Tuesday, December 4, 2012

'Tis the season

With December upon us, all talk seems to be about the holidays.  I enjoy Christmas, and get into the spirit of it, but I've found that I'm often left in January with a bit of a feeling of bewilderment.  All the buildup and suddenly the season just disappears.

I enjoy seeing decorations, hearing the holiday music and the cold, crisp, sunny winter mornings that to me define the season.  I don't get all worked up over when decorations should be put up, if November (or October for that matter) is too soon to be hanging lights or to see Christmas pop up in the stores.  I am tired of shopping though.  I've never enjoyed shopping, and quite frankly get stressed about it more than anything else over the holiday season.  We've scaled back quite a bit over the last 2 years - with us only buying stocking stuffers and items for the kids on my side of the family, and drawing names on my husband's side.

While I love watching Jax open his gifts and enjoy them, I don't really see the point of it all.  When I was a kid, I remember that Christmas was about the presents.  Not that my family had a focus on them or anything, but the gifts just seemed to eclipse everything else.  My sister and I were allowed to open the stockings first thing in the morning, then we had to wait impatiently for a family brunch to be served before we could go back the the tree and we would all open presents one by one.

We recently attended a kids Christmas party for my sister in law's work.  It was at a great location and Santa came and got the kids up dancing and singing carols.  Jackson had a blast.  He was initially slow to warm up to the idea, but soon was dancing with all the other kids there.  Later, Santa gave out gifts to all the kids.  Jackson wanted to go up to Santa, but needed me next to him as he was nervous.  He had told me that he wanted to tell Santa that he wanted "balloons, face paint and puzzles" for Christmas, but was too nervous to say it himself so had me pass the message along.  It was cute.  Later he got to open the gift, a very fun marble tower game, and was thrilled.  we stayed and played for another hour or so at the location before heading home.  We let him set up the game and play for a little while before nap time, and he loved it.

I dropped him off at daycare the next day and he told his provider that he got a new toy and explained it to her.  He was very excited, but I can't help but to be a little disappointed that he said nothing about the singing, dancing and playing with the other kids at the party.  How do you instill the Christmas spirit in a three year old without their focus shifting to the gifts they've received?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Waiting Game

So I've suspected for a little while that I have become preggers again.  I have had some significant breast tenderness for almost two weeks now, and finally last Friday I caved and took a home pregnancy test.  Hooray, a positive result!  Any not a wishy washy, wait the three minutes and wonder if that second line is actually there or if it's your imagination, but boom, as soon as the control line appeared, so too did the positive result!

So yes, it was a weekend of being grateful.  That said, it was also a weekend full of fear.  Friday morning I got the positive result and Friday afternoon I noticed some spotting, which resulted in me crawling into bed all afternoon wondering if IT was going to happen again.  When my little man woke up from his nap all I could do was invite him to crawl into bed with me and play with my iPad while I worried and wondered.

Thankfully it was a minor amount of spotting, and only lasted that afternoon.  Nothing else since, so my concerns have eased somewhat, but that's not to say that I think I will be able to relax until at least this first trimester is done with.  I have actually started to feel the hunger urges more, and even a little bit of nausea combined with the breast tenderness, and I am currently welcoming every little symptom as proof that I am indeed pregnant.  If the symptoms get worse though, who knows how long I can keep that positive attitude!

We haven't told any family or friends (and precious few even know of blog, so I'm not too worried about posting, this is more of just my online diary that anyone who happens to stumble across can fulfill some of their peeping tom desires by reading about my personal life!), and I'm inclined to wait until I get a normal ultrasound done.  Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later as with holiday season approaching, it will be next to impossible to bluff my way out of drinking alcohol at all without raising suspicions.  Doctor's appointment is scheduled for Wednesday, and hopefully I'll get an ultrasound booked shortly thereafter.

Fingers crossed at five weeks - 35 to go!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Not a blogger

I am a terrible blogger.  Wow.  I think of things I would like to randomly rant about all the time, but am simply too lazy to actually post about them.  Then I forget what was so important that I wanted to write about.  Boo.

