Friday, April 29, 2011

Ever After...

Deep down I think we all love a Royal Wedding.   I remember watching with wide eyes and anticipation as Charles and Diana were married.   Diana's pouffy dress with the longest train that I had ever seen.  Prince Charming waiting at the end of  the aisle waiting to sweep her from her life as a preschool teacher into a Royal Fairytale of  ever after.   We couldn't get enough pictures of them and how we longed for them to be the happily ever after that we all wanted them to be.   We all know how that story ended.  
  To celebrate the Royal Wedding of Kate and William Nate and Paige's school is celebrating the nuptials by dressing up and wearing suits and fascinators.  We went out last night and found Nathan a suit and I made Paige a fascinator to wear with her fancy shmancy dress got at Frenchy's.  Nathan and I hit the suit rack at our favorite French boutique at supper time and found him a suit and a shirt and tie.  We stopped at the dollarama and found all of the fixings to make Paige her hat.   Nathan rarely likes to dress up but the thought that he wanted to wear a suit and celebrate the royal nuptials in this way encouraged no hesitation on my part to open the pocketbook to invest thirty dollars on wedding attire for a 10 year old.  I may have to wait til his wedding for him to wear another one.   Paige always wants to wear fancy dresses and mostly she wants to wear them places and at times that are not appropriate but after four children and realizing that the clothes they wear and where they wear it is not an issue of eternity I tend to just let it ride.   
     We realize that their excitement of this marriage is the excitement of the "ever after" fairytale that is now real life for them.  All the Disney movies of princes and princesses that told a story of everlasting love and happily ever after is now real with a future King and his future Queen.  
     This is probably the 10th time we have headed for the second hand store to find costumes for the kids for different events for school.   Anti bullying, Halloween, breast cancer awareness, school spirit day, Christmas, St. Paddy's day, and so on and I don't want to even add up what it has cost us.    Those are all great celebrations and causes but there is something about a wedding.  TRUE LOVE for EVER AFTER.   What can be a better celebration than that?   Unfortunately for so many (Statistically over 50%)  love is not ever after and forever.  For Charles and Diana it ended before it even began.  Affairs, betrayal and hurt were a part of their life together before it even began.   Our children's classes are full of families who are broken and some try to put the pieces back together but there are few that have the Happily Ever After.   Some Have the Ever After minus the happily, others happily don't have the ever after.   Let's Celebrate True Love and Ever After.  We need help our children know they can have their Prince Charming and True Love and they can have it forever.   The Prince may be an IT professional and the castle may be a hundred year old farm house but true love still exits for ever after.  Today is not just a celebration of Royalty and Pomp and Circumstance, it is one of hope for a future.  There is no better celebration!  Today I celebrate that I found my Prince Charming and he found his Princess.  Our Children celebrate the hope to find their TRUE LOVE 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Winter's woes are washed away

