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Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Banjo Playing Sushi Chef????

Yesterday, Sean and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. 14 years. They've gone by so fast. We have done a lot of damage in that time. James, Jordan, Jared, and Jackson.....my goodness, what have we done????

We spent the day doing the usual romantic anniversary type stuff like grocery shopping and a lunch date to a Japanese restaurant we had not been to yet. The food was really good and we discovered the owner of the restaurant might actually be a real live Japanese person.

Call me a bigot. I prefer eating at Japanese restaurants owned by Japanese people. The quality, in my ever so humble opinion, is much better.

So as we were enjoying our lunch we hear the strumming of a loud instrument. At first I thought, "Cool, a shamisen," which is a stringed Japanese instrument, but realized quickly that it sounded more like a banjo.

Indeed it was, and out comes this man singing to some patrons for a birthday. The first song was a well known Japanese song. Then he sings You Are My Sunshine followed by Happy Baasuday (which made me certain he was a real Japanese person).

He later, at Sean's request, came back out and sang to us for our anniversary. It was fun and we will definitely go back there to eat again.

Later that afternoon I made Sean buy some new jeans. His old ones were all torn up and we are socializing tomorrow night. He needs some decent duds.....couldn't take him anywhere with what he had.

Now he owns the exact same pair of jeans that James owns and I've had to write their names on the inside labels to keep from mixing them up. Nice. You know your boys are growing when you have to be sure not to mix them up with your husband's clothes.

Monday, January 26, 2009

11 Boys and a Mom

This weekend I survived the sleepovers of all sleepovers in our household history. James decided that he wanted to have a party and I being the cool mom wannabe said yes. So the inviting began and there were quickly 6 yeses and my four boys and a younger brother of a guest who is also a friend to Jordan who needed a place to be if his brother was coming and before I knew it I had a house of 11 boys and me. Sean was on his way home from Wainright where he has been working with a friend on a house.

Indeed I stressed about this party. I imagined the broken furniture, the spills on my new carpet, the knocked over bookcases, the noise......oh the noise, crying younger brothers, a killer headache, and the mess left in the aftermath, the stench of teenage boys still learning the benefits of deodorant. But I am a cool mom wannabe and I was set to see this through.

I provided food. I provided friendly waves to parents in cars dropping off their offspring. I provided discipline when Jared in all innocence said to a boy, "Ah....no offence, but......you're fat." I asked for mercy when I explained to the boys that Jared has some challenges we are still trying to determine and he doesn't always understand what is appropriate and what is not and could he please come back and spend time with you and he will do his best to be appropriate. I went to bed at midnight and told the boys they could stay up as long as they wanted provided they don't wake me up. I made a stellar breakfast in the morning.

What did I get in return? My furniture is in tact, my carpet is clean, my bookcases are upright, decent noise levels, happy babies, small headache, little mess, and no stench. The friend that fell victim to Jared's observations accepted his apologies and played Foosball with him. The boys stayed up until about 3am and left me in peace. They ate a hearty breakfast and each of them individually thanked me for making it.

Sean returned home during the party and together we managed quite well. Jackson was especially happy to have Dad home so he could get his loose tooth pulled out. I can't do that. It's gross.

Will we do this again? Absolutely. They were great. I think I got to be a cool mom for a moment, but I'm not asking for any child to back that up. I was cool, if only in my own world.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Open Letter to My Car Thief

Dear Thief,

This morning I was made clearly aware that I forgot to lock up my van last night. I usually do. I must have pushed the wrong button. It doesn't really matter at this point.

I went to start up the van to take my boys to school and found the front seats and floor mats in a complete mess. Every storage compartment was opened. About $5 in coin was missing. I was robbed.

I hope it was worth it to you. I concede, I made it easy. An easy $5. I hope you put it to good use.

But it's not the money I miss. It wasn't very much anyway. Nothing else was missing since I don't keep valuables in the van.

What cheeses me off to the nth degree is why couldn't you have cleaned up the mess you left behind? I mean really, we were asleep in the house. We didn't hear you at all. You had all the time in the world. The front light was out. No one would have seen you. Could you not have taken the time to put everything back in its rightful place?

Come on!! There was garbage everywhere. The phone book I keep under the front seat was on the seat. My drink cup was on the floor. The CDs I never listen to were strewn all over the place. Can't you close a glove box? A cup holder?

I hate cleaning messes. You made me work. Shame on you!!

You know, if you had done so I may not have noticed right away that you had robbed me. I could have continued on in my complacency and could have been your victim again. You could have scored bigger things next time. But alas, you are sloppy. So now I will be vigilant. I will be sure the doors are locked.

