A New Year’s Toast to Family, Friendship and Change

 

2013 was a big year for our family.  We packed up our life and moved to Canada from the UK!  Through the tears and the newly acquired greys, we’ve managed to survive the journey thus far and are settling into our new home as the winter snow welcomes us in abundance.

Moving our family was, by far, the most nerve-wracking decision that we’ve made but… change is good.  

To ring in the New Year, I have written a little rhyming reflection on the year gone by….

2013– a paradoxical run
A year of great changes, wonder and fun
But also of sorrow and bidding farewell
To our family and friends whose lives we knew well

From England to Canada our family did go
A most difficult choice we’d contemplated so
And after John’s 40th– a 1970’s do
We shared our last laughs and bid all adieu

From taxi to airplane our tired eyes cried
Just like those typical Manchester skies
And with a glass of white wine and a deep cleansing breath
A new chapter began – we’d soon write the rest

I’d hoped that the sun might welcome us home
But we landed in clouds, with a thud and a groan
Mom, Jim and Dad-out stretched arms they all stood
Had come to collect us and all of our goods

We set off on our journey, back to my hometown
To connect and to chat about what would go down
Gram was no longer there, she’d passed away
And her memory lingered, surely to stay

The times they were changing so many things new
A new home, a new town to navigate through
The keys to our house were soon in our hands
And so was our future and all of our plans

On Ava’s  birthday we moved to our new place
Trepidation and worry all over her face
Would there be children – new friends to meet?
Would it be fun to live on our new street?

The sun, it soon came and the summer did too
John set up his office amidst the wild, crazy zoo
With all the kids home for two months until school
He worked- we unpacked and played in the pool

I felt such a calm, peaceful sense of relief
Like the hard part was over, we’d turned a new leaf
My old friends were here and the laughs carried on
It certainly felt like no time had gone

And so it began- months of settling in
BBQs, discoveries and cocktails (chin, chin)
Our water baby, Zed, swam like a dolphin
And we learned why Bell Canada gets sworn about so often

The school year started without much-to-do
The girls have made friends, even little Minoo
We’ve survived the transition up until now
But the snow has arrived and we don’t have a plow…

And here with my laptop, the fire and our laundry
I know that home is the place that’s upon me
It’s the place where I’m from, the land that I love
It’s the country my kids now sing proudly of

But our hearts are in England and always will be
Of course, that’s where we became a family
It’s my husband’s home and was all of ours too
So lucky we were for the people we knew

But the thing about “knew” is this word exists not
For the word is to “know” and to not be distraught
We’ve got visits and travel plans all underway
We’ll see everyone again, when we visit next May

2014 is for business, friendship and more
It’s for learning and growing and to explore
And of course it’s for family and laughter and life
John knew we’d be uprooted with me as his wife

The journey we’re on is our own- it’s our path
We get one chance to live it, to make happiness last
In 2013 we both sprouted some greys
And new wrinkles have joined us, in these recent days

But change is a good thing, though stressful and scary
We’ll ring in this New Year feeling both blessed and merry
May 2014 refresh and renew you
And may health, love and happiness be yours all year through

Happy New Year!

Love from,
Shannon and Co.

Find me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/martinimomblog

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A Mother’s Journey from Slobbery to Sobbery

If this was me, I’d be in my element….

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But it isn’t me, at all. The truth is: I have a pre-disposition to slobbery. Reason being, when I was a teenager I was actually a slob. My clothes lived all over my room, wherever they landed basically. It was a treacherous sea of clothing and shoes, in there, and visitors entered at their own risk.

After years of pleading, my poor mom finally gave up and asked of me but one request: Keep the door closed!

Now, I’d love to say that this all changed when I went off to university but I’d be lying. My four housemates will attest to the fact that I really didn’t pull my weight. When the chores were divvied up, I was always given the least demanding tasks like sweeping the laundry room floor. While my more responsible peers took on the biggies like cleaning the kitchen and the living room. I think they knew that I was shitty at cleaning and they wanted the job done right.

I’m fairly confident, however, as we’re all still friends, that what I lacked in domestic prowess I made up for in ridiculousness and what house of university friends doesn’t appreciate that? I played a mean leg guitar, my Dr. Evil impression was tops and my Rat Face (which, as it sounds, is an impression of a rat’s face) is still alive and well and has even been passed down to our kin.

It wasn’t until I lived in my own little apartment for one that I gained a bit of house pride, but only a bit. I was hardly there.

Fast forward 18 years… I’m now living in a house of five again, only this time I’m in charge of tidying, cleaning and organizing the entire fucking thing! Talk about a learning curve. I know that by having kids, I signed up for all of this. I think I was a bit naïve, though, as to how much mess they would actually produce and I can’t help but wonder if life would be easier if I was still a slob.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not boasting Show Home status, by any means, but there are times when our house looks pretty damn good- if only for a few precious moments. There are also times when it’s a gigantic mess… And occasionally, amidst that wreckage, I cry…  And |I wonder, is this the slob in me feeling hard done by? I don’t know but I do think that we can all benefit from a good cry every once in a while.

Personally, I find combining oven scrubbing with sobbing, to be very therapeutic.