  Spring has definitely sprung in the maritimes.   There is such excitement surrounding the first signs of new life and as we transition from our cool winter into the warmer months.  For the Bickford household, spring means the bikes come out and the children ride circles around our driveway for hours on end.   Our driveway has had no snow on it for awhile.  I should rephrase that.  Had no snow for almost a month until our April Fool's Day snowstorm brought us more than we ever needed.  It also means skateboards and helmets ( Mark has already had a concussion this year).  Soccer balls, footballs, tennis balls, basketballs and all the ball that the dogs buried last year are starting to appear.  Jump ropes, hoolahoops and chalk have made their way out already.  I think after the long winter months we are so desperate to change gears, open up the windows and breathe the sun in.  This past weekend was our spring in so many ways. 
   We had the privilege to go to my cousin's wedding in Beaupre,Quebec.   We shared the car ride with my parents and their Chinese girls.  Another blog, but long story short they are doing their masters at Acadia mom and dad met them in the fall on the street and now they are family.  Our family is smitten with them.  And now as I write this I am not sure we are going to see them before they go back to China so I will save the tears for after I write.  
    We were not totally sure that we were going to make it to Quebec last weekend.  Jason  is crazy busy with work, We just spent 5K we didn't have on a bathroom reno that we really couldn't afford but couldnt' afford  not to.   We decided that after this long and somewhat stressful winter, we were going to make it a priority to go and we are so beyond glad that we did. 
     Eight and a half hours of driving is a lot in one day and it is a lot with your family in the same vehicle but it was fantastic.  Such a nice time to catch up with what is going on in the "adult world" because when I am talking to my mom it is mostly about who threw up, which one of the kids had a bad attitude, and how exhausted I am with dealing with them.  8.5 hours of adult conversation.  Amazing.  Can't remember when the last time that I had that long of a stretch.   I had been to Quebec when I was younger but other than that the only part of the province that I have seen was inside the Montreal airport.   Quebec is beautiful and we always say that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world here but it is so amazing to find see that the creator spread the beauty around.   Wedding events didn't really start until Saturday night so Jason and I went out to supper on our own to a place we found on the GPS.  Turned out to be a fantastic local spot and most people spoke some English we had found but not there.  Jason had ordered Poulet...and ended up with poutine but it was the best poutine he had ever had.   I think he may need to dig out that bilingual certificate he got a few years ago. 
   Saturday morning entailed a breakfast with family at the inn and then we were off to explore Quebec City with Mom and Dad and our Chinese girls Natasha and Lauren.  What a day!   Jason and I love to remember walking the cobblestone streets in Vilnius when we were there and feeling like we were a part of the history as we strolled through Old Town.  Quebec City was the same for us.  There is so much beauty and history in Old Quebec and we loved every moment of it.  In China it is a tradition to walk arm in arm so for a lot of our probably 8 km stroll, we did just that.  Jason informed me later he was a little worried that the girls would try to walk arm and arm with him.  Funny boy :)   The girls are sushi crazed so Lauren popped in a sushi spot and brought out the best sushi we have ever had.  Really.  Yummo!   Sushi was what stayed down when I was pregnant with Paige.  Couldn't handle eating much else but spent every last grocery dollar on fresh sushi for weeks on end.  So... I do know a little about it and go figure Paige loves it!   We had sun, warm, family and friends.  We couldn't ask for anything more but the day wasn't over.  We still had the wedding!  The wedding Inn was right on a river with a large deck that was just a couple of meters away from the gorgeous water and it was warm enough to have the wedding outside...In April.  Love was all around and so was the unity of the two families.  Two different provinces, different languages, but a shared love and joy.  We danced the night away...and then off to bed for a long drive home in the morning.
    We really decided to treat the weekend like a getaway because who knew when we would get another one alone.  We used our handy GPS and found a quaint and very old Inn to have our breakfast Sunday morning while my parents went to mass.  We checked it out the day before but didn't go inside the dining room.   We love history and things of old so this was right up our alley.   The inn was probably 200 years old with exposed beams and stone walls.  Tables for two with white linens.  Everything was perfect.  The meal, the company, the conversation and the atmosphere.  Such a wonderful way to end our getaway.  I say end, but for us it was the beginning of our spring.  We paid more for that breakfast than any meal we have eaten out in the last few months but it was memorable and it was our time together.  It was almost as though time stopped for us for that weekend.  No projects, no kids, no fighting, no schedule.  The weekend was the beginning of our spring and we said goodbye to the winter.  I think that our marriages go through an ebb and flow  and we experience the seasons cyclically in our marriage relationship.  Sometimes summer comes early, as in the birth of your child, or winter comes too quickly and stays beyond it's welcome with financial struggles or the loss of a loved one.   Our winter was long but spring has sprung and I hear it beckoning Summer to come to us soon.  Oh how I love Spring...
                   And Spring arose on the garden fair,
                   Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
                   Each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
                   rose from the dreams of it's wintry rest.
                  ~Percy Bysshe Shelley~

Thursday, March 31, 2011

You just had to be pregnant with me!!!

