A Silly Song, an Old Story and a Birthday Cake Martini…

It’s sort of like a party here today at Martinis and Motherhood.  Reason being, we are officially one year old! And to honour our birthday, I thought it would be kinda cool to celebrate together by taking a scoot back to where it all began – with a re-print of my first post: Cocktails and Canvases.

Then, I’ll be shaking up a very tasty martini. And I think you should make yourself one too.

But, before we can proceed, Mindy Miller (of Mindy’s World fame) wanted to dedicate her Birthday video to us. She’s insisting that it be shown right away. Continue reading

In Search of Bliss…

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It’s no secret that as moms, we spread ourselves in a million and one directions.

There is never a time when everything is done.

Nope. Life as a mother, wife and wannabe writer is an ongoing juggle. One that requires me to capture little moments of bliss amidst the hustle.

These moments can be found in the hugs that my little people give me or the gift of sleep that my husband, at times, presents. Even if 8:00 am is the new noon and I can hear absolutely everything the kids are doing downstairs, I appreciate that space and time in my comfy bed.

But I have to admit it, there really isn’t much that competes with the thrill that comes from being alone, with my laptop as a story unfolds at my fingertips.

That, for me, is bliss.

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A Coffee with… Global TV’s Carolyn Mackenzie

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The news anchor talks work, kids and her ideal date

By: Shannon Day

At the 23rd hour, while the rest of us are zonked on the couch at home or fast asleep in our comfy beds, Carolyn Mackenzie is not only at work but the spotlight shines bright as she delivers the 11 o’clock news.

Carolyn is the weeknight anchor for News Hour Final on Global. She’s also a mom to Kate, 5, Matt, 2, and is married to Chris, a Toronto firefighter.  Her schedule is hectic but Carolyn has agreed to come over with her husband and kids, to talk about her balancing act as she juggles work, marriage and motherhood.

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Bring back the Tucked in Sweater- A Mother’s take on Pop Culture

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Sing- along Fun

There we were.  My three daughters and I. Cruisin’ along in the minivan, radio on high, having a little sing-along:

Me: I may be bad but I’m perfectly good at it.

Take it girls…

Ava (age 9): Sex in the air, you know I love the smell of it.

Zed (age 6): Sticks and stones may break my bones.

Mini: (age 4): But whips and chains excite me.

Together: nana na na na. Come on, come on come on. I like it, like it…

*******

Fret not, this didn’t actually happen. Because when songs, like Rihanna’s S & M, come on the radio, I change the station.

The Bubble Protection Program

I casually switch from one station to the next, trying not to let sex, drug and violent lingo permeate the bubbles of innocence that are around my kids. I work hard to maintain these bubbles.

I know the lyrics would simply go over the heads of Zed and Mini but not Ava.  She loves singing and she hears the words. I don’t want her singing about sex, hickies and drunken Friday nights.

She’s nine.

It should still be about unicorns and rainbows, when you’re nine, shouldn’t it?

Wishful thinking.

I miss the innocence of my own youth when Madonna was the only one hooching it up and songs, like: Me so Horny and Boom, Boom, Boom (Let’s go Back to my Room), could be counted on one hand.

Those were the days, huh?

I’m with Annie Lennox on this one…

Music videos today are a whole other topic of agitation for me, as a mom.  This is why they’re never on in our house. Sure lots of performers have talent, creativity and vision.

Lady Gaga is half-naked in the name of art. Katy Perry adorns her boobs with ice cream sundaes because who doesn’t love a cherry on top? Robin Thicke is pervy, gropey and creepy.

Whenever I give MTV a chance I see women degrading themselves – selling their sexuality all in the name of entertainment because simulating a blow job is artistic expression, not porn, right?

Annie Lennox described such pop stars perfectly when she described them as: “pimp and prostitute at the same time.”  She views their behaviour as: “a glorified and monetised form of self-harm.”

I’m with Annie here and I don’t want my kids looking at this and thinking it’s okay, or worse yet, that it’s something to aspire to.

Long gone are the days of Debbie Gibson and Tiffany with their big hair and tucked in sweaters.

I miss Cyndi Lauper, in her side pony, singing Girls Just Wanna have Fun…

So, you can sing and you’re gorgeous but how’s your finger filacio?

According to the music industry girls have to be slim, beautiful and capable of carrying a basic tune.  This isn’t news; it’s been this way for years. But it now seems that this is no longer enough. It turns out that in order to qualify as a successful female singer you must be willing to set free your inner porn star.

Performers from Britney to J-Lo are giving us a pseudo-glimpse of what they look like when they’re actually having sex. They writhe around solo on a beach or on the ground wrapped in a sheet. They’re basically having sex with themselves while mouthing the words to their songs.

J-Lo wants us to see that she’s still “got it.” Miley wants us to know that Hannah Montana is dead and that she’s been replaced by a twerking, giant-tongue wagging, Mistress of Seduction…

Sex.

Sex.

And more sex.

No, actually, my name isn’t Agnes…

Sometimes, when I share my opinions about current pop culture, I sound like my name is Agnes or Enid. I come across as old, out of touch and closed minded, like the perfect BFF for the pastor in Footloose.

I use words like: appalling, distasteful and disgraceful.

Inappropriate is my favourite descriptive word to use, when referring to that which I deem to be unsuitable.  It’s a versatile word that can be applied to a range of categories from swear words to YouTube.

