Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

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The Reason You Should Have Kids

The Reason You Should Have Kids

Princess drew a picture of a little girl being chased by a T-Rex. She then placed it on her dresser in a frame that reads, “Each Day is a Gift from God.”

So can you tell me, where else are you going to get that kind of perspective, if not from someone whose career goal is “have sparkly shoes”?

That Which Does Not Kill You, Will Stop You From Blogging

Greetings from the Infirmary!  Know what it’s feels like when a toddler does squats on your chest?  Or at least some kind of chest infection that makes you think there is an invisible one there?  We do.  By “we”, I mean my husband and myself, and for now, just one kid.   But if the Law of Something Going Around holds, soon everyone else here will be part of the Royal We of Illness.

This is to be expected, because next Tuesday we are starting a new school.  Again, by “we”, I mean the four oldest, but after 11 years of Motherhood, I am increasing unable to separate my identity from the group identity of those I feed.  You get one, you get us all.   This sickness seems to hit my eldest whenever she starts a new school.  In Grade 1 she was sent home the second day with a sick stomach.  I took her to the Doctor, and was summarily humiliated to learn she had a fever and untreated bronchitis.  Later, I could hang my head that I didn’t realize that my 5 year old couldn’t hear anything.  The Kindergarten teacher tried to make me feel better.  She told me about the son of a nurse who didn’t realize he was half-blind.  I think we could improve parents lives by installing LED displays on the back of kids’ necks that give a read out of the complete health status at all times.  At the very least, it would solve the “stomach ache in the morning, bouncing on the Tramp in the afternoon” syndrome.

For a while, it looked like I was going to be the only healthy person in house of sickness.  This always strikes me when it happens, as a foreshadowing of what it would be like to survive one those apocalypse scenarios from zombie shows, and the Prime Time line-up of the History Channel.  You sort of wander around the house, dealing with emergencies, making your own rules while everyone lies around and moans.  The only time you can eat straight peanut butter sprinkled with chocolate chips for supper while watching a Weird Weather marathon and no one’s there to bother you.  It’s all fun until loneliness sets in, and by then, everyone starts to feel better.  The take away being,

The Apocalypse:  It’s Fun Until the Chocolate Chips Run Out

The other reason I’m sure I’m sick is that I’ve finished Back to School Hell Shopping.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this pic.

This is missing the indoor shoes, pencil boxes and a few boxes of tissue.

I’m so obsessed with back to school shopping, I even wrote a little article about how to save money by acting like a Civil War Quartermaster and submitted it to the nice folks at YummyMummyClub, who actually published it!  (Thanks so much, guys!)  I realize I am writing for a niche audience in this case.  I keep trying to tell my friends all my “strategies” and I can hear their voices glaze over on the phone.  But, if you ever have a very big event/holiday/group to buy for, this approach really does work.

For now, I am going back to lying on the sectional, wondering how I could feel like I spent 12 hours last night chain smoking in a bar, when I never left the house.  (I realize that I have excluded an entire generation with that statement.)  The kids are happy because Sick Mom vacillates between Easy-Going to Grumpy to Guilty to Buy Kids Off with Ice Cream every half hour.  Luckily, there’s a full carton of Cherries Jubilee in the freezer.  At the rate I’m going, I’m on schedule to dish up in about 15 minutes.

Whither Sturm und Mom?

Enjoy the entire 39 days of a Canadian Summer!

I’m not sure what’s going to happen to this blog.  I just realize that a this puppy’s been gestating about as long as a baby.  Is this thing my 7th kid?  I don’t’ know.  But I DO love list posts, so I thought I would summarize myself in one.

5 Truths I Learnt in 9 Months of Blogging

1. Consistency is (often) way more important than brilliance.

People want what they want.  When I started blogging, I thought I would write commentary on social issues related to Motherhood.  That proved waaay too time consuming for a hobby.  I also felt uncomfortable writing about religion, like I was wearing my mother’s interview clothes to a party of older people, thinking that would make me fit in.  Since I’m not a programmer/chef/expert about anything, this leaves general purpose Mommy blogging.  But, having going through all these permutations over the last few months, means that anyone who liked my blog in the first month, probably hates it now.  Successful blogs are uni-purpose.

2. As far as a money-making opportunity, you’re better off working at Starbucks

As Wordtabulous wrote, we’re doing this in some way to be discovered, and that’s okay.  But just like that small town gal with great gams and a big heart, there’s a million others out there.  As far as I can tell, the business model behind most “Make Money Blogging Guides,”  is to sell the guide to other people who want to make money on the Internet.  Besides, most well-read bloggers are constantly referencing their lack of cash, so if they can’t make it, don’t count on anything other than an occasional free product sample to review.

3. Blogging is more about community than writing

If you want a widely read blog, you must promote yourself via whatever Social Media you can get your keyboard on.  You must also seek out others with the same “brand”/message/genre and start trying to entice their readership to check out your page.  If you have a product, like a book or a consulting service, that you are already trying to promote, then this is just another day at the virtual office.  But if, like me you have forgone real paid employment to spend time with your kids, this can become a shockingly draining hobby.