Allowing myself to cry, doesn’t mean I’m not grateful that I have an oven to cook with, a home to live in and a healthy family to take care of. It just means that sometimes the weight of motherhood just builds up…

Whether we are crying, laughing or sprawled out, zonked, on the couch at the end of the day we, moms, deserve a nice cocktail. And there is no beverage more perfect for a house cleaning, family organizing mom (who used to be a slob) than a Dirty Martini. This is how you make one…

Two Olive Martini Cocktails

The Dirty Martini

Ingredients:

2 oz. vodka or gin

1 oz. Vermouth

A generous splash of olive juice

Green olives

Method:

1. Fill a metal shaker up with ice. Add the vodka (or gin), Vermouth and olive juice.

2. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass.

3. Add olives. Just drop them in (if you’re feeling lazy) or put them on a lovely cocktail stick (if you’re feeling classy).

4. Serve to your house cleaning, family organizing mom friends.

TOAST– to dirty ovens, therapeutic tears and all the laughter in between.

A Martini for a Mismatched Mom

Every once in a while a day begins in such a way that you just know a drink will be had at the end of it. Last week, Becky had one of those days…

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Becky is a busy wife and mom of 2 who spends her working hours counseling some of Ottawa’s youth. She is a juggler, as most moms are, a classic example of a modern day mother. Becky is well aware that the journey of motherhood is neither smooth nor predictable. She knows that there’ll be times when she is victorious and times when she clearly is not, like last Friday…

"Is it that obvious?"

“Is it that obvious?”

Despite her footwear mishap, (a result of a toddler distraction during the boot selection process) she is able to laugh along with her colleagues and students.

Becky knows that laughter is key in her role as a mom.

At around 10 am, on the day of the mismatched footwear incident, Becky discovers the home phone in her purse. Luckily her cell is in there too. Recalling a very tasty cocktail she’d enjoyed recently, she sends the following text: How do I make a French Martini?

Becky knows who to call on for drink recipes.

Now, in honour of Becky, and those who have walked similar paths, The French Martini will (indefinitely) be referred to as: The Disheveled Momtini. This is how you can make one…

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The Disheveled Momtini

Ingredients:

Vodka 1.5 oz.

Chambord (raspberry liquor) 1 oz.

Pineapple Juice 1 oz.

Method:

1. Fill a metal shaker with ice.
2. Measure and pour in all of the above ingredients.
3. Shake, shake, shake and strain into a martini glass.
4. Serve to your favourite disheveled mom friends and the ones with matching shoes too.

TOAST to laughter instead of tears.

What’s Your 7 Minutes in Tahiti? (Fending off the Mom-Meltdown)

Female leg walking on the beach in the ocean - Narrow depth of f

As a parents we’ve all lost it! Snapped. Acted in ways that we’re not proud of. I know I have. And when this happens, all we can do is forgive ourselves (once we let go of the guilt), and seek out ways to prevent the snap or meltdown or the losing of our shit or whatever we call it when our own behavior fails to meet our own expectations. Not to mention, the needs of our kids.

I discovered the key to my own meltdown prevention one evening, during the usual routine. You know it. The one that’s similar to a cyclone. It strikes weekdays between the hours of 4:00 and 8:00 pm.

A typical Evening Cyclone, and the surprises that pop up within it, render me useless by 9pm at which point I rip open a jumbo chocolate bar and plant myself firmly on the couch.

Those hours, leading up to bedtime, are action packed.  They involve an endless flow of food preparation, cleaning up, followed by homework, varying activities, and more cleaning up. Then, bath time and the sorting out of everybody’s things. And, of course, we can’t forget the unpredictable tasks of tantrum management and the keeping of sibling peace (insert frazzled expression).

On the above mentioned, and ever so insightful weekday evening, I was unknowingly on the verge of a discovery. I was also on the verge of a meltdown. My role as peacekeeper was wearing thin and my patience was waning. The girls were messily brushing their teeth. I was sorting the dirty laundry into piles.

My chocolate + couch time was feeling very far away.

I took a few deep breaths, willing my patience to hold out.

Twenty minutes more.

I can do this!

Then my youngest decides (for no apparent reason) to scratch her sister who does not retaliate but instead screeches the most ear piercing, window breaking, instant headache inducing shriek.

Deep breaths.

My eyeballs are, pretty much, akin to those of a bug, at this point.

“You’re alright,” I say to Zed.

“NO story for you tonight,” I inform Mini.

I start to shuffle them all towards their rooms, insanity creeping at my heels.

And then, the front door opens. Hubby is home from work. Up the stairs he comes.

This is my cue.

“I’m outta here,” I say, in a matter of fact manner.

Hubby’s brow furrows.

I turn and walk away, peeling my clothes off layer by layer as I go. I don’t look back but I’m pretty sure they’re watching me.  I open the door, turn on the water and step into the shower. The perplexed look on my hubby’s face is the last thing I see and then steam surrounds me. For that moment, and the six to follow, I am alone in Tahiti.

I immerge from the shower, a new woman. I throw on my robe and I’m ready for story time.

Seven Minutes in Tahiti, for me, on that day was a simple shower. It dissolved the meltdown in its tracks. Sometimes, I find that sending an SOS text to a fellow mom often does the trick too. She’ll text back a photo of her son, missing his bangs or a confession that she’s just been hiding in an undisclosed location scoffing ice cream.

Ahhhhh, 7 Minutes in Tahiti. Where do you find yours?