So instead I will write a random compilation of what I've been up to the last little while.  Jax and I went to visit family in Ontario for 10 days, which was awesome.  So great to see everyone and catch up.  There were a ton of kids running around and the house was overflowing it was so full of people.  Wonderful, but I came back thinking that I needed three more days off just to recover.  Jackson is still talking about riding horses and tractors though.  He also wouldn't take off his socks in 30 degree (Celsius) weather.  Not even for swimming in the pond.

Our little family of three also wend on a two night excursion to the mountains.  Absolutely phenomenal!  We went to Banff and stayed at the Douglas Fir Resort, which is a great spot for young families.  Two pools areas, one with two good sized water slides (and a hot tub for the grown ups) and a huge indoor playground.  We made several trips to each during our stay.  We even managed to get the socks off the kid for water sliding.  Jax also got to ride on his very first Gondola to the top of Tunnel mountain and got a huge kick out of it.  We hiked up to the old weather station from there and did a second hike through Grotto Canyon.  At three, Jackson made Mom and Dad very proud with his stamina and attitude throughout the whole trip.  He even let us have a relatively peaceful fondue dinner at a great place called the Grizzly House.  He ate bread and didn't participate much, but didn't complain either, so I consider it a win.  He perked right up for the last course though - chocolate fondue!  It was the best family weekend I can remember having, and I have to remind myself to do things like that more often.  Two wonderful days can recharge the batteries as much as an expensive week long holiday further afield.

Lastly, I feel I must acknowledge that I remain, sadly, not pregnant.  My due date for the baby I miscarried is just two days away, and I can't help but feel I'm missing something.  My thoughts drift to the fact that I should no longer be working, I should be on maternity leave.  I should be packing and repacking a hospital bag.  I should be preparing our nursery (and we do have one fully set up if not stocked with clothes - it's a constant reminder).  I could even be holding a little one in my arms.  Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend and I have a lot to be thankful for and I try to remind myself of this every day, but as I'm serving up turkey this year (to 20+ people converging on our house - not quite sure how that happened) I'm sure that there will be some strong feelings of regret as well.  Most people there don't even know I was pregnant, but I have no illusions to the fact that they will all be monitoring my alcohol intake and making their own judgments.  Maybe next month, though having gone through a D&C, I'm now wondering if maybe I'm in that small minority where the procedure causes fertility issues.  It never took me more than a couple months to get pregnant before.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The last week is always the longest...

Is it really only Tuesday morning?!  Yikes.  That last week before you go on holidays really drags out.

My little man and I are heading across the country this weekend to visit a slew of family members.  I'm looking forward to the holiday, but boy does it seem to be taking a long time to come!  We get to stay on my grandparents old farm, a beautiful piece of property which my Aunt and Uncle have since purchased and have been sprucing up.  It is also home to a couple tractors, four horses, a large pond and as much space as an almost 3 year old could want.  It will be great for Jax, especially since his cousins will also be there to play with.

I'm going to have a great time too, it can't be helped when that many people are getting together (my parents are also making the trip and pretty well all my aunts, uncles and cousins live in the area too), but I can't help but feel a bit sad.  This is going to be the last summer my grandparents will be living on the farm.  They've been there since there were newlyweds, but at 89 and 90 years old, it is time for them to be in a place where there is a little extra help around if they need it.  Sounds like they are moving to an assisted living centre this fall.  I'm also wondering how many more visits, if any, I'll get with them, and that's a sobering thought.

I have not been very good at making the trip out there to visit all the family members, and I know that.  Life just often seems to get in the way.  The last time I was out was for my grandparent's 65th anniversary celebration, which was four years ago now.  They'll have been married 70 years come January, and are still obviously completely in love with each other.  That is such an accomplishment, and their relationship is one that everyone who knows them should use as a model.

