I am here...although I don't know if I have arrived. Some days I feel stranded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, other days I marvel at the paradise that I call my life. Welcome to my ramblings, reflections, and obsessive- compulsive tendencies

Sunday, September 27, 2009

...about entertaining

i've never really been one to invite people over to my house much. even as a kid i was happier going over to other people's houses. they had stuff that i didn't have. i didn't have to share my toys or have them broken. i didn't have to worry that my mom or dad or brothers would embarrass me. i could decide when i was done and go home, not wait for the other person to decide. that all kind of carried over into adulthood. we would have a party or two on a special occasions, but beyond that, we only really had family over for dinner or perhaps a really close friend that felt like family. we didn't have to worry too much that our house wasn't amazingly decorated (or all that tidy) and there was no concern over impressing them...what could they do, they were tied to us by blood, after all.

now that we are on this little island in the middle of the ocean and we don't have family around, we've decided to branch out a little in the realm of entertaining. for the last two weeks in a row we have invited friends over. our boys are thrilled. last week we invited a family, also originally from ontario, who have two little girls about the ages of our boys. by the end of the evening we had seen puppet shows, fashion shows, jello tricks, dances and songs, there were toys in every room of our house, bathrooms included, and a whole lot of empty wine bottles adorning the kitchen counter. we had such a good time. this weekend, we had a couple and their tiny baby over for dinner. they just moved here from atlanta three weeks ago and are just trying to get settled. again, we had a lovely evening. our littlest son performed his way through the evening with his crazy faces and funny dances while our oldest son spent the first half of the evening running his "restaurant", taking food and drink orders, and the second half of the evening sharing little known facts about animals. our tiny, three-month old guest was wearing pajamas with animals all over them, so our little professor had to find the toy versions of each one of them and give his informative lectures about each animal.

our house still isn't amazingly decorated (or all that tidy) and we don't have all that many "impressive" menu items. we do have fun, though. we've discovered that entertaining isn't really about all of those trappings anyway. it is about enjoying the company of friends. we're already thinking about who we can invite to our house next saturday evening.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

...about dividing and conquering

here is a little snapshot of my usual home life: mornings are a crazy rush of showering, making breakfasts, packing lunches, filling backpacks, trying to get everyone looking presentable and making it out the door before 8am.  evenings aren't much easier with the four of us arriving home at 5pm and my hungry, tired children demanding food instantly.  there is then the frenzy of dishes, tidying, baths, stories and bedtime followed by marking, ironing and completely crashing.  this new routine where mommy is back at work is taking some getting used to.

here is a little snapshot of my home life this evening: while my oldest son was completely entertained at his after-school sports club, i caught up on all my marking and planning.  when i met him after club i enjoyed the best hug ever and heard how much he missed me during the day.  we headed off to the ice cream store, chatted about our day over mango sorbet and then walked across the street and continued our conversation on a patio at one of his favourite restaurants.  backwards dinners (dessert first) are the best.  when we arrived home we read his homework books together, laughed about how easy they were for him and calmly headed upstairs for bath time.  we made jokes and laughed all the way through the scrubbing of knees and washing of hair.  as a special treat we stayed up "late" and played monopoly jr. all the way until 8pm.  at the end of the game, my darling boy happily hopped up and brushed his teeth and got ready for bed.  he decided to collect a variety of jungle animals that he could cuddle with all night and fell asleep listening to his music.  it was the calmest, loveliest evening i can remember in a long time.

you may notice that any mention of darling husband and littlest son are curiously missing in this posting.  they are off island at the moment at a specialist appointment.  i love them dearly.  i miss them terribly, but there is something to be said for the divide and conquer approach to parenting every so often.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

...about kindness

thoughtfulness and kindness go a long way for me. i strive to be a thoughtful and kind person. on my best days i offer people a ride somewhere when they need it, bring in random treats to staff meetings just because it might make the meeting a little more enjoyable or offer to help with errands or childcare if i know someone is struggling to keep it together. on my not so great days, i get absorbed with myself and fret about all that i don't have time to do.

lately, i have been pretty absorbed. i am not putting myself down. i am in a transition period at the moment. my littlest boy is beginning school. i am going back to work. i have to figure out a way to do almost all of the jobs i was doing when i stayed at home as well as all the jobs that go along with teaching 11 year olds each day. i have a bit of stress that i am working through. i know this so i'm not going to be too hard on myself for being self-absorbed. i'm giving myself a break. having said that, i got a much needed reminder about "the circle of kindness" yesterday.

i was rushing downtown to hamilton to pick up photos, school shoes for the boys and some classroom items. i pulled into the parking lot and was rummaging around in the car to find some change for the meter when a woman came to my window, smiled at me and passed me her ticket that had more than 30 minutes still left on it. i told her how lovely she was to which she replied, "oh, people have done it for me, so i thought i would pass it along." her gesture was a small one but it coloured my day. in a stressful week, it is the little things that count. i hope i have helped out people when they need it. i hope some of the gestures that i have made have made a small difference. i believe that kindness does come back to you. it did for me just at the right time.