Sunday, February 28, 2010

the remedy

I'd be telling a bold faced lie if I said that I love parenting. I hate the constant saying and hearing 'no', the food splattered everywhere, my living room looking as if a tornado has ripped through it, the bathroom having fared even worse. I hate wolfing down my dinner as I tap dance around the kitchen trying to get the kids fed, dishes loaded, pots washed. I hate being woken up at the crack of dawn, the tantrums, the piles of endless laundry. I know, I know, I sound like the biggest whiner but it's true... I will say it when others won't. Parenting can really suck.

The past few weeks have been trying, especially since we were all sick and Maiya has been teething to the point her mouth is so sore she won't eat and has been non stop fussy. And Jacob, in his three and a half year old way has found ways new and innovating ways to annoy me to no end. I miss my old life with my husband where we would travel somewhere exotic once a year, go interior camping, stay up till whenever and sleep in all day and have a roll in the hay without having to schedule it in. We could brunch in peace. And have a conversation uninterrupted. I feel like I am giving it my all and it still isn't enough. Thank God I have something to fall back on that always brings me out of a mad funk. CrossFit. :) Due to illness and familial duties, I hadn't worked out in weeks so I was restless and overdue. Turns out my timing couldn't have been better since my uber cool friends opened up their very own gym... CrossFit Quantum to be precise. Their open house was yesterday so I made the trip and headed up to see them with Jacob and participated in their killer workout, which left me happily breathless, and comfortingly surrounded by my friends. To me, a great workout is even better than a big hug. I've been to a few CrossFit gyms but I have to say CrossFit Quantum has the greatest vibe I've seen yet, a classy space, full of sexy, happy, and fit people.

And the best? Jacob was as good as gold the entire time we were there. Check out the smiles in the great new Quantum space!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

last but not least unfortunately

Maiya's been the last in our little family to be hit with the virus that's been going around. I was hoping she would be spared but alas, since stomach bugs tend to be non-discriminating I guess she was overdue. She went all last winter without even a sneeze. This bug hit her pretty hard though. I'll spare you the gross details but suffice it to say due to the fact that she hasn't been able to keep any food in her, the poor little girl lost her chins.... all three of them. I can actually see her neck now. Hopefully in a few days she'll be right as rain and I will be able to get some rest. My coping skills haven't been great these days... I'm cross-eyed from fatigue. oh well.... at least it's brilliantly sunny out today and my husband is off so I've got an extra set of hands around the house. xo

Saturday, February 20, 2010

sick bay

Illness is a strange thing. It can break you down or build you up. Or both. As a child I had the mumps, the measles, chickenpox, whooping cough... With the exposure, I now have natural immunity to these diseases which is a good thing. I try not to panic when my children catch something because their bodies are learning to develop antibodies which makes them stronger in the long run. Jacob came home from daycare last week with what I believe to be the Norwalk Virus... a fancy name for a stomach bug. It's going around town. Then my husband came down with it. And now today, moi. I am keeping my fingers crossed Maiya doesn't get it but infection of this virus isn't as frequent in infants and toddlers. I rarely get sick but motherhood plus my job has me a bit run-down. As much as I hate getting sick, the silver lining is that it forces me to slow down. No attempting a personal best at an Olympic lift at the gym today, no social life (boo! my friends are having a paleo nights party as I type), no whirlwind of have-to's, no pressure to make dinner or win mother of the year award. I park the kids in front of the tv, have a scalding hot bubble bath, and take this opportunity to finish a novel and try a new flavour tea. But the A-type personality in me gives me 24 hours to get over this bug because on Monday I'm on shift and I hate missing work. So it will be an early night for me. After hopefully a good night's sleep I will be right as rain again and maybe try to go for that personal record lift at the gym. ;)

Friday, February 19, 2010

a big hello

I just wanted to take a moment and give a big hello to all who have been following this blog. I have been enjoying this creative outlet immensely... a place without hard and fast rules, grade reports, or obligation. I was looking at the Traffic Map and Feed in my sidebar and I love how there are visitors who pop in from all over the globe. Wish I could visit all those places and maybe even share a cup of tea. :) I remember as a child having pen pals from all over the world. There was nothing more exciting than receiving a hand written letter with a foreign stamp on it. I had the privilege of meeting some of my pen pals years later and it was the most thrilling thing. Now that we're in the internet age, I've lost the art of the written letter.... I can barely even read my own handwriting. But the beauty of cyber communication is that it's instant and as such, I have been able to keep in touch with more people and never have to use the phone... which is great because I hate chatting on the phone anyway. And computers and blogging is a portal of adventure for me... I can see how an emergency service worker in Australia does his job, or how an aid nurse works with all her heart in the Africas... all without having to hop on a plane. It has made my world bigger, and more enriched.

