Thursday, May 29, 2008

Super Stone

I am completely enamoured with the little girl who lives across the street from us. I had sort of lost hope for childhood after reading one too many stories in the news about the violent, selfish, lazy and/or spoiled children that my generation seems to have rasied. I worried for Hayden's future self. Until last night.

Shortly after we got home, the little girl across the street and her girlfriend dragged a giant cardboard box to the sidewalk. They spent ages drawing and writing on two brightly coloured bristol boards and on the box itself. I watched as they eagerly held up their bright signs to anyone who drove past or walked even close to their house. Curiosity got the better of me and I took Hayden on the front porch to get a better look. As soon as I was spotted, a pair of neon signs were flashed in my direction.

Hayden and I sauntered across the street to peruse their sidewalk store. They were selling hand painted rocks for .50 each. My heart instantly melted. This was exactly the kind of thing I used to do. I asked them if they were saving up for anything special and they beamed as they told me that Father's Day was coming soon and they wanted to buy their dads something very special.

Hayden and I carefully scanned the rocks and just as he was about to choose one, one of our mini salesladies explained that these rocks were for display only. The ones for sale were in the smaller box to the side. Trying to suppress my laughter, we turned our attention to said box and chose two very pretty rocks: one that said "LOVE" in swirly letters and another with a carefully drawn red flower.

I duly paid my $1 and thanked them for my beautiful rocks. They then asked for my name and explained that they were only going to sell 50 rocks before taking a break for a week because painting rocks is hard work! Again, I bit back my laughter and nodded at their solemn business sense. I wished them good luck and walked across the street, proudly displaying my new painted rocks on our front windowsill.

Not five minutes later, the doorbell rang. Standing on my porch was one of my mini salesladies. She proudly thrust a small piece of paper into my hand and explained that I had forgotten my receipt. At this point I was completely in love with these little girls. I thanked her kindly and said it would come in handy in case I needed any more rocks and forgot where to go. As she skipped back across the street to her cardboard store front I took at look at my receipt. They had carefully penned in my name, the date, the number of rocks and the cost along with the name of their store: Super Stone.

As I watched them out our front window randomly throughout the evening, they danced between manning the store front and playing in the yard. Eventually the box was dragged back into the garage for next time and the girls bounded hand in hand into the house. I was left with a lovely warm feeling of optimism. Their simple idea to make some money for Father's Day and the true dedication they put into their little business just caught me by surprise. It made me hopeful that my treasured childhood memories and activities hadn't been completely lost with this new generation. There are still kids who work for what they want and take pride in what they do. These two little entrepreneurs reinstated my hope for the next generation with just a handful of brightly painted stones sold at a cardboard store front.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hairy confession

I have a confession to make. It's one that I've been hiding for the past 18 months or so. Something that my husband finds disgusting and our North American culture frowns upon.

I no longer shave my legs.

There. I said it out loud. I've admitted it to the void that is my blog. I have no idea who is reading or what your hair views are, but I'm envisioning a lot of noses crinkled in disgust.

You see, I was always someone who felt that shaving your legs was just something you had to do. I remember becoming acutely aware of my girlfriend's smooth, shiny legs around the age of 12. I've been a dedicated hairless monkey ever since.

It wasn't until Hayden arrived that my steadfastness started to wane. Suddenly having a hairless body no longer seemed like a priority. In fact, it seemed downright ridiculous to spend a quarter of my two hour alone time every day on something so unnecessary. At first I lapsed into shaving only once a week...then once a month. I can now safely say it has been many months since these legs have seen a razor.

To be honest, in using my uncle-in-law's theory (which was designed to determine if making something from scratch outweighed the store bought version) the expense and effort just don't balance the payoff.

At first I was a little repulsed by the thought and feel of this natural look. But as the hair evened out and grew softer, I came to accept it as just a part of who I am. The other day I took a long walk into the town centre and marvelled at how the wind felt as it caught and moved these tiny blond hairs.