   Mornings are not the highlight of my day.  Apparently I have passed that on to my last born.  I think my blood pressure has come down from the stroke level to the typical "I'm the mom of 4 strong willed children" level it always is.  It is a busy week for me.  I have my regular 18 hour week for my wonderful outside the home job, plus all of my duties at home.  It is tax time and i typically do Jason's uncle's taxes, my in laws and our own taxes every year.  This year I am a little late.  Typically all of us get returns so we are anxious to get it done get the money and then pay bills.  Well I don't know what our relatives do with theirs but we pay bills.  Always.   I have also volunteered to do wedding flowers for friends who are getting married.  I love to have an outlet for my creativity and I found out that flower arranging and bouquet tying were one of my passions.  Two years ago I did the flowers for my sister's wedding.   Bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, cake top, church flowers, pew flowers, pew markers,  I loved it!   So I jumped at the opportunity to put something beautiful together for their wedding.   It is Saturday.   I took the day off tomorrow and I will be in floral bliss.  The only thing that could be just as wonderful as receiving flowers is to be able to give them to someone else.  Tomorrow can't come soon enough.   So it is a busy week  and the laundry has been piling up.   Paige was out of underwear.  Which is a problem but after having two boys, I am happy that she changes it and she does run out.  So this morning I got up around 6:00 and turned the washer on and then when that was done put the dryer on.  I did this early because I didn't want the washer to affect any one's showers.  Typically it is not easy getting the older kids out of bed.   They usually get up the last minute possible to hop into the shower which usually entails a shouting match, locking each other out of  the bathroom, long hot showers just to make the other one mad, late and have no  hot water.   But teenagers are not always predictable but apparently they are always right.  Our oldest daughter, bless her heart got up on her own without bribery and hopped into the shower around 6:30.   Paige was up and moving and coming down for breakfast.   She was convinced by her Daddy to come down and eat her breakfast in her Jammie's while her underwear dried.   We were feeling that it was a good morning because no one was fighting, no doors slamming, everyone could find clean socks, we hadn't heard "I'm not eating that!"  that we normally here.   I chalk that up to the fact that Daddy stopped at the store on the way home and got a box of froot loops.   AKA "sugar rings"   Normally I would have a fit , well not a fit but "I can't believe you bought that for them to eat" conversation because this week there were bigger fish to fry.  The frootloops were saving the morning.  Come downstairs!  Daddy got you froot loops!   After breakfast the dryer was off and I went to get the underwear out the dryer and opened the door to find wet clothes.  The older daughter who had decided to get up early and have her shower thought that the dryer being on was causing her shower water to go cold.  So she hopped out and turned the dryer off and got back in and apparently all was well.   This happened all behind a locked bathroom door.   I dont' know about your teenager but our teenager, one in particular knows it all.   If the almost 2000 dollars we just spent to fix our plumbing caused the dryer to affect the water pressure and the temperature in our shower then I think we need to have him come back and he is a genius!   So... Paige still had no panties and the bus was coming in 10 min.  There was no way underwear was going to dry in 10 min when it was sopping wet even with a blow dryer.  I say that with some experience under my belt.  So Paige was going to miss the bus and daddy was going to have to drive her.    I always loved it when my parents drove me to school and I didn't have to sit crammed into those seats with other kids yelling and smelling like what they just ate.  Not Paige.  To miss the bus is as if you have taken away her last joy in life.   I think some kids can get upset get over it and move on.  Not our youngest.  Not in the morning.   Unfortunately she did not get that from her Dad.  Daddy is always calm cool and collected in the mornings..Not me.   I am not allowed to get the kids  up in the morning anymore.  He does it.   I make the lunches and get the breakfast smile at the kids and make sure they keep moving.   Daddy does all the talking.  They don't even ask me questions anymore before school.  They just ask Dad.  Good thing he doesn't travel much or we would be up the creek.  Well Paige flew into a rage like no other and for 25 minutes I thought that she might implode.  It probably didn't help that we ate our supper at 8 and she didn't get to sleep until 9....Kids say the craziest things when they are upset... I am moving out,  I hate you, You make me so mad....I hate my clothes.... You are ugly....I hate my life....I am going to live with Grammy.....You make yucky suppers...I will never love you again...    All over underwear and getting a drive with Daddy to school.   Then she came out with "you just had to be pregnant with me"  This is a new one and cut me like a knife.  Hurt my heart.   She does not know the angst I felt when I found out I was pregnant with her.  The joy I finally felt when the reality set in.   The months I spent hanging over a toilet trying to keep food down.  The scary moments of thinking she might be pre-term.   The insulin I had to inject twice daily to make sure she and I were healthy when she was born.  The fear when we found out she was blind and that she needed surgery.  Nope she was thinking of panties and I was the momma who couldn't provide her with what she needed at that moment.  So she freaked.  How often do we freak when we don't get what we expect we should have, when we think we should get it?  I think I probably have a few inner hissy fits about the moment at hand and forget about the big picture and what blessings I have that have been provided by my heavenly father. It made me think of the pain it causes him.   Paige finally ran out of steam said she was sorry and asked to go to bed earlier tonight.  "of course I forgive you honey, but you wasted so much time freaking out".  "I know Mom, I'm crazy"   I know darlin, just like your mom. 

Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?— and treat your servants with kindness for a change. Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we'll skip and dance all the day long. Make up for the bad times with some good times; we've seen enough evil to last a lifetime. Let your servants see what you're best at— the ways you rule and bless your children. And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Psalm 90:12

Monday, March 28, 2011

I will choose Joy!

I have just finished putting the hand made macaroni and cheese in the oven.  I say home made because there are some who believe if it comes from a box and and it is made at home then it is of course...Home made.  My macaroni and cheese was made with my hands with my ingredients that I have at home... I am thankful.  As I put the casserole in the oven on warm until Daddy gets home, I asked my kids to help me with the dishes.   I didn't ask them to wash, dry and put away the dishes or wipe the counters down and wipe the spatter off the walls and the mixer and the floor from baking and icing 4 dozen cupcakes.  I asked my oldest boy to unload the dishwasher and his sister to put away the dry dishes in the sink and strainer.   It is amazing to me how many dishes can accumulate when one is baking.  I can feel the wrinkles in my fingers from the dishes I have already done.  The three times I have already washed the mixer bowls and beaters, and washing the breakfast dishes by hand because the dishwasher was full. Needless to say they did not do the jobs that were asked of them without telling me all of the chores they have completed in the last 24 hours which I probably could have fit into my last 5 minutes of writing...   So I am a tired momma today.  Out the door for work after a heart to heart with a dear friend, home again at lunchtime but rarely is it ever lunch for a mom even when the house is empty but her and two dogs.   I volunteered my baking services for our local business women's group tonight.  We are hosting it at the clinic I work.  I love to bake and so many other hobbies I love to do.  With every child that I gave birth to it seems like I have been birthed anew but at the same time there is a piece or pieces that are taken away.   I rarely have time for the creativity that soothes my soul and hours of reading that stirs my mind.  I am reading "Not so Fast, Learn to slow down" when I am in the bathroom as some days it is the only retreat in our most days chaotic home.  But today I am seeing the dishes and my children and the joy in the things I do.  It is not a joy that is there.  It is joy that is determined in my heart.  There is joy in dishes because it means I have children who have used them.  There is joy in home made mac and cheese.  It gives them pleasure to make something they love.   There is joy in telling them that they have to do the dishes for the 5th time today, because I am their mom and I am here to tell them.  I get to teach them, love them, care for them, discipline them and catch their tears.  Today the joy that I choose to feel has caught some of my own.  Like a father who loves us, wants the best for us and His delight and joy over us goes way beyond what we could ever do to please him.  I am the the mother the reflection of that relationship to my children.  I will choose joy. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What goes up must come down....

