Sunday, May 25

show and tell

this week is all show and no tell

Saturday, May 24

owc update

This week's challenge: to keep track of promises and then keep them... more here.

Friday, May 23

project friday

Big project:
Convert master bedroom into bedroom/studio space.
* find new home for king-sized bed (if you live in Vancouver, we're asking $200 on CL)
* hit a couple garage sales looking for: a big hamper, a work-table and more glass dishes (great score last week - photos will come)
* find places to put all the stuff that lives under our current bed
* fix and assemble futon that will be our "new" bed (minor damage saved us $200 on the exact same bed we wanted from Ikea - score!!)

Little Projects:
Two small embroidery projects (to be done while watching TV).
Swap assembly (after the kids go to bed tonight so all my swaps can go out).
Create an outline daily routine and plan week's activities.
Sort out weekend and align our various commitments.
Weed garden, plant sprouts that haven't died from neglect.

dirty boy

My son has not taken a bath in almost a week.

Now, some of you may be cringing - wondering what kinds of filthy my child is brewing, and some of you may be nodding - secure in the knowledge that kids are alright if they miss a bath or three, but all of you must realise that a week is pushing it. It isn't for lack of trying, the past few nights we have almost, but not quite, made it into a bath. Is it because the boy hates baths? Nope - he loves them and would quite happily have two a day. It is because we have lost the plug!

I have no idea where this thing has ended up - it has lived happily in the bathroom for three years, a cute novelty stopper with a big blue whale attached by a long chain. The only times it has left the washroom in the past was to move to a new tub. So where did it go?

My son pretty convincingly pleads ignorance, my husband and I have done a pretty good job of searching high and low... and???? Nothing. Bubkis. And no bath stopper means no baths.

If it doesn't turn up today, I fear* a trip to the discount store may be required.

*every trip to Welks ends with me having a mini heart-attack at the register, having loaded my basket with ten items I didn't plan on buying. I hear some people use lists - what a novel idea!

Thursday, May 22

thankful thursday

- a very lovely 29th birthday and 4th wedding anniversary
- working out with a good friend
- that my issues are pretty manageable
- Rigby's first tooth
- nice days and a fenced yard
- coffee, always coffee
- new clothes that fit and look great

Wednesday, May 21

hump day

Recently, I told somebody close to me to "grow up." They'd been behaving in a way that I thought was pretty assy and after brewing a bit of resentment, I confronted them lovingly. Things since then have improved, with this person making a concentrated effort to be more responsible and accountable. I appreciate the effort even more than I show, so how come I don't feel any better??

Could it be possible I've been projecting a weensy bit? My sense is that yes, I have been. Turns out my disappointment is actually with myself. Big sigh. This sucks.

There is so much I am slacking on (huge) and instead of doing something about it, I am trying in tiny ways to run away. My version of running away involves whining, retreating and acting very selfishly. In other words, I run back to being a child. That technique was all fine and good when I was younger and could bask in the misery that is a week in bed feeling sorry for myself, but now it just doesn't jive with my role as mother bear. It has been frustrating, but in the end I suspect it is a good thing.

Time for pulling up the old bootstraps (once I find them) and get some of the things causing me the greatest amount of anxiety and guilt taken care of. I started by dumping my ever-growing to-do box (yes, it had grown to such proportions that it took up 1/2 a banker's box) and making some piles and lists. I filed some things, chucked some things (like fliers for rallies that I missed back in March and April) and even made a call to find out that the reason we don't get any of those sweet government benefits for Rigby is because to them, she doesn't exist. Oops. The instructions for getting her information to them are complex, but not overly so. With luck, next month we'll get a fat cheque (which we will very responsibly use to finally pay off a credit card).

That last bit is what really gets me, in the past few months, we have received and then spent, enough money to pay off most of our credit card debt. How's that for irresponsible?

(see? food!)

something to talk about

A bunch of the blogs I frequent have daily topics - like "Menu Plan Monday" @ I think that this is brilliant, anything to give me something interesting to talk about.

