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Sometimes I wonder what people think of me. Do I look like I have it all together? Does it seem like I manage things well? I’m undecided. Most days I feel like I have a pretty good handle on things, but at the same time I always feel like I’m on the edge; as if things could fall apart at any moment. Somehow, it all works out. Things get done eventually.
When people ask me, “How do you do it?” sometimes I just have to laugh. Sure, I made homemade pizza dough today, but I also just filed my 2008 taxes last week and if you open any one of my closets a whole bunch of stuff will come tumbling out. And then there’s the laundry … oh, the laundry.
I’m going to share with you all one of my dirty little secrets. I actually don’t have it together quite as much as some of you may think. It’s kind of like I’m airing my dirty laundry. Literally. Here it is:
This is what my laundry room looks like on a regular basis. Most of what you can see in the picture is clean. I just can’t manage to get it folded and put away, but I’ll let you in on another one of my secrets: my chaotic sophisticated laundry system. The beige hamper on the left is dirty laundry. The baskets all contain clean laundry sorted into separate baskets. There is one each for pants, shirts, socks and underwear, linens and jammies. I fold my and Mr. Family Nature’s clothes right out of the dryer and pile them on top.
It’s not a perfect system, I know, but it works. Mr. FN isn’t all that thrilled with my laundry system. “But we have to go downstairs every time we need clean clothes!” he says. “Umm, what’s your point, honey?” I ask. He shakes his head. I encourage him to come up with a better system. He says, “How about the clothes folded and put away in the drawers system?” One day, dear. One day.
Are you in the GTA? Do you like cupcakes? Do you want to eat cupcakes for a great cause? Then Cupcakes for Haiti is for you!
Susana Molino, aka @FoodPlayground is hosting Cupcakes for Haiti on Saturday January 23rd 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at her home, 125 Eastwood Road. All proceeds will go to Doctors Without Borders, @MSF_canada. Coffee, juice and cupcakes will be available; cupcakes will be priced between $2 and $5.
How you can help:
a) Making a donation of baked goods, cupcakes or something else.
b) If you own or know of a bakery that might be willing to make a donation, please contact Susana.
c) Go to Susana’s house on the 23rd to buy a cupcake.
d) All of the above.
When I asked Susana what her motivation was she said:
“I have not read or watched any news reports about Haiti, I just keep seeing the covers of the dailies. My family and I have a very deep rooted connection to Cuba, Haiti’s neighbour, and it’s just too easy to imagine the ‘what ifs’ of this having happened in Cuba. I decided to do something on Thursday, late morning, so I called one mama friend, told her I wanted to do ‘something’, she said ‘whatever you do, you know you have my support’…. All funds raised will be donated to MSF/Doctors without Borders; our family are huge supporters of their work. My husband has photographed for them, on a volunteer basis, so he can vouch first hand at their legitimacy.”
Let’s help Susana with this incredible effort for a great cause.
For more information, contact Susana at 416.906.6037 or find Susana on Facebook.
This week Dalton McGuinty announced the list of schools that will be offering full day kindergarten this September and it’s been all the talk. By 2015 it is expected that all Ontario schools will offer full day kindergarten at an estimated cost of 1.5 billion dollars per year.
Most families I know are really happy about this program I can understand that. This will save many families a lot of money. I don’t begrudge them of that.
Personally, I’m not that excited about it. I don’t expect that it will affect our family. Thankfully, our school is not one of the 71 Toronto schools (almost 600 in Ontario) that will offer this program this September. So for me that means that only my youngest (who will start school in 2011) might be eligible, and she may well be out of kindergarten before our school becomes one of the ones offering it. I say thankfully because I’m glad that I won’t even have to worry about it for at least two years and perhaps not at all.
If you asked me right now, if my two kindergarten boys would go all day if they could, I’d say “no way.” Why? For many reasons but mostly because I’m a stay at home mum and 3 of my 4 kids have birthdays late in the year. So for me it seems too young for them to be away from me for that long. Also because I don’t really see that my kids will benefit from more hours at school at that age.
I don’t question the benefits of early learning. I think it’s pretty well accepted that it is beneficial. I’m just not convinced that this is the motive behind the program and I kind of feel like we’re all being lied to. Can we please just call it what it is? It’s publicly funded childcare.
The Ontario Ministry of Education’s website calls the program “part of the province’s plan to build a stronger school system and a well-educated workforce.” Really? Adding an extra 2.5 hours or so a day for four and five year olds is going to build a well-educated workforce? Come on. I have a hard time buying that (and I’d love to know on what they base this prediction).
When this topic has come up in conversation, I always hear happy parents talking about how much money they will save. I think it’s great that this will be helpful to families – I really, really do. But answer me this: aside from saving families money, what are the benefits? Are you excited about all day kindergarten? Other than potential savings, why? Do you think this is going to make your children smarter? Happier? More “well-educated”?
Please understand friends, it’s not that I think there is anything wrong with all day kindergarten. I don’t. For kids that are in childcare I don’t think it’s going to make any difference at all. For kids that aren’t, I’m sure it will be fine too. One friend pointed out to me that 2.5 hours a day in kindergarten is arbitrary and was established at a time when most families had a stay at home parent. Well, isn’t 6 hour kindergarten arbitrary too? I just feel like we’re being sold snake oil here.