      Wallpaper is in again.  It is hard to believe that we have reinvented the decorating wheel again and gone back to the dreaded glue covered paper.   I remember my parents taking layers and layers and layers off of the walls in our rental apartment to finally figure out that there may be more ugly papers below the 6 they already peeled (let me rephrase that...) scraped off in tiny little pieces.  When that phase of the demolition was completed a new "more beautiful then but now is ugly" wallpaper is put up to cover up the mess that still lies underneath.  I remember gazing over book after book to find just the right one that suited my colour scheme I had in mind and my parents were always great about letting me pick what I wanted.  Side Note...( I am not that generous with what I let the kids pick and they are bitter about it but that is another blog...)
So the cycle goes...wallpaper is only beautiful to the eye of the beholder and usually comes down when the new tenant comes in.  That is what we did with our house.  The wallpaper came down, managed to get it down to the bear wall with much blood sweat and tears...and probably a few words said under my breath but they were only kind and loving...  There was one final frontier that had the wallpaper that we hadn't removed...A couple of years ago we thought we had found our dream house ( again) and our bathroom hadn't been renovated for probably 25 years and the wallpaper was coming off but not in a good way.  The top layer was peeling off and the bottom layer stayed on.  We tried everything under the sun to get it off  and in a panic of not knowing what to do about it and we needed to get the bathroom show ready..( which didn't really make any difference because we had linoleum on our floor that was duct taped )  I PAINTED OVER THE WALLPAPER..  I will say it quieter.  i painted over the wallpaper...if  I could make it smaller I would.  Big mistake which now leads us to our wallpaper issue at hand.   I will not go into the conversations that we have had over that brain lapse but I will say that I have learned my lesson.  Never again.   But the paper issues still haunt us.   We recently completed a bathroom renovation ( which is another blog) and all is new except the walls that were painted over.   After an extra 1800 dollar extra plumbing bill our pocketbook and our emotional health couldn't handle another tear apart.  So we had lovely wainscoting installed around the perimeter of the room and the plan was to put paintable wallpaper above the wainscoting.  The plan was pun intended.  The wallpaper was installed and was allowed to set before we started painting.  There were a few places that needed to be touched up with glue where the corners had peeled up...fixed it no problem.    We picked a gorgeous paint colour from benjamin moore..Agean blue.  Jason wanted a blue bathroom and so I colour matched from my new shower curtain....Today was the day we were going to get the paint on, hang the mirror, the new hotel style towel bars..the photos of the kids when they were little in the tub..It was going to be done.  As soon as Jason put the paint on the paper it started lift up... not just a little bit.  The whole sheet of paper.  He tried another...and the same thing.  All of our plans for a finished room went up in a poof of smoke.   We now we be using the steamer to get the rest off of the wall that hasn't already pulled up and I will be looking at my walls that are underneath that will remind me of the huge mistake I made painting over them which will also cause my husband to say "I told you so" again.   I can handle the "I told you so"...I hear it quite a bit.   I tend to do things my own way and then I am trying to fix something that would and could have been fixed if I had taken the time to do it right in the first place.   Kents was very easy to deal with and replaced the paper for us that it turns out only had a smattering of glue on it.  She kindly said she was sorry.   That was all she could do.  Wouldn't it be nice if there was a return policy for wallpaper that included reinstalling when it was defective?  Onward and Upward.  Back to the drawing board for us.   There is an author that imagines that Hell may be  what you have created for yourself....If that was the case this would be mine. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Let's Have a Cuppa...It has been so Long!

  Where has the time gone?  in deciding to resurrect the blog awhile back I realized that the last post was in 2008!   Three years ago.    I am starting to recollect all of the changes that have taken place over the last 36 months and I am staggered by small and large scale crazy things that have come to pass in the Bickford household.   This list is as much of a celebration that we have made it, we have all survived and we are still relatively unscathed:)

