by Cheryl Pickens
11:08 am | 3 Comments » |
“Rock my soul and I’m rockin’ my baby ham, rock my soul and I’m rockin’ my baby ham…”
I needed Dija to go to school so I could call my mom to ask her if this is what she is teaching her. She had the right tune to “Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham” but she was rocking a baby ham! She was so very pleased with herself that she was showing off yet another new song. I didn’t correct her lyrics either. Nursery school teachers might enjoy this version first. So where did it come from? My first guess was Nana’s house where Dija spends endless hours listening to obscure albums. Real vinyl albums on a real turntable. How many 4 year olds even know that those are?
She will ask Nana to turn on her princess dance records so she can dance in the living room. She will dance and sing. Just her and her … well, herself. Nobody else understands her quite like she does! Dija can evoke emotions like no other. She can be entertaining, loving, caring, thoughtless, reckless, annoying, infuriating, sweet, kind, crazy… oh it’s endless, all in one day. She is learning how to use these attributes a little more appropriately now…How to turn a cranky mood with a little humour or mimic Papa to make him laugh or when to turn super sweet in an attempt to get her way. Oh yes, she is learning quickly. Oh, don’t be silly, we don’t actually fall for her tactics. We have seen it all before! We do laugh a lot though.
So back to the Rocking of Baby Hams… Does anyone out there know where a child would hear that song? Nana claims it wasn’t at her house. I should go read the labels on those vinyls though because who knows what she’s got her listening to over there. The crazy thing is that Dija need only hear a song once and she’s got it… well, as accurately as she hears it I guess. When she can actually read lyrics she will be unstoppable. I’m pretty certain that there is a drama club in her future. Til then we will assist her with some more accurate lyrics and leave some as they are for our own entertainment.
Lets all sing together now… Ohhhhh Rock my soul…
3 Comments »
February 10, 2012
11:41 am | 2 Comments » |
I like to be organized and sometimes it actually happens. I get overwhelmed when things are out of order. Moving 2 kids into our house and life has created a massive challenge and plenty of confusion. I will not tell a lie. It has been overwhelming at times. So lately I’ve focused on ways to change the chaos into complete serenity one step at a time. OK, I get that serenity is likely a long way off but some day they will move out like the others did!
My approach is simple, deal with what I am able to now and work towards future projects. I’d like to tackle one big project a week just to keep my expectations at a sensible level so I don’t disappoint myself. One project was to create office “space” for Papa to work with. He often works from home and uses the dining room table because there aren’t a lot of options now that the office houses bunk beds. I brought a cabinet into the dining room to store his officey stuff in so he now has easy office clean up without piles of books, printer, laptop all going in different directions. This should make his life a little easier and the house a little neater.
We have also been working at putting the living room back together after the fireplace removal in November and December. That was a huge task that isn’t quite complete. The cabinets are built and in place but I need to finish painting and then doors can be added. This should get the living room to a more organized state.
Being a working mom is tough. I don’t know how a lot of moms do it with young kids. I remember my mom working when I was a teenager and I would help out by starting supper before she came home. However, with little kids they just can’t do that! So everyone lands home at its crazy time because everyone is hungry and food has to be prepared and there is only so much time to manage everything before bedtime for kids. I decided to change my approach to this issue that some days can really wear me out or we eat food that isn’t the best option for us (pre prepared garbage). I needed a plan that was a healthy option and could make life easier… I found Pinterest.
Pinterest, for those of you who have yet to discover it, is a virtual bulletin board where ideas can be saved (pinned) and shared with others. The ideas are endless. For a few days I just looked and looked but then I realized that looking makes nothing happen. So I looked and found inspiration. It started with my bathroom that was waiting for paint. I had the paint and supplies ready but had not made the time to tackle it. When I saw my color on Pinterest and how serene it was I was off and painting! Bathroom paint finished and I am one step closer to my serenity. OK I just showed you what Pinterest does to people… off on a tangent because one idea leads to another.