Adam has expressed his disgust with this change in a plethora of ways. He tells me it's dangerous to Hayden ("He could fall and impale himself on them!"), oppressive to our physical interactions ("Our hair could get tangled together and we'd be stuck!") and a threat to my status as a yummy mummy ("You were so much hotter when you weren't hairy.")

And so dear readers, you may feel at this point that I've become too granola for your tastes. Not only do I nurse my 18 month old and sleep in a family bed, but I let my hair grow free. To you I say Chill out dude. So far Hayden remains unscathed, Adam and I are still...interacting and damn it, I'm just as hot as I ever was. Besides, I never was very good at following the rules...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Event Planner Math

1 Event planner
- 3 nights of sleep
+ 450 guests at an all-day multimedia laced meeting
/ by 1 little boy who was the last kid to be picked up at daycare one day last week
x many tears from mama thinking of said boy having to have as long a day as mama did
+ 9 hours of an almost flawless meeting
x 1 incredible guest speaker who had the whole audience in stitches
= 1 completely mentally and physically exhausted mama.

I did it, it was a great success. But dear lord, I'm glad I don't have to do it again until next year. Tomorrow, I'm playing hookie to make up lost time with Hayden. We're going to the zoo with Gran, Na (Auntie Ang) and Jeej (Gage). I figure watching a bunch of monkeys throw poop will make a great transition from work to weekend!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blogging for sanity (or lack thereof)

So in two days I will pull off my very first all staff meeting at work. This is a full day meeting for over 400 people and involves everything from slideshows to live video and movies. The logistics have been a nightmare. I've dealt with everything from a double booked venue to a less than enthusiastic response to my RSVP request. Thanks to an absolutely fantastic supporting team (especially my angel Rozie), we've managed to overcome these hurdles. Now as the day draws near, I'm waking up at 3AM thinking of details and decisions. The joy of being an event planner.

Wish me luck and sanity until Wednesday night. By then it will all be over and done with (and hopefully have been a big success)! I'm sure I'll be blogging all about it!

Till then, may Valium not go out of business.

Happy mother's day!

Happy mother's day everyone! I hope that your weekend was as fabulous as mine. For me, this felt like the best mother's day yet. My first one was last year and we had moved from Ottawa to Cambridge only weeks before. Our lives were so disheveled that I don't remember much of it aside from a gorgeous hand print Adam helped Hayden to make. This year, Hayden's school helped him to make two beautiful cards and a little pot of ivy. And daddy helped him to make another gorgeous card on Sunday morning.

On Saturday my in-laws came over and brought us their old pool and gazebo. My mother in law and I went to the grocery store before lunch. She's a wanderer. Every time I'd turn around she was gone. I don't know how many times I'd be in the middle of a story only to find out that I was talking to myself. It was sort of like shopping with Hayden but less panicky.

After the in-laws left we went and found some plants for the front yard. For under $100 we bought a lilac bush, two trays of chicks and hens, some forget me not seeds (my favourite flower), two blueberry bushes (Hayden eats them like candy), and a nice hanging basket. Back at home, Hayden and I transported rocks from the backyard while Adam dug up the sorry looking grass and made me a garden. Hayden absolutely hated the wheelbarrow rides! Every time I'd plunk him in (I didn't have much choice with him being a runner), he'd scream like a banshee! Anyhow, back to the story. We lined our new front garden with the big, round stones that seem to pop up everywhere. It looks very neat and natural. (photos to come) Oh and while we're on gardening - my ferns (that my lovely neighbour gave us) are starting to sprout under our big maple tree. I think our front yard is going to look spectacular! Seems I have a green thumb after all!

On mother's day morning, I woke Hayden up at 8:00. I know, I know, I'm crazy to wake a sleeping baby, but I wanted to spend my special day with my little heartsong. We had a yummy pancake and bacon breakfast courtesy of daddy. Then he gave me my mother's day present: a DVD of Hayden's birth! Hayden is a year and a half old and I've never seen it! I could never find the right tape and if I ever did, I couldn't find the cords to attach the camera to the TV. Now I can easily watch it over and over again. It was such a wonderful gift and I found myself biting back tears watching the doctor place him on my chest for the first time. He was so tiny and floppy and perfect. And oh his little cry. It made my ovaries (briefly) ache for another one!