So in that vein, I present:

Meal Plan Monday - self-explanitory
Green Tuesday - frugal greening
Hump Day - a mixed bag including, money, fitness, organizing, parenting and my little rants
Thankful Thursday - things I am grateful for
Project Friday - a weekly outline of planned household projects
OWC Saturday - update on our One Week Challenge project
Show and Tell Sunday - pictures!!!

That would make today Hump Day and my hd post is in the works (that is, I know I wrote something down somewhere, but can't remember what or where).

pictures of the family

Celebrating the Annibirtary* long-weekend:

Rigby, excited over a paper plate**. You will note she now sits w/out help, she also has a teeny tooth AND is more adorable than a basket of puppies in her wee smocked dress (a gift from afar).

Sebastian, whose bright smile masks a most mischievous mind. He had a ball stealing the spotlight from the guests of honour. He was really sweet and polite on this long and warm afternoon.

Me, my awesome new hair and glasses (and top). My tits are *huge*, when did that happen? Once I'm finished breastfeeding, there will be a kick-ass tattoo on my left arm.

I feel pretty lucky to be married to this guy. He's funny, sweet, loving, competent and incredibly good-looking.
Happy Anniversary, Baby!!


** yes, we did use paper plates. From IKEA, even. They were left-over from Sebastian's party and didn't leave me with much guilt, the rest of the party was pretty "green" and I did not buy any *new* disposable goods.

Thursday, May 15

busy buzzy bee

So, I've got a few days and nights here where I can take the time I want and need to get some things done. Last night I stayed up late working on my new budget spreadsheet and tonight's project - a return to meal planning!

Today was a bit busy - an early morning haircut, a trip to the glasses store to pick up Andrew's hot new frames and get Boo's often-abused specs adjusted. We grabbed lunch there (don't worry - we went to lunchbox - local, organic, yummy, budget stretching, but not breaking) and when we got home I bailed on plans to go outside and went to bed instead. It was nice.

I woke up to a snuggly Boo (who had snuck out of his own bed) and decided I did want to go out - called up a friend and went to see Baby Mama. It was about as meh as I expected it to be, but it was good for a couple laughs and required me to do nothing but sit and watch. It was nice, too.

Tomorrow we'll finally do some laundry and that makes me happy. I'm planning a small grocery trip that should stock us up for the next two weeks and a visit to my favourite discount store (it is like an old five and dime - I heart it!!). Andrew is out tomorrow night, so I am going to snuggle in for some Buffy!!! I can't believe I am only in Season 4/7.

Wednesday, May 14

new normal

So, with things going as nicely as they are, I have decided that it is time to get our lives back together (again). To that end, I have decided to come up with a new budget system, a debt-reduction plan and a savings plan. I have also decided to step back to a time when our meals and activities were pretty thoroughly planned.

I both crave and resist organisation and routine, but can see now that without some kind of solid structure, managing our four lives will be nothing but an exercise in disappointment and frustration. I also know that I could be much more productive than I am now, not only because I see other parents of young kids doing more than I dare dream, but also because I am bored, listless and spend a heck of a lot of time sitting on my butt.

To that end, I have been researching different free tools. Specifically I am looking for a task system (chore chart), a meal planning system, a debt reduction system, and a budgeting system. So far I have found this debt elimination tool (link to .pdf mid-page) at Organize Your Life and am building a budget spreadsheet similar to hers (but that appeals to my aesthetic and numbers nerdiness). And this DIY "command centre" from momready looks like something I could whip up this weekend to hang from the front door (which has become our fridge/bulletin board because it is conveniently located and unlike our fridge is magnetic).