Here is my top 10 of things that have changed...good, bad and the random order

1. In 2008, I had a home daycare and kept four extra children through the day, three more afterschool and still tried to make sure that I could remember what my own children's names were...Today?  I am working as the Special Projects Coordinator for an private occupational therapy provider.  Life is good.
2. In 2008 we had one busy boxer baby that was starting to understand that we were the leaders and she was the follower.  We had thrown out some previously handsome furniture that aided in her losing her baby teeth.  Today? We now have two boxer babies who love to wrestle and fight and sneak into the kitchen and eat chicken bones out of the garbage...(We must have had a brain lapse)
3. In 2008 we had aspirations for a house renovation that included a mudroom and garage...Today?  Renovations complete!  Our mudroom and garage is under the house and is called laminated beams and "the sill" that was rotten in our 100 year old home.  I have been told that it is important to have a sill  that is not  rotted enough that you can stick a pencil through.  Jason didn't get his man cave...I gave him a closet to put his "stuff" in.
4. In 2008 I was only sending three children off to school...Today?  Paige is in Grade one now and it is a good day when she has gotten out the door without saying the words, not let me rephrase that, screaming "I don't want to!!"  "I hate you!", "You make me so mad!"  Paige is not a morning person...I would love to say that she gets that from her Dad...but..
5.  In 2008 we had four children that we could get into the movies with paying the children's rate. Today?  Today I am the mother of two teenagers.  I take great pride in what we have accomplished...We have survived two years of teenage life with Olivia and have made it through the first month of the life of 13 year old Mark.  Somedays it seems like Aliens have taken over.  Somedays I would like to say "E.T. GO HOME!"
6.  In 2008, I didn't iron my husband's clothes. Today?  Well I want to iron his clothes, I think about ironing his clothes, i know he would love it if I ironed his clothes...No change.
7.  In 2008 our kids were involved in a once a week program at our church, played sports in the summer but other than that we were relatively in charge of our schedule. Today?  Mark has a newspaper route that he does with the help of his Dad at 5 am, worship band practice, two nights of worship at youth, and guitar lessons, Livs generally has soccer 5 times a week and then at least two weekends away for soccer, the younger two have midweek group at the church.  I am already struggling to figure out what will happen when the other two want to add an activity or two?  This is what you don't think about in the process of procreation.  Fun as it is, it has consequences!
8.  In 2008, we were driving a 1995 Suburban.  Today?  Mama still has her truck but the change is that I don't have to wonder if I heard Jason drive in the driveway.  I can here him coming from the bottom of our road. 
9.  In 2008 I was working really hard at getting my pre baby body back.  Today? Notta..:(
10.  In 2008 I had a husband who loved me, cherished me and understood me.  Today?  He just loves me more and I can honestly say i don't deserve the love he shows me.  He is amazing.  I love him more for who he is than what he does.  Faithful Friend and Father... a true reflection and example to our family of how the FATHER love us.  Unconditionally, the way we are.  Imperfect, Cranky, Selfish and Indifferent.  Three years from now I want to be able to love him the way he loves me with Great Abandon

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Skills I need to teach my Children

It is Tuesday morning already and I am a little worried that today may turn out to be as crazy as yesterday. I always seem to underestimate how long it is going to take me to do something.
Yesterday started out pretty good, I was up early and got things straightened out, but as the morning rolled along, I got a little lazier. Two of the kids had to be at keeper camp by 1:00 and they didn't wake up until 11am. (got to love preteens) I would have lived for a morning sleep in when they were little, but now there is so much to be done and they need to help. We got out the door on time to get the kids there, but they informed me they hadn't eaten any lunch, (on crazy days the big kids get their own) and half way to the turf, Olivia informs me she forgot her cleats. I can believe she could forget her gloves, or ankle guards or even her mouth guard but her cleats? So we drive home and now I know they are going to just make it and believe me, for this keeper coach, you don't want to be late! We actually got to the field where they normally play and the gate is locked,. they are in the lower field and they have to get over the fence. I think I have touched on every life skill with my kids. Or so I thought. My kids cannot climb over a fence. This was not a high fence, but a chain link fence that they could just quickly get themselves over. I think I have sheltered them, or not let them out of my sight enough to let them master this skill. It took them almost 15 minutes to navigate their way over. Mark was scared to catch his whoo hoo which I get, and Olivia was scared to do damage to the fence. That is the first born in her, but I would love her to lose a little of her Type A once in a while. This was one of those moments. The other kids who were a little on the edge of being late too, just heisted themselves over and away they went, they didn't want the "wrath of George". I am driving them to the lower field today and we are going to be there 20 min early just in case the gate is locked and they have to do a little fence navigating. I think I need to get them some lessons...