Hot, hot heat

July 29, 2009

I am cranky from the heat. My husband is super cranky because he can’t sleep in the heat. The kids, surprisingly, are not very cranky from the heat, although maybe they’re just too withered from the heat.

I know we’ll all regret bemoaning the heat once the cold weather returns, but why can’t it be lovely during the day and cool and breezy at night?

How are you coping with the humidity and hot weather? Im considering checking us into a motel for a night just to get a cool, air-conditioned night sleep.


Spontenaity and kids

July 16, 2009

I think I am a spontaneous person. At least, I used to be spontaneous. Summers were always great for last minute things. Heading to a patio because it was hot. Going camping because we had no plans and the weather was good.

Even after we had a baby we were still semi-spontaeous. Okay, we had to spend an hour or more packing the trunk with portable cribs, strollers, food, diapers, and on and on. But we went on last-minute excursions, I think.

Somewhere in the past few years though, I’ve lost my last-minute-ness. It’s too much effort planning food, clothes, schedules and activities for four people (since you know hubby leaves it all to me!), so I’d rather take fewer get aways, fewer outings. I prefer the comforts of home so I don’t have to worry about what the kids will do when we’re out.

Well now we have two school-aged kids, and I’m trying to regain some spontenaity (gee, I hope I’m spelling that word right since I’ve used it so much!). I recently proposed a weekend getaway on one day’s notice, and the rest of my family stared at me in shock that I was the one to suggest it.

I still have to plan food, activities and packing for all four of us, but with only clothes to pack and kids who can eat at regular restaurants, it’s a lot less of a hassle. And while I know the kids will be sleep-deprived and a getaway won’t be as unplanned as the olden days B.C. (before children), I am proud to be regaining some sense of my old last-minute self.

Call me “coach”

June 17, 2009

Sorry I’ve neglected the blog for the last couple weeks. Between business trips and a long weekend with the family, I haven’t been as diligent as originally planned. I’ll try to fix that now.

My eight year old had his last baseball game for the season last night. It was a heart-breaker of a game, with our team making a few minor errors and their team making a few lucky catches, which left us one run behind at the end of the game.

It was so sad when a bunch of the kids started crying at the loss. I was surprised at the tears, frankly. Not from one of our girls who is very emotional, or one of our most competitive kids who hates losing. But one of our more mature boys was in tears. And perhaps the biggest surprise is that my son didn’t get upset. He just took the loss in stride.

Anyhow, my favourite moment of the game came before the 12-year-old umpire shouted “Play ball!” to start the game. We were warming up with the kids before play started, and I had grabbed the bucket full of whiffle balls (the lightweight plastic ones) and was throwing practice pitches at kids in turn. One of the coaches from the other team came over and asked to take half the whiffle balls, which is fine, I was happy to share. But the way he worded it was shocking. He came over to where I was working with the kids and said:

Mom, I’m just going to grab half these balls.

Now, I had had a long day and was kind of tired, not to mention nervous for the team, so was perhaps a bit distracted, but pretty sure he had just called me “mom.” So I asked him:

What did you call me?

And yes, he repeated “mom.”

So I stared him down and said quite emphatically:

Call me “coach.”

I know it’s petty and childish of me, but just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I am just a helpful parent. I am one of only three women coaching in Minor B in our little league, but I’ve done a great job keeping up with all the men and I know the kids — boys as well as girls — love having a woman coach too (my son tells me this regularly!). I’m not some jock (stop laughing — I could be a jock if I wanted to. Well, I could be sporty at least. It’s not THAT far-fetched!), and I wouldn’t dream of coaching soccer since I know nothing about how to play it. But I know baseball, and I’ve been coaching my kid for three years now. The men on my team treat me with respect as a coach, as do almost all the other coaches, umpires and league organizers I’ve run across.

So the other coach’s chauvinistic assumption just got on my nerves, and I told him off.

And okay, his team won, and we lost. But I didn’t cry.

A new dinner and they ate it!

May 26, 2009

Sometimes I think being a parent would be so much more enjoyable if I just never had to get my kids out the door or feed them.

Now don’t get me wrong, I just love cooking. And I’m pretty good at it. I like flavour, I enjoy tossing a bit of this and that together, and I like exploring new cuisines.

But finding meals my whole family will eat, that are healthy, and (for me) low in fat, well that’s a whole new kind of torture.