The other side of all of this is de-cluttering. I don't think we've lived anywhere for as long as we've lived here, which means we're 1) actually completely unpacked; 2) a little restless and 3) very, very comfortable. A little too comfortable, perhaps. I proposed last week that we have a garage sale and Andrew looked at me like I had bat-shit on my head - but my point is, we have a lot of stuff that hasn't done much more than collect dust this past year. Maybe we sell it, maybe we donate it (note to self - YWCA thrift store WOMAN - f*ck VV Boutique and their questionable charity work), but whatever we do I want it gone. I've attempted (with some success) to streamline our storage, but the fact that things get piled up because there just isn't a place for them to go is adding a level of frustration that I am beginning to think is totally unnecessary. A bit more poking brought me to this article on getting organised by that chap from Clean Sweep (oh, I do miss TLC) - I think I may try out this "two bag" technique for a week and see how it goes. I'd like to think that I will not fill more than one bag *total* with trash, so perhaps instead I will do two bags of get-rid-of stuff and leave it at that - next week I will put it on craigslist, have a garage sale or donate it all.

• Start slow. It's taken months for your house to become cluttered so it's not realistic to try and organize everything in one day or even a weekend. Instead, start small - one room or section of a room at a time. Make a commitment every day to de-clutter another part of your home until it's done. A simple trick to get you started is to use the Two Garbage a Day technique. Every day walk around your home and in 10 minutes fill one bag with trash and one bag with items that you want out of your house - send them to Goodwill or set aside for a yard sale. Everyday for a month and the change will be huge!


So, things are looking up. I talked to my doctor yesterday and managed to convince her to let me try to fight my way through my impending relapse. She said to me, "Okay so, you want to do it the hard way?"

Yes, I do. I need to know I have it in me to function when shit gets a little intense. I bought myself six weeks with the promise to really work at the CBT stuff and that I would call her or my therapist if I felt like I just couldn't cope. It is absolutely reasonable and I am happy that I have professionals around me who will allow me to do what I need to do in order to get through this and get the big growth payoff I am hoping for.

From the start I've been reframing how I look at my PPD, having been "pretty fucked up" most of my life it is a bit of a blessing to get the resources and the opportunity to turn it around.

That said, I've really been feeling pretty fucked up lately. Not the incapacitating, suicidal bad thoughts, just the garden variety "man I suck," kind.

Eep, Rigby is getting loud enough to get us some mighty unfriendly stares here at the library. I need to get out of here before she figures out how to get the lid off the Sharpie I just handed her.

I'm feeling on the cusp of something again, and I am excited. Michelle, if you're reading this - your swap is coming, I promise!!!!

Tuesday, May 13

an open letter to myself

Hey me,

Look, things suck right now and it is up to me to do something about it. I am sick of this, this thing I can't quite name - apathy, laziness, boredom, overwhelm, malaise, anxiety... whatever "it" is, I am sick of it. Being irrational and flaky 90% of the time flat out sucks, I don't have heaps of friends (remember the great friend purge of 2007?) and I like the ones I have and would love to keep them around awhile. At least long enough to get to know them a bit better - maybe long enough to swap babysitting? A three-martini playdate?

This whole smoking thing sucks too. Anything I can do about that? Quit perhaps?? Oh, and stop letting my mind wander so much - too many useful details are being lost through attrition.

So what do I need from myself? Well, a little self-control would be a good start, occasionally resist the urge to act on my impulses and I'd be grateful. Also - if I could simply get my gear together enough to negotiate my days with ease, nothing overly ambitious - a bag packed, lunch planned and an activity in mind - that would be a step in the right direction.

I've been doing a lot of good work lately, the differences are quite evident and I say with confidence that the flakiness of spring will pass. There is much happening and I've kept my wits about me for as long as I think I possibly could have. Good job, Kate!

So give me a break, everything is still in there, make it through this one short week and, with luck, by my birthday (Sunday), I'll feel completely differently about things.

- me

Sunday, May 11

who has time for hope?

Trapped in the mundane, I ask myself how I can possibly hope for things to change dramatically enough. Today I attempted to explain to my three-year-old why polycarbonate bottles are bad. It did not go as well as I may have hoped, but I think that's okay.

It made me think, though, about being a parent. The awesome responsibility of it all - our necessary dedication to the well-being of these strange little people. And all the work that entails. I've been researching alternatives to public school (much to my mother's dismay - I do see her point, but wonder if a system so broken is worth getting behind). I know I have sometime, I also know that time behaves differently once you have kids. Over coffee the other evening, my friend Diane said of life with a family: "The days are long, but the years are short."

