arms too.  To all of you, THANK YOU!  We wouldn’t be who we are without you.  You are appreciated, and what you do matters.  Happy Father’s Day!

Today was a better day…

The wee girlie wasn’t sick, and Damon is on the mend…  but even better?  Ron and I have seemingly reached an understanding.  We had a good morning.  Granted, I woke him up early to give him an additional 20 minutes to get ready, which meant I had to get up that much earlier too, but it was worth it.  Today he was waiting at the door, dressed in his Winter gear, waiting for the bus when it arrived.  It’s so much nicer NOT to be sworn at first thing in the A.M.  LOL

Tomorrow is my little brother’s birthday.  And with my parents still in Cuba, the cake and celebration fall to me.  Normally they’d just pick up a cake at Costco…  but…  well…  you know me.  LMAO  I’m all about Vegan baking.  The problem?  I don’t know what I did with the white cake recipe I love.  It’s the one I used for the castle on the top of the wee girlie’s birthday cake (the castle was a white cake, the field was a chocolate cake… all vegan).  I THINK this may be it:  http://www.vegan-food.net/recipe/289/White-Cake-Version-2/ But I can’t remember for sure.  LOL  I sure hope so, because I don’t know what I did with my recipe card.

If I wasn’t out of quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) I’d be doing these:  http://www.vegan-food.net/recipe/1493/Quinoa-Cocoa-Cupcakes/

Vegan Cupcakes

Don’t they look amazing???  LOL  But that’s another recipe for another day.

I really do hope that’s the white cake recipe I used for the girlie’s birthday, because it was amazing.  Cross your fingers for me.

Night all.  🙂

My favourite thing in the whole world…

I’ll admit…  the reason I’ve had a really rough couple of days has been Ron.  I’ve mentioned him before.  He’s one of the two special needs gentlemen who live at my parents place.  We affectionately refer to him as the “grumpy old man”, but the last couple of days there hasn’t been affection there.  At ALL.

My parents left for Cuba on Sunday morning.  They’ll be there for two weeks.  It’s the first time they’ve ever taken a vacation like this…  a trip just for them:  not to visit family, not to work, not to take us kids somewhere, just for them.  It’s something they sooo deserve.  So this Summer, when they asked if I’d stay here for two weeks to take care of everyone I was more than happy to do so.  And I still am.  But Ron has been VERY difficult.

It’s not like I haven’t stayed here to watch everyone before.  My mom has gone along with Dad on some of his band gigs before, and they always ask me to watch over the house, my two sisters who are still at home, the pets, and the guys.  I stayed here for 10 days in the Summer, so this fourteen day stretch isn’t totally out of the ordinary.  So Ron and I have a history of being together in this type of situation.

Ron is like family, he lives here, and is usually a sweet old guy.  We call him “grumpy old man” because he’s got a crotchety streak.  You’ll catch him muttering, mostly unintelligibly, under his breath.  And then, amongst all the grumbles you’ll hear the curse words, clear as day.  You can’t do anything but laugh.

“Groudms bumsle nurm hulmna SHIT bramt blurf laub ramb…”

I crack a grin every time I overhear him on one of his tangents, talking to no-one in particular, lost in a moment.  We’re all awfully fond of the old guy.  He’s easy to love, and is always so sincerely grateful for your praise, affection, and support.  It’s something he hasn’t had in his life, and something he deserves.  He really is one of this worlds forgotten seniors.  It breaks my heart.

Ron has been absolutely miserable the last few days, and it has been very hard to live with him.  He has been purposefully hurtful, nasty, and MEAN.  It’s a side of him I’ve glimpsed very rarely.  He has actually lashed out physically a couple of times, he hasn’t hurt anyone, but he’s made it clear he wants everyone to bugger off.  So tonight?  I was sooo happy to have our OLD Ron back.  Whatever dark cloud was hovering over him has broken, and the sun is shining again.  Ron gave me a big hug, with tears in his eyes, and I gratefully returned it.

Damon taught Ron and Steven (the other special needs fellow who lives here) how to bowl on the Wii tonight.  It was the coolest thing.  Ron and Steven bowled a ten frame game together, and Ron won!  He was SOOO excited, so proud.  He walked around telling everyone “I won!  I won!”  You’d think he’d just been awarded a huge gold trophy.  It was wonderful.  And I am SOOO glad to have our old man back.  I’ve missed him the last few days.

So, my day has improved tremendously.  And it has become easy to find the joy again.  Then, to make things even better…  we ended the day the best way possible.

My favourite thing in the whole world is when the wee girlie falls asleep as I read.  This is only the second time it’s ever happened, and it makes me blissfully happy.  There is something so special about sharing such an amazing moment, seeing my daughter so contented, feeling so safe, so cared for…  drifting off sooo happily.  It makes my heart sing.

Novels at bedtime are wonderful!

We are breezing through the Fairy Blossoms series by Suzanne Williams.  One more chapter and we are done the second book.  At this rate, we’ll finish the series before the end of January.  They just read so easily, so smoothly.  The stories are charming, and the characters are equally so.  It might be tough to come up with something Lily-Ann devours like these books next.

😉

Night all!

Wishing you joy.

 

Labels

The word “label” can be very loaded.  It refers to the way we box one another in, the way we try to keep everyone locked into neat and tidy rows.  Throw a label on someone and you don’t have to dig any  further, you don’t need to learn any more.  Labels can be disgusting and dirty little things put upon us by “polite” society.  But, they can also be a way to help your child… heading off into the big world.  Where, for the first time, they don’t have you holding their  hand guiding them.  Putting labels on the wee girlie’s things probably wasn’t completely necessary…  but it’s my way of helping her to move on to this next step.  Hopefully, when she sees the little hearts, it will be a reminder of how treasured she is, and how important she is to me.

This is the first time that someone outside our family will have such a large and possibly profound impact on our wee girlie.  It scares me a little.  I did my homework, checked out our options.  Met teachers and T.A.s back in the Spring.  And I really do think I picked the best possible program for Lily-Ann.  But the fact remains, we (as parents) really know very little about the teachers we entrust the lives of our children to.  I have no way of knowing what values her teachers will impart… or if they will match our own.  All I can do is continue to guide Lily-Ann, to help her feel secure in who she is, so that as she grows she is capable of making sound, compassionate, loving choices.

I know the wee girlie is going to love this new stage of her life…  but as a parent, it requires a huge trust.  And I hope it is well placed.

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