Let’s get back to my plan. Meal preparation. I prefer to eat real food not processed food so when I found the idea to make ahead and freeze meals to throw in the slow cooker the wheels started to turn. List in hand I picked up all items I would need to make 8 meals. 2 each of 4 recipes. I got a little carried away on a couple of ingredients because when it’s on sale you need to double the supply. I ended up preparing 14 meals for $99 so in the end a family of 4 will be fed for $7 – try doing that at McDonalds! One afternoon of chopping, dividing, bagging and freezing. Now when I work late and there is nobody home to start supper it can be waiting in the Crock Pot. So simple… what took me so long to try this? Everything for a meal is stored in one bag – meat, veggies, seasoning. The bags are labelled with instructions –for example: add 1 cup water cook low for 8 hours, serve on rice. I expect this supply will last us into March and then I’ll have another Prep Day.
I’m still thinking about what the next project will be. I might need more Pinterest time to get inspired again!
2 Comments »
January 19, 2012
6:41 pm | 1 Comment » |
Imagine Nana going into the bedroom to remind Dija that she is supposed to get quiet for nap time because Dija is in bed singing and laughing and carrying on (as she often does). “But Nana I’m just so happy!” She’s telling the truth. The child is joyful and it’s often evident by the noises coming out of her mouth. Just last evening we had to ask her to go to her room so the rest of us could hear our own thoughts. It wasn’t even bad noise… just constant singing louder than any of us could speak. So off she went with her feelings hurt for about 30 seconds. A minute later she was back at it with the musical production under way.
Nana heard Dija singing quite a performance in her living room one day & asked who she was singing to. “I’m just singing for God, he likes my singing.” I’ve caught her talking to him out the window one day having a little chat about her princess-hood with him, having a big ol’ discussion.
Trey will often be seen playing alone in the back yard here or at Nana’s singing the entire time… to himself, alone, on and on it goes. I love to spy him when he’s doing this. He’s less dramatic about it all but it’s clear that he’s in his own little happy place. His facial expressions are enough to melt anyone. With a smile that lights up his entire face.
The kids enjoy Papa or Uncle Justin grabbing a guitar and making up a song. They both do it well and I’m usually in the kitchen trying not to laugh too much so I can catch the entire song. Dija expects them to be able to sing the same song another day. Recently I understood why she thought they should be able to do this. I had my ipod handy one day when Dija was performing and I caught her song that she was making up as she went along. Then weeks later she watched the video and sang along and knew all the words… how did she know them? She was singing from her heart and the words must have still been there.
I’m enjoying how the kids express feelings to me. They are really great at being clear about how they feel. Trey just asked me about his next needle that he will need. “Can you take me back to the Doctor where I was calm and not to the gym where I was all upset and crying?” He prefers being brave at the Dr instead of having an audience at public health clinics. I’m with him on this and will be returning to the family Dr for any flu shots.
They are both fantastic at identifying when they need to sleep. I don’t ever remember my “old” kids asking to go to bed. I wish I knew what I did to teach them this because I would sell the secret!
I’m amazed almost daily at what great little people they are. Simply happy …not difficult to please. Well adjusted and pretty fantastic kids. I am blessed. I will try to remember this in the moments that I just want to run away.
1 Comment »
January 15, 2012
3:40 pm | 5 Comments » |
This week marks the anniversary of a difficult day in our lives. I’m pretty certain that the anniversary will never pass without a tear or two but also with much thanksgiving. Our story could have been so different than it is. In fact, for a family in New Brunswick it did turn out much differently. It makes me so angry that the same horrible incident was repeated when it could have been prevented so easily.
Dija, at 19 months of age, was poisoned with methadone on January 8, 2009. After being resuscitated and spending time in the IWK she moved to our home January 13th. (Happily ever after…) There were no charges laid even though the incident was investigated, but the case was closed due to lack of evidence (read: 2 adults in house had different stories). There is not much I can do to change any of that.
On January 8th, 2010 one year later, a 23 month old girl ingested methadone in NB and was transported to the IWK. On January 13th she died. I read in the news this week that her father pleads guilty to criminal negligence causing death. This is a sad ending for such a little life. This angers me.
There is a simple solution to prevent such things from happening. Do not allow children to live in a home where there is methadone present. Yes other drugs are dangerous as well but they do not look like orange juice! Most addicts have to go to the dispensary to ingest the medication… make this mandatory. There must be a way to prevent this from happening again. What can I do to change this?