My husband and I have an agreement, whereby he cooks dinner twice a week. Those two days are the ones where I work at a client’s office in Burnaby, so getting home with enough time and energy to make dinner is hard. But when he cooks, we get frozen meats. He’s become a regular at M&M, and our small freezer has several boxes of frozen breaded chicken or fish or meatballs. He does add a veggie on the side, and the kids do eat it usually without complaint, so I guess I shouldn’t whine. But it’s not meals I would serve myself.

Over the years, trying new things and making my family eat them (I have never and will never make separate food for anyone and if they don’t like it, tough) has led me down some strange paths. Who knew they’d love chickpea curry? Who knew they’d hate lasagna?
Tonite was a new adventure. I found a weight watchers recipe for Spanakopita — spinach/feta pie — which I have always loved. It looked easy enough, so I tried it, not sure how the boys would react to spinach. It even turned out just like the photo!

But lo and behold, they ate it. The little wasn’t a huge fan but he loved the phyllo. And the big guy wanted seconds.

Still, life would be a lot easier if we could just stay home all the time and never eat.

A day away from the kiddies

May 25, 2009

I had yesterday off from being the mommy and got to be just an adult. And I’m trying to decide if I feel guilty about that. I don’t think I do.

I left the house before they woke up and didn’t come home until about 4:30pm. I loved having time to just be an adult, but today I’m sun and wind burnt a bit, so perhaps Karma is trying to tell me I should spend more time being a mommy and less time being an adult.

Do you feel guilty when you have time away from the family? I think my guilt used to be much more acute when the kids were babies. There were things only mommy could do — never mind breastfeeding — I mean stuff like the right kind of cuddles, and feeding them healthy food, and throwing the baseball (I’m nothing if not a renaissance woman!). But my boys spend a lot of time away from me now, when they’re in school or daycare. And when I go to work, I get to be an adult. Although I get to be the kind of adult who doesn’t get to enjoy her own time then, but at least I can eat lunch all by myself.

But yesterday I got to be just a woman, not a mommy at all. I spent the day in a boat on the Delta Slough, umpiring a rowing regatta. I used to row myself (you know, the Silken Laumann kind of rowing). But I stopped a few years back because while I like it a lot, it takes me three hours to go row, and in that I only get a one-hour workout. I just need to be more efficient with my time these days. But I trained to be an umpire when I was pregnant with my first, thinking it was a good way to stay involved with the sport. So now I do a couple races a year, just to keep my umpire license valid.

And yesterday was a glorious day to be a rowing umpire. Sunny, warm, on the water. And as an umpire, I get to yell a lot and all the rowers fear and revere me. Who wouldn’t love that?

And then I got home, and the kids didn’t quite fear or revere me. But they did cuddle with me. And frankly, that I missed in my being-an-adult day, so it was great to get it in the end.

Now I just need to go find some lotion for the sunburn.

Finally starting a blog

May 22, 2009

I’ve run Movies for Mommies for seven years now, and for nearly every week of those seven years I’ve written an e-newsletter. In each e-newsletter I write pithy, funny, revealing, helpful, or goofy stories about being a mom, being a working mom, dealing with my family, understanding my generational place in the world, living in Vancouver, raising a family, being a consultant, and other fun stuff. I’ve written about moments I’m proud of, like when my baby learned to walk or I completed my triathlon, and moments I’m not so proud of, like when I forgot to register my kid for baseball and he almost didn’t get to play or when I got old — um, make that older.

For years mommies who read my e-newsletter tell me they keep reading it long past when they have kids young enough to come to the Movies, and they say it’s because they like to read what I write. So after seven years, I’ve decided it’s time to start blogging.

I can’t promise I’ll be any good at this. Well, I know I can write — I do that for a living. But can I keep this up on a regular basis? I hope so. I’ll try to blog at least a few times a week. I’ll keep it as personal as my e-newsletter has always been, but I’ll also bring MFM news as I have it, because I hope that everyone who has read my e-newsletter over the years will drop in here to read this blog.

But now, it’s a beautiful, sunny day in Vancouver. The kids just left for school with hubby, the house is mine, and I’m going to — well, I’m going to do some client work. But then later I might go for a bike ride. Because it’s sunny. And I can. And I need the exercize. Sunshine = bathing suit season, after all. But that’s a whole other blog post for another day. 😉