In any event, Jax has never been out there, and many family members have not even met him (mostly my mother's side, as we've done some holidays with my dad's side since Jax was born).  That does cause me some guilt, and I have been subject to a few comments intended I think, to guilt me into coming out more often.  I think those comments are all meant in the best way, but it does make me feel bad and a bit resentful towards those that would use those tactics.  I will try to put all that behind me and renew some of those bonds on this trip.  I am hoping that it will not be a true goodbye to my amazing grandparents.  At that age though, who can tell?  Meanwhile I will try to slug through the next few days and find the time to pack for both myself and Jax.  Not quite sure when that will happen.  I'm sure there will be a few stories of the trip when i get back!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dealing with sadness

If you've read any of my previous posts, you may be aware that I have a toddler at home.  He'll be turning 3 in September.  For close to a year now my husband and I have been trying to make a big brother out of him.  Alas, it has not turned out as I had planned.

Again this month I find myself shopping for the conciliatory bottle of wine that I treat myself to when I know that I am not preggers.  I had a bit of a breakdown last night thinking about it.

I must admit that I've lived a fairly charmed life.  Pieces fall into place for me (and even more so for my husband, which I get the benefit of), so I've had very little experience dealing with loss and sadness.  Neither has my husband, and quite frankly he doesn't know how to handle me when I have these breakdowns.

Now, some of you may think that almost a year is not so much time - most people agree that you should wait at least a year before being concerned about fertility.  I would suspect that that is doubly so for me.  I did not have trouble getting pregnant with my little guy.  I do believe that I will get pregnant again without too much fuss and I'm quite sure I don't have to worry about my fertility.  I think my sadness is reflected by the fact that I had a miscarriage in March.  That was the most emotional thing that I have ever been through, and I do intend posting on that experience more fully in the future.  I think I'm waiting until I have happy news to report before writing that heart wrenching post though.

As the anticipated due date for the baby I lost looms closer though, each month I find out that I'm not pregnant again gets harder.  I'm sure that if I don't have a wee one to look forward to when I hit that milestone, I will be an absolute mess.

For today though, I move on as though life is the same.  I swallow hard a few times to prevent the emotion from being seen by my colleagues and smile as I toast my husband with a newly opened bottle of wine, or share a beer with teammates after a game.  All the while I wish that I had a reason not to drink.  That I could politely decline because I have a happy little secret of my own.

Maybe next month.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Too old for this

I'm just not 18 anymore, I guess that's the crux of the matter. 

When I was in my teens I used to deliver the local paper every morning.  It meant that I had to be completed my route by 6:30am on weekdays and 8:00am on weekends.  It would take about an hour and a half to complete, so I regularly had very early mornings.  I could do that easily and never had much of a problem getting out of bed.  There were a couple years where I just helped my sister out on her route when I was even younger, and I would get so pissed off at having to drag her butt out of bed in the mornings that I would get up, get ready, wait for 15 minutes, and if she didn't get up on her own, I would go back to bed myself.  Because I was just helping her on her route, she'd be the one who would get into trouble if she was late.  When she quit her route, I waited only long until I was old enough to drive and got one of my own.

In any event, I could get up that early, go all day and not be tired.  I was reasonably responsible in getting to bed at a decent hour on weekdays, but weekends were another matter.  I remember going to the Drive-In (I wish they still had those, the one I remember was a relic of a lost age and sadly burnt down several years ago) where they would show a double feature.  We would have a big group of friends all show up in several cars and would only rarely pay attention to the movies.  It was a blast.  As this was invariably in the summer, when the sun doesn't go down until at least 10:00, it meant for some very late nights.  On my way home, often 2 or 3 in the morning from these forays I would actually check and see if the morning papers were dropped off yet and if they had been, I would run the route, finish around 4:00 and go home to bed.  Sure, there were days when, like any teenager, I would sleep until noon afterward, but I think that was more the exception than the rule.  I always had the energy to keep going, to change my schedule completely on the weekends and go back to normal living on weekdays without a second thought.