She's right. In the blink of an eye I went from young, carefree member of a young, carefree couple to one of a family of four, with a responsibility to three other humans. Striking some kind of balance when tending to the needs of four people is tough, I am making a go of it, though.

In four years I have learned so much about myself. I have truly amazed myself with my range of capabilities and I've discovered some surprising aptitudes. I am also beginning to see that the balance I seek may be an illusion. Not that balance is an illusion, but balance without sacrifice and compromise is. There are only so many hours in one day, only so many things any one of us can do.

But that's not all it is, is it? We repeat that mantra all the time, the one about there not being enough, but then we sit in front of our screens and zone out. We spend hours dreaming and dreading, we spend scarce minutes actually working. Well, some of us do. Others of us work and work and work in order to avoid thinking and dreaming (and dreading). And then even more of us swing between both patterns. Some people, rare people, just do. Yeah, weird, eh?

Actually, I want to be a doer. I do. I think I do. But it is so easy to write off the things I want to do and try as being too difficult, "especially given [my] current situation." i.e. Having two kids under the age of four. And I don't discount the idea that my days are very full of the mundane, leaving little time for other pursuits, especially if there's much planning needed. And sometimes I even appreciate having a pretty valid reason for being a flake, but then at times it becomes an excuse for me to get my lazy on.

Once it's an excuse the guilt starts pouring in. I pride myself on being a person who doesn't usually succumb to unnecessary guilt, but sometimes it is a good indicator. It tells me that maybe I'm not trying. At least, I think that's what it is trying to tell me. Recently it has taken to yelling at me and I have lost a bit of it's message.

I have lists (of course I do) and I am in that place where just consolidating my lists and getting a feel for where I am seems too daunting. I've made some headway, nibbled at a few edges, given myself enough peace to get a little sleep, but if I am to be completely honest with myself, I've been wandering around, doing a half-assed job of looking busy.

Part of me just wants to sleep, but I have been sleeping and I have not been feeling much better for it. I'm getting exercise, eating pretty well, taking my meds... and still... not feeling much better. I think I need an overhaul, but this time not of my stuff but of my back burner. Get it all out, sorted and re-filed. And scratching a few choice items off my list.

Today I did get some of the cleaning bits off my list. My friend Deanna came over and lent a hand - for which she was well-fed - it was a really lovely day filled with laughter and productivity. Most weekends I send Andrew and Sebastian off so I can clean up, after which I feel resentment because they had fun and I worked my ass off. Today I feel none of it - plus I have a clean car, food in the freezer, clean dishes, clean laundry, and delicious fruit crumble.

Tomorrow, I think I will send the boys off - let them have some fun (after washing diapers at the laundromat) while I do my little de-clutter. Not that I know where to start... I just know that there are bits of me that aren't being realised. There are things I know I could be doing more efficiently, and I KNOW we need to sort out some kind of routine. So perhaps we start there and see what happens.

Oh and hope - well, I just hope that the world holds itself together long enough for us to get a few details figured out. We've been talking more about places we might like to live that aren't the city. I like that talk, talk of a future that is bigger than we are now.

Tuesday, May 6

the good and the bad

My life's been running me through the ringer again. These weeks suck, especially in retrospect. Every mistake magnified, pushing aside all the great bits. At times like these I like to make two lists, a list of those things I am most grateful for and one of those things I wish to leave behind.

the good
my tummy is full of yummy, nutritous food
my home is warm and dry
my family is safe
I've been embroidering
I have access to great resources
my kids are patient and cute
rubber boots
finally saw the business of being born (for free! online!!)
my begonia is still alive
my veggies are sprouting
in fact, my yarn is kickin' ass
I like the new Chatelaine
the very awesome and daring Natasha Kogan
the folks that are fighting for insite
cooking at home isn't so tough
I have an appointment with my therapist today (but it is our next to last)
my camera is repaired, and at no cost to us!

the not-so-good
I have too many projects on the go
I feel like my period is never coming and I will just be PMS'd to death
I blew my first one week challenge pretty dramatically
we're broke, like the kind of broke that leaves me wondering if we get coffee or TP this week
my son is in full three-year-old destructo-child mode

Friday, May 2

on immunizations

With Rigby's first visit to the doctor came that now-important question of immunization. The waiting room was littered with pro-vaccine propaganda, but the doctor herself was helpful and open to the idea of a delayed schedule. It was during that discussion I realised I did not know nearly as much as I should about the issues. There are a lot of issues to consider.