So, feel free to post a comment, say hello, or share your favourite blogs. I love this planet.... it's just one big amazing melting pot of people and ideas. xo

Thursday, February 18, 2010

station placement

I dare say it is the luck of the draw as to which platoon, station, and shift you are placed once you graduate from fire training. I'd like to think that they place you according to your skills, location from home, potential chemistry with the rest of your crew but I am not sure they do. I know they shuffle people around if there's a big problem but generally it's 'get along, we're not here to babysit your personality conflicts'. I also know that they have never put two women on the same crew.

Some guys love being at the high call volume station. I personally don't. The older I get, the less resilient I become at recovering from a sleepless night of running around. The way I look at it is we are all paid the same amount regardless of how many calls we respond to. And often these high volume stations respond to false alarms more than anything. Super slow stations are great if you're headed for retirement but it's not a great place to gain experience. The key I think is to be somewhere in between.

I love my station and shift. We're a 2 truck hall so more toys to play with and more firefighters to share ideas with. We're near the lake, major highways, and we have different types of building structures... low and highrise, commercial, and residential, nursing homes, and schools. As such, we gain experience with medicals, water rescue, extrication, and of course, different modes of attacking a fire. The only thing that makes me a bit nervous about being at this station is that it's coined 'chemical alley'. There are some petrol and paint refineries, factories that make chemicals that I am not able to pronounce but know that they are extremely toxic. A few years ago one of the refineries a few miles away literally blew up. We were sitting in station when the concussion hit and it felt like a Mack truck drove into the side of the station. I have never seen fireballs and flames like I saw that evening. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a wee bit scared at that call but I think being a bit frightened keeps you aware and safe. Thank goodness I have a crew that I completely trust to watch my back at a call. When it all boils down, all that really matters about this job is coming home safe and sound to our families the next morning.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

ambulance chaser

I had to chuckle to myself as I was watching the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy. Some of the surgeons were attempting to go to a nice dinner on the town but really, all they wanted to do was go back to hospital where all the action was. Ambulances kept racing by them and you could see that dinner was the last thing on their minds. Finally their pagers went off and back to the hospital they went, happy as clams, ready to fix the carnage.

I can relate to the fact that more often than not, there is no place I would rather be than at work. Long weekends, New Year's Eve, spring break, Easter... you name it, I'll work it. The exception being Hallowe'en because there is nothing more fun than taking my kids out and going trick or treating, and maybe Christmas. But if I didn't have children, I would for sure work Christmas because as you know, it's a holiday I can't stand. Thankfully, my husband totally understands where I come from. He knows me. He knows that when his wife comes home after a fantastic shift it is a better aphrodisiac than a five star dinner. Some guys want their wives to stay at home 24/7 for them. My guy knows that when I'm happy, he reaps the benefits. ;)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

my deepest loves

There's a moment in time that is nearly imperceptible when all of a sudden your baby disappears and becomes a toddler and your little boy becomes a little man. I have really noticed the growth in the children since I've been back to work. Perhaps the distance of being away on shift makes me more aware of the changes that happen when I'm gone. Maiya is still my little dolly but she's matured into this person who knows how to communicate and get her message across crystal clear. She is quick to point out her likes and dislikes and wants to do everything on her own.... from opening the door, to feeding herself, and when swimming.... she doesn't want anyone to hold on to her except that she can't swim yet so I think I may have to get a lifejacket so she can paddle around on her own. She is so independent that when at the shopping mall, she refuses to hold my hand and will wander around full tilt with nary a backward glance. But what floors me the most is the fact that she is telling me when she needs to go potty and she's not even 15 months old yet. It's cute... she'll tell me 'potty' then run to the bathroom and wait for me to help her.

Jacob's vocabulary continues to increase exponentially. I have started speaking to him in French and he is catching on quickly. He can fly a remote control helicopter on his own and his lateral thinking is advanced to the point I am finding it a bit freaky. He will most likely do better in school than I ever did. The thing I love the most about my son is how gentle he is. Where Maiya is the fearless and independent warrior princess, Jacob is the sensitive old soul. He still tells me he loves me everyday and will hold my hand walking down the street and let me carry him in my arms when he is tired. Jacob will wash his sister's hair when they are in the bath together, feed her when she's hungry and get her a bottle when she asks in a language that sometimes only he can understand. It's adorable when he gets home from daycare and they go running into each other's arms. When we walk through the neighbourhood and he bumps into his daycare friends it's fun for me to step back and watch him have full-on conversations with his mates.