4. If the real you wasn’t popular in Highschool, the Internet isn’t going to change that

Blogs are driven by one of two things — information or personality.  If your high school personality was more Square Pegs than Beverly Hills 90210, it doesn’t get any better on line.  Sure, you’ll find more people who see things your way — but the majority still won’t.  This isn’t good or bad, but it is the truth.  Not only that, a lot of what will be kicking your stats is total junk.  Pages of inspiration boards as you seek the perfect Fall lipstick.  Rants about how some organic snack doesn’t meet some standard in Europe so it shouldn’t be sold here.  Nasty tales of what you did to someone’s daughter at a bar last Saturday night.  The cream may always rise to the top, but so does the garbage on Lake Michigan.  (Sorry for the Goodtimes reference.)

5. Blogging will teach you something about yourself that you didn’t really know…

…and with that knowledge you can do something that you really need to be doing.  You’ll learn what style of communicator you are, get used to being critiqued by strangers, learn how to tailor your ideas for an audience, and some of how the Blogosphere operates.  At the very least, you’ll figure out what doesn’t work for you.  With that, you can go forward to accomplish what will make you most happy.

I finally realized that I have been put on this Earth to succeed at something.  This isn’t being selfish, it’s being who I am.  I really like writing and explaining complex ideas with words, and I don’t really like the spotlight.  And I want to earn some money before I die.  I’ve finally accepted that I’m driven, and rather than being a character flaw, it’s my DNA.  By accepting this, I can manage my life to reflect my values, rather than just fumbling around wondering what’s wrong with me.

Being a typical, wacko INTJ female I couldn’t just publish a Gone Fishin’/Closed for Renovations post as I took the summer off to get my head in order and this blog back on track.  But you probably are used to that since you’ve all been here before.  Which is awesome.  I couldn’t wish for a better group of commenters, and “Like”-ers, and Facebook friends and all the rest who have taken time out of their lives to give this a read.  You are all the best, or as Princess would say, “Bestest in the world.  Even better than McDonald’s!”

Have a great summer, folks!  Take it easy and God Bless!

My Little Commando

My little man just can’t stop moving!

Big Boy ran across the floor of the Toy Section, jumped at least 12″ up and landing 180° around, feet in a Sumo stance. “Ta Da!”

“It’s s Shaving Kit!  Just like Dad.”

There is something about being under 40lbs. that allows you to punctuate your sentences by leaping a third of your body height into the air.  Big Boy does it all the time.  He jumps, and kicks, and points, and air punches.  Like when he found a Junior Shaving Kit, complete with a can of foaming soap, a cracker sized mirror in a yellow frame, a tomato red Barber’s comb, and a plastic toy safety razor.

“Now,we can shave together,” he announced to the young salesgirl who was following us surreptitiously. “Me, and Dad.  Together.”

But he couldn’t wait that long.  As soon as we hit the back deck, he was scrapping white cream off his face with his blue and red Shaver.  “How do I look?”  Big Boy stuck out his chin, as if it was a pre-Prom inspection for missed spots and toilet paper First-Aid.

“Two big thumbs up, Dude. You’re perfect.”  Like you always are, Dude.

Big Boy is all of 3, and if you don’t know, hanging around with a 3 year old is a like keeping time with a non-stop one liner machine.

“When I grow up, I’m going to dance like SpiderMAN does.”  Punctuate this with a donkey kick or two.

“I wasn’t playing with the curtains, Mom.  I was just wiping my Boogy-juice.”

“But I can’t stop fiddling with my nose.  I’m exercising it.”

This morning I handed him an outfit straight from the dryer.  “Shirt, shorts, and underwear,” I said.

“Underwear?  Underwhoawhoawhoear,” he giggled and saluted the suddenly ridiculous garment toward the ceiling.  The invitation to Big Boy’s world includes the the letters:  U.O.L.O.L. or, Underwear Optional, Laugh Out Loud.  Never has anyone found anything so funny or so dispensable as Big Boy does his BVD’s.  I find discarded boy’s underthings – perfectly dry and clean, mind you – in the most unlikely of places.  Beside the powder room floor (tucked behind the waste basket,) on the TV couch, under my bed, by the kitchen table, and in with a bunch of doll dresses.  He’s never naked, just less dressed, you could say.  (We’re way beyond the stage where he come down “ready” in the morning, sporting nothing but sweater, Tee and socks.)

This all reminds of the time he was running around in his Board Shorts in the sprinkler.  They were big, baggy, Hawaiian print swimwear, and while the string ties were keeping things in place in front, the back was totally different universe.  I was blinded as two very round, very white cheeks reflected the sunlight straight into my eyes.  Sort of the pants version of a Mullet:  all business in the front, all Moon in the back.

“Dude!  Pull up your pants!”

He bent over at the waist and started twisting furiously back and forth looking evidence of immodesty.

“What?  Looks perfect to me, Mom.”

Yes, Big Boy.  You’re perfect.  Like always.

Happy Father’s Day to the Best Guy in the Entire Universe!

I never thought I could ever find such a great guy as I have in you, and you happen to be the best Father ever!  Who could be so lucky?