Adam ended my wonderful mother's day with a sushi dinner. My absolute favourite food that I don't get to indulge in very often. I've finally found a great sushi joint too. We've been trying different restaurants around town and stumbled upon a tiny little place called California Sushi. Normally I'm wary of unknown sushi joints, but we bit the bullet and went for it. The sushi was the best I've had since I left Ottawa, it was cheap, the service was friendly and fast, and they even wrote a mother's day message on my take-away box! A great way to end the day.

So to all of you mamas out there - Happy Mother's Day! I hope that your children and husbands were as thoughtful and spoiling as mine.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A change of heart

I’ve noticed in the past few weeks that my love for Hayden has changed.

When I found out that I was pregnant, I loved him for what he was: a symbol of our love, a tiny little person growing inside of me.

When he was born, I loved him because he completed me. He made me a mother. He was a miracle of perfection and stole my heart. I developed that feral mother need to protect him against all odds. He gave my life a whole new purpose and changed me in ways I’m still discovering.

But now, as he nears his year and a half mark, I find myself loving him not just for what he is (my perfect, wonderful son), but for who he is. His personality has come shining through in the past few months. He shows me his sense of humour by performing funny dance moves just to make me laugh. He shows me uncanny patience as I try to understand his new words. He shows me tender love by coming undone if he accidentally hurts me. He shows his wonder of the world by proudly bringing me rocks, worms or ladybugs. He shows incredible intelligence as he quietly figures out how everything works: from the TV remote to flowers in the yard. He shows his exuberance by bellowing out his favourite words and running to me with arms outstretched. He shows his gentle nature with his hugs and pats for Salem.

He is truly becoming a little person. Not just my son Hayden, but this independent little boy with a mind of his own. And I truly love it. I find myself getting up early on my days to sleep in just so that I can bask in his wonder of the world just a few minutes longer. I don’t want to miss a moment of these magical toddler years where he begins to discover who he is.

Before I had children, I couldn’t imagine how parents could love their children any more than during the completely dependant newborn phase. The sheer innocence of a mind not yet tarnished and the tiny pinkness of those miniature features. But now I know better. I know the satisfaction of raising a child who has the strength and support to become his own person. I know the joy of watching them learn and the pride as they discover a new skill.

I know now that my little heartsong has taken my tune and is now adding his own lyrics, making his own masterpiece…I can’t wait to hear the final score.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. - Abraham Lincoln

So yesterday I had my first formal performance review at work and came out feeling very disgruntled and unappreciated. Despite working my tail off and putting my all into impressing the company, I received a "met" rating. Now the company line is that this rating is excellent and what you should be aiming for, but that just didn't sit right with me.

Thinking it over last night and talking with Adam, I realized why this is bothering me so much. Aside from the fact that I busted my butt, I'm used to getting a high mark. All through school I've been a high achiever. So getting this "met" rating is like getting a B in school - it's great for most people, but just not good enough for me.

So today, I had my weekly meeting with my direct manager and I brought up my rating to get her opinion of my work. She assured me that I am indeed doing a phenomenal job. She said she was very happy with my work, and more importantly (according to her) pleased with my attitude and passion. Apparently that is where I truly exceed and that isn't ranked.

I asked her to think of ways that I could work towards a higher ranking and she gave me some great feedback about training and courses. She's going to think about some areas that she feels I could really excel at and some weaknesses that I could develop to help me along. I love my manager.

So although my rating has not changed, my attitude towards it has and I'm much less disgruntled after my chat. She assured me that I won't be penalized if I can't keep up my breakneck speed that I set for the first six months. In fact, she encouraged me to now fall into a rhythm that felt comfortable yet challenging. Have I told you how much I love my manager?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Prayer of the day

Please Lord, let the universe and fates work together to allow me to receive my evaluations in terms of grins and giggles instead of performance appraisals. Those precious miracles we call children are so much better at making you feel appreciated and valued (at least until they're teenagers).

.....the rat race sucks.....