Can we just say that this part of an answer to a childcare problem that we’ve been facing for ages? You know, the shortage of affordable and accessible childcare for which advocates have been lobbying the government for a solution, for years. It is part of a solution that people have been asking for, for as long as I have had kids (and much longer, I’m sure. I only started paying attention to these kinds of things after I had kids.) Why are we calling it something else?
The picture above is of me and Mr. Family Nature on our wedding day. (I don’t know what’s up with that picture, our faces look plastic or something – it was very cold that day – but it was the only picture of us on our wedding day that I could get my hands on quickly.) Nine years ago yesterday, Mr. FN and I eloped. We called a very few people from our immediate family the day before and said, “Hey, what are you doing tomorrow? We’re getting married!” The rest of our family and friends found out via email the next day.
It was so much fun to plan a secret wedding. We kept it a secret for months before we got married. We picked out wedding bands, bought clothes: I bought a very non-traditional wedding dress that was black and purple and wore it with tall black boots. Mr. FN bought a new suit. I had been married before and we were waiting for my divorce to be finalized. I got the divorce certificate on January 5th, we were married on the 12th and we took possession of our newly built condo on the 19th. Not one single person knew that we were going to get married until the day before.
The day we got married, Mr. FN went to the restaurant we ended up having dinner at that night, just to check it out and make sure we could get a reservation. Even though we’d been planning to elope for months, we didn’t know when I would get my divorce certificate so some things were pretty last minute. We were married at 4:00 (I think!) and then with nine of our closest family members we had a lovely dinner at a charming little restaurant nearby.
I never had an engagement ring, we didn’t have fancy flowers and there wasn’t a hint of white in sight and it was awesome. We didn’t want the day to be about anything but us.
On our first anniversary my sister called us to wish us a happy anniversary and we looked at each other and laughed our heads off – we had both forgotten. We’ve forgotten every year since. It seems to have become a game. This year Mr. FN ‘won’ because he remembered first. Maybe I’ll win next year.
We have had our fair share of rocky moments. Truth be told, it hasn’t always been bliss – what marriage is? But we are totally in love with each other; we have four beautiful kids and a really great life. I’ve heard people say many times that a marriage takes work, and we know firsthand that this is true. So, we trudge on; we continue to work on our marriage, be in love and enjoy our family.
Here’s to many more rocky years, Mr. FN. <3
So here I am, a week later, and still no resolutions. It’s not that I don’t have any; I do. I’ve just been busy with the family and I’ve been trying to sort out not only my goals for this year, but how to make these goals more concrete and achievable.
It seems that my goals and resolutions this year are very similar to my goals of previous years: get more exercise, eat better and come out at the end of this year better off financially than when the year started. This year I’m also adding: be a more consistent blogger.
I’ve been thinking about why I never really seem to stick to my resolutions – or at least not for very long. I think it’s because I never really have a plan, I never have anything more than wistful thoughts and good intentions. I’m going to change that this year.
My first goal is to work out an exercise routine. My challenges are these: 4 kids, a busy schedule, a husband that, in addition to working a pretty regular work week, also often has evening and weekend appointments, absolutely no funds in the budget for exercise (for a gym membership, yoga classes, martial arts classes, Wii fit plus – all of which I would love!) and it’s freezing outside, so outdoor activities aren’t appealing to me right now. What I DO have is: a treadmill, a (very old) exercise bike, weights and various other small home fitness accessories, a supportive husband and exercise DVDs. My goal is 30 minutes of exercise at least 3 times a week.
How do I make this work? My biggest challenge is definitely finding the time. By the time the kids are all sleeping it’s usually 9:00 and I just have nothing left. Getting motivated at this time of day is virtually impossible for me. I’ve been thinking of getting up early to exercise, but the thought of this is just so downright exhausting and I already feel completely sleep deprived. I’m still sorting the timing out but I know this much: I have to schedule exercise into my calendar otherwise it just won’t happen; and this I’m still working on. I’d love to hear what other mums do for exercise and how it is fit into their schedules.
Details on eating better and financial goals are still to come – one thing at a time.
The end of the year and the beginning of a new one always makes me think. Like everyone else at this time of year I’m reflecting. Last night Mr. Family Nature and I sat down after the kids were in bed and talked about the year behind us and the one that lies ahead. That is, until the baby woke up.
The baby woke up about 5 minutes after we sat down and she stayed awake until we went to bed. So we did our best and jotted down some of our accomplishments from last year and some of our goals/resolutions for this year. To say the least, it is very incomplete. It’s a work in progress, I tell myself. We’ll try again tonight, I say.
Last night’s scenario sums up very well what our life is like. We have plans, good intentions, and goals. They all seem to go awry somehow. There are so many distractions, so little time. It makes me wonder how anyone with kids ever follows through on resolutions. Is it just me?
Last night we ended up sitting on the couch with our sleepy little girl. Her cheeks were rosy and warm and her big hazel eyes looking up at us made us want to melt right there. Resolutions can wait, I tell myself. We’re enjoying our little girl, I say.
The resolutions remind me of my life: half finished; to be completed another time; late, like everything else in my life. *Sigh* Sometimes I just feel like I cannot pull it all together.
I will finish those resolutions and when I do I’ll share them here.