These days I'm a homebody.  If I don't have a compelling reason to go out, I'm more than happy to stay home and veg out.  My husband and I are often in bed by 10:00pm - even on weekends and we are grumpy if we don't get enough sleep.  So last night, a Tuesday night I might add (where we both have work the next morning), was quite an anomaly for us when we didn't hit the sack until about 1:00am.  Now we had a great excuse for it, of course, but I'm certainly feeling the effects of 4 hours of sleep today.  I expect my husband is even worse as he has to contend with allergies and quite possibly a hang over as well.

The good news is that we saw an amazing show last night and the lost hours of sleep are more than made up for by the fun we had.  We live in Calgary, Alberta, the home to the Calgary Stampede,  the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth".  It truly is quite spectacular.  It is basically a 10 day long party celebrating the old west.   There is a Rodeo (I think it is the "richest" rodeo in the world, offering up the most prize money), Chuckwagon races, all sorts of cowboy & cowgirl events such as cattle cutting and other things that I don't know the names of because despite being Calgarian, I am still a city slicker.  There are all sorts of free music shows (and others that are not free) (Our Lady Peace, Seether, The Trews, Big Sugar, Garth Brooks and Paul Brandt are among some of the big names this year), exhibitors, a Midway and more deep fried food than you can even imagine.  Deep fried Kool-Aid was advertised this year.  How do they even do that?  All over the city during the celebration free pancake breakfasts abound and you would be hard pressed walking five minutes downtown in the mornings without stumbling across one.  If you like pancakes and sausages there is no better place to be in July.  The  Mayor, the Premier of Alberta, and the Prime Minister of Canada all put on there chef's hats and flipped pancakes for the masses at some point during the Stampede.

Downtown pretty much shuts down during the Stampede.  There is an unwritten rule that business casual dress reverts to western wear and even at the courthouse, in front of the judges, lawyers will wear their best cowboy duds and plead their cases.  And the booze.  I swear, half the city is hungover and/or drunk for the entire 10 days of celebrations.

All this rambling gets me back to the point that my dear father in law was able to get us amazing tickets to the Chuckwagon races and Grandstand show last night.  This year is the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede, and they really outdid themselves.  Amazing acrobatics, singing, dancing and some world class fireworks to round out the show, all on an amazingly hot evening where the temperature never fell below 25 degrees C (about 80F) even in the wee hours of the morning.  The afternoon was significantly hotter than that.  I can just imagine all these cowpokes from Texas wondering what the hell happened - isn't Canada supposed to be COLD??

In any event, good fun was had all round, but I better not even try to get used to it - there is not enough coffee in the world to get me through doing that more than once every blue moon!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Finding Time

So admittedly starting a blog when you are in the middle of a move and your boss leaves you in charge for two weeks on short notice is not a great idea.  Luckily we are now in our new home - though there are a ton of boxes to unpack and the boss is back so I can breathe a little at work now.

I can find time to write a few words but I find myself feeling guilty about the lack of time I have spent with my little guy and my husband over the last week.  We moved on Friday and my parents were happy to take Jax Thursday night so that we could organize all the last minute details of the move.  Friday morning Hubby picked him up and brought him home so that he could see the moving truck, but then headed off with him to drop him off at my in-laws for the day while he went to the new place to meet up with service people and delivery folk.  I stayed home to direct the movers.

Friday evening my wonderful in laws brought supper over for us, and brought Jax with them, but the move took longer then we had anticipated so they took Jax back to their place for another sleepover - this time with the other grandparents.  His bed was not yet set up at our new place.  They came back again on Saturday to help out and I did get to spend some time with Jax then, but of course we were busy as bees trying to put furniture together and unpack the essentials in the house.

I love my parents, and Hubby's parents as well.  I don't know what we would do without either set of them.  They are wonderful with Jax and always willing to help us out.  I worry that sometimes we take advantage of their generosity too much.  This leads me to feel guilty about how much time I am willing (or wanting?) to spend away from Jax.  Granted, this past weekend was an aberration and I think Jax was likely much happier with his grandparents than he would have been with me, but on the whole I really enjoy evenings out and the odd weekend away without a toddler around.  I know he's in good hands while I'm gone, and I barely give it a second thought.  It isn't until I get back that I start to wonder if something's wrong with me that I didn't miss him the way I "ought" to have.