I have said it before and I will say it again that I am so fortunate to have these two little rascals in my life. They are both so different from each other in perfectly balanced ways. I will need to remind myself to read this post whenever the children are driving me crazy... motherhood isn't easy but my-oh-my it's certainly the roller coaster ride of my life. xo

my monkeys blowing raspberry kisses:

skater girl:

world peace smiles:

great resource

For the fire buffs out there and people who are interested in a career in fire, check this out. It has all the information you'd ever need on recruitment, different departments, events.... and best of all it's Canadian and free. At one point I saw that they were hiring in Nunavut! I obviously couldn't apply but what an experience of a lifetime that would be!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Well, I walked into work today only to be told to remove the rings we had installed in the bay. Management was worried about someone getting hurt doing Cirque du Soleil manoevres. Personally, I think if we can handle climbing a 105 ft aerial ladder, we can handle a set of rings. But I don't make the rules. Oh well. At least I can hide the kettlebell, weight vest, and the slosh ball in my locker. Anyone want to buy a set of rings for cheap?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

as the red light turns

sigh..... I had completely forgotten how some days can be totally sucky at the firehall..... when there's more bickering and nattering than hens in a hen house. It's a case of where boredom breeds contempt. Or cabin-fever, or February blahs. I'm not exactly sure. But I am starting to dread shift change when we tag off with the next crew. There are four shifts (A, B, C and D platoon) that rotate through the week and inevitably, when there is a lull in calls the bickering starts. If one shift decides to move the cutlery to another drawer or rearranges the condiments in the fridge it invariably upsets the apple cart. There are shift wars on the time of day the trucks should be washed, how they're washed, and if a chamois or a squeegee should be used. The blame game gets started (instead of trying to find a solution to the problem) if a pry axe goes missing from the trucks or the fuel gauge is below acceptable levels. Sadly, it's usually just one or two guys who like to stir the hornet's nest and are so moody you'd think they were going through man-opause. Someone has been leaving the toilet in the women's washroom a filthy mess and I wish I had the balls to leave crazy glue or itching powder on the seat... so that arse will be stuck there for all of eternity and once he does get unpried he'll have a rash so bad he won't be able to sit down for days. Yesterday's shift-change was crappy with all the drama, but I am thankful that the boys on my shift have my back and will jump to defend me if anyone makes a snarky comment about me.

Sigh... I guess firefighters are not above human-nature and we can't escape the dynamics of being in a big 'family'. I hope it's really busy with calls in the next while so we can just focus on what really matters... having fun at work, and if we're lucky, maybe save a life.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

un-mother of the year

I will never win Mother Of the Year Award. I know my limitations. I don't profess to be one of those shiny polished homeschooling mothers that you see on the cover of magazines where their hair is perfectly coiffed and their lipstick matches their outfits.... and their kids are wearing Gap clothing with nary a stain on them. I make sure my kids' clothes are clean and if they happen to match that day, well, it's a bonus. I let Jacob pick out his own clothing and he dresses himself in the morning. Sometimes his shoes will be on the wrong feet or his underwear will be on backwards but I've never heard him complain about having bunions or a wedgie.

I knew before getting into the mothering business that it was going to be challenging, especially with the physical and mental demands of being a firefighter, but the past few weeks I feel like I've been hit by a Mack truck. I have a toddler and a preschooler and it seems like they are doing everything they can to test my stamina. I'm no wimp but on some days I am near tears with exhaustion. I've thought about hiring a cleaning lady again but the thought of spending all that money when the house will be a mess minutes after she leaves seems a bit wasteful. Plus, as weird as it may sound, I find cleaning therapeutic when I can do it on my own terms without kids underfoot trying to jump in the mop bucket or empty the dishwasher as I'm trying to load it. Maiya thinks scrubbing the toilet out is a riot except she tries to do it with her toothbrush. Her new favourite word is 'noooooo'. Go figure.

They say parenting gets easier. I'm not so sure. I think each stage of childhood has its challenges and rewards.

We've been ordering a lot of take-out lately, and thankfully at least it's healthy food like sushi, and Vietnamese or Thai.... if I didn't have my little family I would probably eat tuna straight out of a can and some baby carrots and wash it down with a glass of wine or three. All our clothes are perma-wrinkled because they sit in the basket for days after they've been washed... I don't bother to fold them anymore. I'm still cloth diapering Maiya since I can't bring myself to use the disposables. Thankfully Maiya is the best potty baby in the world and does her poops in the toilet so washing the diapers is one of the simpler chores.

So today I tapped out and waved my little white flag. I dropped Maiya off at my folks to babysit. And I am sitting on my arse eating a pint of Guinness (yes Guinness!) ice cream and leaving that spilled bowl of Cheerios on the counter. And heck... I might just watch a bit of Oprah and allow myself to do nothing for once in my life. At least until my husband gets back with Jacob from daycare. But we'll be doing take-out.... again. Like I said, I will never be Mother of the Year, but it's so nice to be ok with myself that it's not a title I even want to strive for...