Now for the thanksgiving part – I am so thankful for Nana who saved Dija that day and continues to help us parent the kids… Trey and Dija think that all three of us adopted them and we sort of did. I am thankful for the health care that we have here in town. I know people complain about hospital visits or waits. I don’t like waiting either but when I’ve gone there with an actual emergency there was no wait. We have a great emergency department and should be thankful to have it in our town. I am also very thankful for the EMS workers who appeared at Nana’s door when she called them. They did what they do – they saved a life. Wow, I can’t imagine being faced with such situations on a regular basis. They have a tough job. If you see them coming behind you please pull over and let them pass you – do not keep driving and hope they just pass. You could really help them save a life just by getting out of the way because seconds count. I am thankful that there were angels watching over Dija that day because it is clear that the story could have been so very different. I cannot imagine what our lives would be like right now without Princess Dija. I thank God that we have these two little noise machines because they are becoming great people with a bright future that they might have missed otherwise. I know I already changed that.
5 Comments »
January 10, 2012
3:01 pm | 2 Comments » |
We have had a very Merry Christmas and I’m pretty sure the kids have not missed out on a thing by doing the free Christmas challenge. When it began it wasn’t intended for everyone to jump on the bandwagon but it’s been fun for all of us. I want to do it again next year but I know now and won’t be starting to plan in November and that’ll make it easier. Astrid and I have already started planning things to make and I know other family members want in on the adventure.
My sisters even got in on the action and found free things to give our kids (Including homemade mitts that my nephews received from Nana several years ago.) She also passed on her smurf mugs she has had since she was a child. My kids think they have gold… They like the little blue people even though they have never seen them on the screen!
If there were awards being passed out I would give Nana the “Productivity” award and Astrid will get the “creativity” award. I will take the “Who started this crazy thing?” award.
Astrid made critters for all the kids out of little gloves and she dressed them accordingly. All too cute… Even an Elmo that was immediately recognized by Caitlyn. She made me a flower pin that I’ve been wearing on my jeans front pocket and on my sweater today because it goes great with another gift. She made me a cheque book holder that I needed and embellished it with buttons – I love buttons.
I made a bunch of hand warmers for my sisters families who all go to hockey and curling a lot… Out of reclaimed denim. I also made some magic bags out of the denim and made covers for them out of other fabric I found around the house. Dija likes her little princess quilt that i put together for her. Corey helped me put together a wind chime made out of silverware. Now I want my own – it sounds great and looks pretty artsy. My favourite gift will take a little explanation and it’s my all time favourite thing.
For Nana I made a book but she wrote it! I had in my possession letters I had recovered from my grandparents home that she had written to them from 1962 – 1967. I did the research to figure out the dates as best as I could to put them in order. I typed it up and then had my little sister help me put it into a book. Thanks Tanya! When Nana opened it we lost her… She had her nose in that book the rest of the morning. 43 pages of our history… It was as if Nana had started the blogging back then but there was no Internet to share it on. It was so much fun reading all those letters about my baby years.
Oh, picture blocks. Astrid made 3 large blocks for Justin with pictures on them. Pictures of them and their baby boy on each side of each block. Again – art. Justin had fun in his workshop (a lot like his dad used to do) and made this crazy puzzle of a tree with birds in it all attached with strings and the knots made eyes for the birds – very cool.
I wish I could show you everything! I loved not shopping more than I thought I would. Some of Nana’s projects included handmade skirts made from men’s neckties for Astrid, Dija and I – we wore them for Boxing Day dinner. Dija and I have matching aprons so we can cook together. Guys got some mittens that she knit, big boys got pyjama pants, Dija got some fluffy pyjamas, all the girls got special wreaths. Nana decorated these kitchen wreaths with rubber gloves, dish clothes, towels, scrubby things…. She is clearly telling us something! They made us laugh and we hate to take them apart to use.
Now I must confess that we did purchase the one toy that each of the kids asked Santa for. Trey wanted a lightsaber and Dija wanted a princess so those items came from the store and were in their stockings but they each cost less than $20. I then went shopping for stocking stuffers … Mostly consumable things we get each year and the kids expect it to happen. It took me one hour of shopping.