Coincidentally, earlier this week I picked up a copy of Brain, Child and it features an article by a scientist mother The Needle and the Damage Done, that explores some of the issues. After reading it I'm inspired to read the Sears book on vaccinations (The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child) and am filled with relief that this question isn't an easy one for so many of us.

When vaccinating my first, I was pretty trusting of the establishment. He followed the schedule until we left Calgary* at which time so many questions had begun popping up in my head. My trust of most control systems was fading and the idea that my interests were often not the ones being served was blossoming. Now open, my eyes will not shut. As hard as I might wish.

So I am left with more questions and no answers, but at least I feel like I am gaining some ideas.

*Sebastian has had all but one shot - his last experience with that vaccine was unpleasant and frightening (though far from perilous), we are eventually going to get him up to date, but at this point we feel comfortable with his assumed immunities.

some days make me feel like drinking more than others

It has been quite the day here - in the past six hours, Sebastian has:

- pilfered chocolate
- unwrapped four sticks of butter
- eaten about a tablespoon of said butter
- had two complete meltdowns*
- painted his left eye with bright red nail polish

The last event prompted our very first call to poison control (very helpful) and no long-term damage is expected. It also required the cleaning of the bathroom and his glasses using my very tiny bottle of nail polish remover**.

The highlight of all this was a heartfelt apology from Sebastian for the mess, a better understanding of the reasons mom and dad say certain things are not for play, and my own amazing calm throughout the entire ordeal. I can tell you right now that I was *freaking out* inside - images of Marylin Manson's eye kept flying through my imagination - BUT, I was quite miraculously able to stay business like and compassionate from the moment he brought the incident to my attention^ to the moment that we removed the last of the polish from his hands^^.

My bathroom still looks a little like a TV crime scene - I need to pick up some more polish remover this weekend and hit the sink and floor again - but none of us seem much worse for wear.

I'm going to miss that slutty-red nail polish.

*these were no doubt related to the early morning consumption of chocolate.
**on the plus side, acetone free=no damage to his very recently replaced, and not yet paid for, plastic lenses.
^where was his mother?? I was resting with Rigby while I thought he was in his room enjoying some quiet time.
^^he still has some in his eyelashes and around his eye, but he doesn't seem to notice it. I did the best I could given Sebastian is one of the many kids who is very hesitant to let anyone do anything to their eyes.

Thursday, May 1


There's a whole lot going on here at casa del forsyth, including the formulation of a business plan based on an idea thought up yesterday on the loo, the ever-required planning and organizing that go along with running of a home, swap projects to start, finish and mail, a zine to put together, an embroidery project that I am doing along with another craft dabbler, a bagel recipe to try, and today, Rigby's first doctor's visit.

The sun is shining and I have been taking it pretty easy (all things considered) - my garden is sprouting and there are already tiny green berry nubs on my two strawberry plants. Our landlords installed a fence out back and this weekend they'll put in the gate - it only took one short escape by Sebastian for them to get on it.

My one week challenge is not going as well as I had hoped - but we have been very conscious of what we're eating and why. My slip ups have been of the pretty mundane variety - a salad bought at Capers* after a skipped lunch, too many coffees, and one very delicious wheat-free granola bar from a neighbourhood cafe.

Now I am off once again, Andrew needs to stay at work tonight - so I am dropping Sebastian off with him for a bit while I go meet our new doctor.

*our dear, local, frou-frou-chi-chi market has recently merged with Whole Foods - BOOOO