My sister does not have the same support network as I do.  She lives in another province from all her family members and thus it is extremely rare for her to spend even a single night away from her two girls.  When she does, it is almost always for work related reasons and her husband is still there with the kids.  I imagine the two of them can count on one hand the number of nights they have both been away from the girls at the same time.  They have a five year old and a two year old.  Despite that, when they do have the opportunity to have a little alone time, they still often don't cash in on it.  They'll go out for dinner, but when my parents are out there visiting and suggest that they go to a hotel for the night, they'll decline more often then not.  I'm not sure what makes us so different in that regard, I'm quite happy to jump on those opportunities, no matter how often they will present themselves, but I wonder if I should be wanting to spend every second I can with Jax.  He really is a delightful child, with the most easy going personality you can find in a two year old and the best sleeping habits one could hope for.  I'm spoiled rotten in more than one regard.

It is mornings like this morning that I start to think long and hard about my ability to be apart from him.  He has seen little of me (compared to normal) in the past week.  Usually I'd spend every evening with him with the exception of maybe two nights a month, as well as all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  This past weekend I spent almost no time with him from Wednesday when I put him to bed to Saturday evening when he finally got to sleep in our new place.  Sunday was also a bit of a gong show with unpacking and various visitors, then Monday was back to daycare.  Now on Wednesday we are both feeling the strain.  The first words out of his mouth this morning were "It's no daycare day today.  It's Mommy-Jackson day."  He was smiling broadly when he said it.  Words to melt your heart, but sadly he was mistaken.  It is daycare day.  I have to go to work.  Tomorrow too.  I'd really like to do something really fun with him on Friday, which is my normal day off with him, but I'm afraid life will get in the way.  We will spend the whole day together, but there are so many stupid little errands that need to be done.  Hopefully he'll be happy with just being with me and spending some time at the park and going for a walk in addition to grocery shopping.  Poor kid.  Despite all the chaos we really need to book some time just for our little family.  I wonder if Hubby would be interested in a camping (or hoteling) weekend in the mountains.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


We are supposed to take possession of our new house today. It is supposed to be fun and exciting. Jax, at not quite three years old really wants to sit in the moving truck and has been "helping" us pack up the house - which is a complete disaster area right now.

We built this home from the ground up.  We carefully picked our lot, made some major modifications to a floor plan we liked and went through the process of going to numerous suppliers to pick out all of our finishes.  It was a lot of work, and we are thrilled with how everything turned out.  This is our "forever" home.  We will raise our family there.  We will likely retire there, and only move when we are no longer able to climb the stairs.  Then why am I upset?  Well, let me start by advising that if you are  ever going to get a mortgage, DO NOT go through Royal Bank.  They have completely screwed us over and we will never go back to them.  This is actually the second time they've done so.  You think we would have learned.

I have been a Royal Bank customer for my entire life.  When I was still delivering newspapers in Junior High, I set up some mutual funds with them, with the help of my dad.  My savings, chequings, RRSPs, credit card, my old student line of credit, even life insurance - everything has been with them.  My husband is the same.  Unfortunately we are stuck with our 4 year mortgage with them now, but once that is up for renewal, you can be sure that we are taking every last dime we have out of their institution ang going elsewhere, never to return.

Weeks ago we provided our mortgage specialist with all the final documentation they would need - our possession letter and the statement of adjustments from the builder.  As a lawyer who handles real estate transactions, I am familiar with the process.  RBC at this point needs to get mortgage instructions to the lawyer.  We are using the builder's lawyer because it seemed easier that using my own office.  I've been following up and putting pressure on the bank for at least two weeks now because the law office did not have the documentation. 

First we had issues with interim financing.  They got that to me too late, so we were forced to borrow some money from my in-laws.  Thank goodness we were able to do that, or we'd probably still be working out that issue as well.