Heaven forbid I have to clean my car again.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Just Like Spring

It's warm today. It's warm enough to wear sandals. It's so much warmer than it has been that you want to wear shorts. Southern Alberta winter.....interesting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


At about 12 minutes and 32.79 seconds after midnight on New Years Day, Jared started throwing up. What we thought was just too much of the New Years festivities quickly morphed into full blown stomach flu.....the 48 hour kind.

Poor kid. He was miserable. He was crying. He was tired. So were the rest of us. So 14 hours after the first run to the toilet, I let him sleep in our big bed. It was close to the bathroom and a much better alternative to the top bunk where he usually sleeps. He was out like a light for a long time.

A couple of days later Sean and I noticed that our room was not smelling as fresh as it normally does and as the day wore on it seemed to get worse. After some investigating Sean discovered some crusty dry vomit in the carpet. Jared has no recollection of throwing up while in our bed.

I laundered the bed skirt and Sean cleaned the carpets. Problem solved....or so I thought until a few days after that I could smell the smell again. I couldn't figure it out so finally yesterday I got down on my hands and knees and started sniffing and looking around like a dog. I must have looked ridiculous, but I found some missed spots and cleaned them up.

I think the smells are gone now. My days of doggy sniffing are done, I hope. The flu has passed through the house. It's almost warm enough to open the windows to air out the house and perhaps by Thursday or Friday I'll be able to do that.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


With Christmas vacation over, this was Jared's first week back to school. He was nervous about it. I was nervous about it. His teacher was nervous about it. There were a lot of nerves.

The three of us arrived at school on Monday to find that the school district has authorized an itinerant to Jared's case for the next couple of months. Her job is to help put together a behavior plan, teach and assist Jared with implementing positive behaviors, and help him find more success in his interactions with others.

Jared always takes a while to warm up to a new person. He thought Miss P was creepy and told her so. Yes, we need to work on tact and when NOT to express one's thoughts. By today he thought she was getting better and told her so.

Things are not perfect, but Jared's teacher was feeling very positive as the week progressed. She is an awesome woman and I think she is just glad that she has been able to advocate for Jared and was heard by the powers that be.

He's only had one rough day and his teacher considered it a blessing in disguise. It was important for the itinerant to see what a bad day looks like. But overall his week has been amazing. He is getting work done. He got an A+ on a math exercise. He was thrilled. His teacher is setting up his day in such a way that she is getting maximum effort from Jared. He's back outside at recess and having mostly positive experiences.

There are things that still need to be addressed, but everyone is taking small steps to ensure that the majority of outcomes are successes so that Jared will be eager to take on greater challenges.

Jared, Sean and I went to the local mental health unit today and met with a therapist. It was a positive meeting and some good things came out of it. We are going to get the autism screening done. I really don't know what will come of it, but at least we can deal with the elephant in the room that it is and either take it off the table or not. There will be testing for him, a parental interrogation, and a hot shot psychiatrist from Calgary. Sounds like fun. Jared will see the therapist on a regular basis for a while. Hopefully she can help with some of the issues that Sean and I are not equipped to deal with at the moment.

So Jared's teacher is feeling empowered because she is seeing the fruits of all the noise she has made on Jared's behalf.

Jared is feeling empowered because he sees how his positive choices affect his day in a good way and that when he focuses on his work he has the smarts to do well.

I am feeling empowered because I am actively engaged in Jared's treatment. I don't feel so helpless anymore.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My First (and perhaps only) Book Review

With the boys back in school today, I spent some time reading a short story I have wanted to read for a while now.

When the movie The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was released a couple of months ago, I decided on reading the book before seeing the movie. The older boys wanted to see the movie and I thought perhaps this was an occasion where they should also read the book before seeing the movie.

Today I found the chance to go buy the book and I came home and read it through the early afternoon.

It's about two boys who meet and spend their days on different sides of a fence. Through their visits they form a unique friendship. I was touched, and horrified, and heartbroken by this book. I had some kind of feeling about every character written. While hindsight clouds my judgements of the inaction and choices of some, I understood how fear can paralyze you from doing what would be morally right.

So did I give away the story? Read it. Each one of my boys will at some point before they leave my house.

Now perhaps I will watch the movie.

The Sugar Bowl

School is back in session. The holidays are over, but we took the time to let the boys do some sledding on Saturday before life resumed. It's called the Sugar Bowl and it's a great place to sled. The boys love it.