I use it when Ava comes downstairs while I’m watching Orange is the New Black.

I use it when she tells me that “all” the kids in her class are allowed to watch Walking Dead.

I say it so often that Ava has started using it.  Witnessing her saying it to her sisters has allowed me to see what kind of message it sends out.

When she says it, it sounds closed and final. It makes the topic seem beyond the reach of the recipients. It shuts the conversation down, like a door in the face.

I used it last week when Ava asked about the Wrecking Ball video.

My needle is out and I’m ready to start popping…

Ava was curious about the video. She said that some of the kids at school had seen it. I was about to close the door on the topic but I stopped myself and instead, I said: “Actually, let’s go watch it.”

With a look of shock and bewilderment, she agreed.

We googled Miley’s video. We sat together and we watched it. Ava produced a few scrunched up faces and let out a few “ews” and when the video was finished she said: “I like her music but I don’t like the way she acts.”

We chatted a little more about it and then she went off to play with her sisters.

Pop

Ping

Splooooosh

You hear that?

Those are the sounds of bubbles bursting. I can’t maintain them forever and if I try, I’ll end up creating a barrier between me and my kids instead.

There are plenty of things that I don’t want my kids to watch, learn and hear but I can’t conceal those things forever and when they do watch, learn and hear them I want my girls to feel like they can come to me.

No doors. No barriers. No Agnes

I Launder Therefore I Am (entitled to a cocktail)

Screaming Housewife With Steam Iron

One day last week, while reflectively mopping, I said to my husband:

“I feel like I need more purpose in my life…”

My hubby, who’d just gotten out of the shower and was rummaging through his dresser drawers, replied:

I just need some socks…”

So there you have it: missing socks, a quest for purpose and a real-life example of a couple communicating.

So where do I go from here?  I could contemplate my need for purpose and deeper meaning in life but surely that’d be better done in a private journal.  I could assess communication within male/female relationships, but that’d be a massive topic and therefore more effectively explored in a book, entitled: Couple Talk: Absent Socks and the Meaning of Life (or maybe not).

I think I’ll turn my focus, instead, to the exhilarating subject of socks and the ever-so-important role of Launderer…

Laundry is my area of specialty at our house.  Why? You ask. Well, because I’m a laundering goddess, of course. Well, not really, it’s more like my husband doesn’t want anything to do with the laundering process and that’s ok with me, most of the time. As long as he keeps on shoveling the snow outside, I can accept the role of Launderer.

In case you were wondering…   when it comes to sorting the dirty laundry I do so in the following categories: whites, lights, brights, darks, blacks and pinks (yes, it’s an entire load of its own). I then fill and empty the washing machine and the dryer, I reluctantly iron a few things, I fold and I put everything away. I keep my family freshly dressed from head to ankle, faithfully, but sometimes we run a little short on socks…

The case of the absent socks really is an ongoing mystery- an endless conundrum! Who is stealing our socks? Is this someone’s idea of a sick joke?  There are more lone socks at our house than in the average home. Currently, there are about 52 mismatched socks sitting in a bag. How? Why?

I’ve discovered that sometimes socks find their way into the toy boxes and that some of them have even been transformed into farm animals! Thanks Phoebe Gilman. There are also times when a sock loses its partner for a while but gets thrown out before the two can be reunited.  Basically, the sock that was originally lost gets found only to learn that its mate has been discarded. It’s a hapless turn of events.

I’m starting to think that the mystery of the absent socks is destined to remain unsolved.  And, you know what, I’m okay with that. For now, I’ll admit defeat in the sock department of life.  Besides, when it comes to laundry, my whites are pretty damn white and that is something. Right?! Or is it….

I launder therefore I am.  And within this meaningful role, I shine but I am also shamed. I can accept this because I know that when it comes to martini making, everyone can shine without shame. After all, every laundering lady deserves a cocktail! Here is how you can make your very own Dirty Laundry Martini…

The Dirty Laundry Martini

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Ingredients:

1.5 oz. gin

0.5 oz. Triple Sec

1.5 oz. lemonade

2 basil leaves

1 orange

2 tsp. of sugar

Method:

  1. Using a slice of orange, wet the rim of the martini glass.
  2. Pour sugar on a plate, tip the martini glass upside down on the plate and spin until the glass has a fully sugared rim.
  3. In a metal shaker, place ice, vodka or gin, Triple Sec, lemonade and 1 torn basil leaf.
  4. Squeeze in the juice of 2 orange slices,
  5. Shake, shake, shake and strain into the martini glass.
  6. Garnish with a slice of orange and set free a little basil leaf, to float on top.

Toast to clean laundry, bare feet and lonely socks.

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?

Cocktails and Canvases

 

Beautiful Women Clinking Glasses In Limousine. Focus On Glasses

While I was never a Minolo Blahnik wearing stylista in the city, back in the days of freedom, I used to love to throw on some heels and a chic (or so I’d thought) ensemble. My friends and I would get together, at a local bar. We’d drink cocktails and dance the night away, in a circle, like a ring of shoe and purse worshipers.

On lazy summer days, the girls and I would just chill out up on rooftops, drinking beer. We’d talk about guys, sex, and the meaning of life. We’d confide in each other about the trials and tribulations of our own, self-absorbed, twenty-something lives.

We had some serious time on our hands….

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