Now, after much pressure, several mistakes, last minute changes, and general miscommunication, we recieved notice yesterday that they would have it by 1:00pm.  Then by 3:30.  Then by the end of the day.  This morning I got an e-mail at 7:57 that "they were hitting send right now" on the fax.  Then they would have it within 10 minutes (of a 9:30 phone call).  Then by 10:30.  Now, it seems that they did send it at 11:15, but that is just the bank confirming - and "confirming" the wrong possession day.  I haven't been able to verify anything with the law office yet.  There is still a small possibility that we will take possession by the end of the day, but by hopes are fading by the minute.

Moving is stressful enough.  This was not something I needed added to my plate.  I took a day off work to deal with possession, and this is unpaid time off.  It was initially only supposed to be a half day but I extended that so that I could sign the paperwork at the lawyer's in the morning and do the walkthrough in the afternoon.  Needless to say, I have not signed the paperwork yet.  It is now noon.

I have never in my life been as angry as I am right now.  I am absolutely furious.  We have services scheduled to come in tomorrow and Thursday.  Movers come on Friday.  So do several deliveries and more services.  We have several friends and family members helping us out on Saturday to finish moving everything that the movers don't take.  If possession is delayed more than a day or two, we are up the creek without a paddle.  Some of those services schedule over a month in advance, so if we have to cancel their appointment, we'd be looking at having no phone, internet or TV for that long.  As my husband, the techie, how he feels about that.  His favorite room in the new house is also a dedicated theatre room.

If we could go to a different bank today, I would, but we are stuck with RBC for the next four years.  After that, adios.  I plan to write a strongly worded letter to them, though I think the only good it will do is provide me with another opportunity to vent.  Will they change their policies?  Will it help another couple?  Will we get so much as an apology or explanation?  Will the right people be disciplined?  Maybe I'm being pessimistic, but I doubt it.  It won't stop me from writing the letter but I do not have high hopes.  I'm sure no one at the bank will lose sleep of the loss of one customer, or even one family of customers, but I look forward to packing up and moving on.  I only wish that I actually had followers so that more people could be warned against them!  We do have a mortgage on our rental property through Scotia Bank, and they seem good...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A beginning...

I have always thought about the possibility of being a writer. I like writing, and while my spelling and grammar could often use work, I like to think that with a little practice I'd do okay at it. My grade 12 English teacher encouraged me to submit a short story I wrote to some magazines in the hopes I would get published. I submitted it to one place, got some feedback, but in the end was rejected. Comes with the territory, I guess, but the fact that my teacher even made the suggestion sparked my curiosity and my interest.

For several years, I have even had the idea in my head that I might like to write a novel. Lofty goal for someone who is not particularly self motivated, but at least I'm realistic in my expectations of it never getting published even if I were to write it. I've written and re-written the first couple chapters a few times, and a nearly full outline of all the chapters, but get stuck on the ending. I don't know what to do with it, and there goes all my motivation. After all, why bother spending the time writing the rest if the ending is never going to happen? Oh well, maybe one day I'll have that "Eureka" moment and everything will come together. In the mean time, I'm going to write for myself. Maybe I'll even start commenting on other blogs and eventually get a few readers of my own, but that's not really my goal right now. Right now I just want to write.

Lately I've felt like I'm at a bit of a crossroads in my life and feel like I need to get a few things out. That's not for today, but needless to say I have found journaling (yeah, I didn't think that was a real word, and spell check is telling me the same, but I'm just going to run with it) to be quite helpful in getting not only my thoughts sorted out, but also in giving me a direction with what I actually want to do.

This will be a bit of a diary on my life, but more than that it will comment on figuring out what is important to me. It will touch on family and on work and on hurdles to overcome. For now though, all I want is a beginning to this blog. I have a good life, where I am a mother to a wonderful little boy, who is closing in on three years old, I am wife to a loving husband, and I am a lawyer at a small firm, practicing mostly in family law. I am happy, but I still feel as though I am missing something and hopefully through my writing I will figure out just what that is.