Here are some ways you rock, Sweetheart:

You are (in no particular order of awesome-tude) funny, kind, an amazing cook, handy around the house, defender of the weak and innocent, interesting, well-read, well-thought, a philosopher, a play-fighter, Daddy Robot, reader of bedtime stories, endurer of bubblegum pop, extremely competent, sympathetic, reliable, and you always have our backs.

We love you so much!  Have a great day!

Dear Chauvinist Pigs: Please Come Back and Help Me

Today, I had three little kids in the SUV, a low tire pressure warning on the dashboard, and the complete inability to read the PSI recommendation written on the sidewall of my tire.  Oh, I know it was there somewhere.  It’s just with pouring rain and all the road dust it was a little obscured.  I was also wearing a fashionable spring jacket that looked nice, but came with a completely impractical hood that made me look that that Darth Sidious guy from Star Wars when he was in evil disguise.  Plus, the air pump at the gas station was positioned right beside the freeway that the drive-through to the coffee shop located inside the gas station store.  (As in aside, I will never be comfortable buying “fresh” food from a place that specializes in motor oil, propylene glycol, and other extremely volatile fluids.)  So, eveytime I had to walk around the truck with my little metal stick to check the pressure, I took my life into my hands as some caffeine deprived driver finally noticed me at the last possible moment.  Which brings me to the big question of my morning:

Why couldn’t one of those drivers be some old-fashioned chauvinist pig who gets his ego boost out of helping females in distress?

Hey, I won’t complain — and I don’t.  When the mover jumped off the back of the truck to take a box headed to my trunk out of my arms and into his, I said “Thanks.”  When some youngster Rig Pig wanted to pull me out of a snow bank with his 3/4 ton truck, I said, “Tell me when to hit the gas.”  You got jumper cables?  Hook ’em up.  Wanna push my flats onto the cart at Ikea?  Knock yourself out.  When the older gentleman asked if he could carry my vacuum cleaner down the escalator at The Bay, I couldn’t offload it fast enough.  Hell, I married a guy who won’t let me operate his lawn mower!

You know, when I was in my teens, I would have been horrified.  I (mistakenly) thought that this meant that I was proving that women were the weaker sex.  It was as if with every door held open, we somehow morally surrendered power to men.  What we needed were sensitive men who just let us muddle through everything like equals.

Except the last thing I needed this wet, cold, frustrating morning was Phil Donahue telling me he knows how June Cleaver stereotypes must make me feel.   I needed some knucklehead who feels he knows everything about tires, and it’s his duty to come and save me.

‘Cuz ladies, after bearing down on six kids, I don’t feel I need to prove anything anymore.  But I could sure borrow some of that up body strength every so often.

Please come back chauvinist pigs.  We won’t yell anymore, and I really need some help with my car.

When a Baby is Born

When a baby is born you realize that the life you were living which seemed complete, really wasn’t.   You thought your heart was full, but now you realize that it was really one adorable 6 lb 13 oz size too small.  You see that even though you thought you had it all figured out, most of the wonderfulness of life is beyond your control, and you are just lucky to go along for the ride.   And you suddenly see how photogenic yoghurt can make a face.

One year ago today I went for an appointment with my Doctor, and 4 hours later I had a baby girl.  By the time the kids walked in the door after school, they were one sibling up the family ladder.  Nothing with parenthood is how you expect.

In this past year Baby, you’ve charmed our hearts.  You giggle at strangers in the shopping cart, and play “tickle tickle” with any belly you spy.  You are a sweet joy, and a blessing to our lives.

Yesterday as I gazed at you in the morning sun,  I hoped one day you get to hold sweet, pudgy babies in your arms, and grow crows feet from laughing, and grey hairs from too many happy years.

Happy First Birthday Boobah!

It’s Tall Girl’s Birthday Today…

…and it should be happy.  Because that’s one thing Tall Girl does really well is be happy.

Look! I'm official!

Except when she’s not.

Bad hair day.

I know that you’re getting older and it’s hard being stuck between this:

Happy 3rd Birthday!!!!

and this:

Going on 16...

But you’re super smart, and kind, and funny, and loving, and pretty, and helpful, and resourceful, and likeable. Don’t forget the world’s biggest Harry Potter geek.

And you’ll do just fine. We love you Tall Girl. Thanks for making our lives all that much more brighter for being here. And for your birthday we’ll give you back your nose.

Happy 5th Birthday Princess!

5 pictures for 5 big years!

Art Princess
Little Mommy Princess
Princess Babushka
Take My Picture Princess
Princess of my Heart

We can’t believe our lucky stars so have such as sweet, charming, and gentle hearted little girl. You are gracious and kind, and light up our days with your happy face. We love you very much and are so glad you are here! We can’t wait to see what the next 5 years bring.

You go, Princess!

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

To a guy who carries the whole world on his shoulders.

Who teaches what he knows.

Who puts up with a whole bunch of stuff and never complains.

You leave some very big shoes to fill.

So, have a very, very Happy Birthday.

We all love you very much.  I love you very much.

Now, go have what you really want for your birthday treat.

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