Things I learned from this challenge. I need to have hobbies again. I’ve missed using my sewing machine and paint brushes. I need to slow down and have more fun in my kitchen too… I used to do that a lot but have not been doing much at all lately. My kids are really easy to please and I never want that to change. They would rather hang out with us than play with an expensive toy. Trey loves technology but is happy with a new free app on my iPod. Dija loves to be stylish but it can be a one of a kind outfit and not the latest trend. She will be the trend setter! Justin and Astrid are really good sports and so are their friends. Fun like this is contagious. I’m proud of my family for making Christmas fun and creative on short notice… Oh, and for saving a truckload of money! I joked about buying a huge tv with our savings….but that kind of goes against the idea I had started with.
2 Comments »
December 7, 2011
4:06 pm | 6 Comments » |
I know some people think we are nuts because we are not shopping for Christmas but let me tell you how un-nutty it is! It is so nice to not be running in circles trying to navigate the malls and retail stores right now. We are finding our creativity and thinking up some interesting gifts. Astrid went “shopping” in my house. One item she was looking for (that I didn’t have) made me ask if it was to make a necklace…. It was and I ruined her idea because I had been looking at the same website that she was!
Nana has joined in on the fun as well and I expect all kids will have new pajamas.
I’ve been painting and sewing and scheming. I don’t think anyone will think Santa missed our house.
Friday night we bundled the kids up for the Santa Parade in Liverpool. Then we didn’t watch it but instead we sat on a float together. We’ve never done that before! Yes we are up to new adventures again. Corey suggested we do 12 days of Christmas new stuff with the kids… Now I need to come up with 11 more new ideas. So on the first day of Christmas (and I’m giving us the entire month to fit the 12 days in) we dressed as angels, a shepherd, and a king and said Merry Christmas to Liverpool. It was the Milton Sunday School float and the kids were fantastic waving to all their fans. Our picture is on page 2 of this week’s Queens County Advance (another first).
Another weekend activity was to make a Christmas ornament together… The second day of Christmas.
2 down… 10 to go.
I’ve also figured out that if I can’t find an item I need I can post it on Facebook and friends come to my rescue. People are willing to share. I had a quick meeting with a creative mind today at Lighthouse Publishers to help me figure out how to complete a project I wanted to do. Tina Hennigar has great ideas. I needed her input on how to nail this one. I think of all my projects this one will be my favorite to work on and to see the end result. Time to get back to work…
6 Comments »
November 17, 2011
11:41 am | 1 Comment » |
Dija has finally adjusted to her new do. I will no longer be able to use my stylist as punishment. Dija asks me to use the flat iron to help her get ready for school and will stand and examine her cute hair in the mirror. We have created a monster… but she is so cute! Here are the pictures I snapped on my ipod while at the salon. She wasn’t very happy then but she is smiling now.
1 Comment »
11:29 am | 6 Comments » |
Story time at the Pickens house so I’m free for a moment to sit and listen while I write. I love just listening to them over there with Papa.
Today Trey confirmed for me that we are planning the right thing for Christmas. When Papa arrived home from his “Work” Trey was busy setting up a game to play. He used wooden building blocks and lined them up as the targets and had elastics to shoot at them. It cost him nothing… You see where this is going yet?
A few weeks ago I mentioned the challenge to Justin to discuss with Astrid. I have since told Nana about it and Papa and I have been chatting too. My challenge to Justin was to not spend any money on Christmas shopping. Only purchases allowed would be groceries and baking treats is permitted. Gifts are to be handmade from free supplies we already have or a gift or our time, talents, services… And we can even take materials from each others houses to use. Nana’s house is a great place to find fabric, yarn, sewing machine, a tomato, etc.
I know that Astrid has art supplies. So do I. Justin and Astrid are both very creative. I also know I have some projects I meant to do but there they sit unfinished. Now would be a great time to finish them up and give them to the intended recipient. My kids really do not ask for much. Sometimes they see things that look like fun but the moment passes rather quickly just the same way the novelty of that $50 toy would be worn out by boxing day. I could bake my kids a cake and they would be delighted… They would even share it!
I can’t tell you all the ideas I have right now because that might spoil the surprises in the event that family should read my blog. Perhaps I will have to follow up with this in the new year and tell you some favorites that we come up with.
I have decided that gifts under the tree will all be free but we are allowed to use a bit of money for stocking stuffers because the kids are expecting stockings to be stuffed.
Now if any of you have any cool stuff that needs to be “regifted” or “repurposed” I am open to donations. I happen to know of a school desk waiting to be moved to my house… This might be a great time to put the kids in bunks and get space ready for that.
Why am I planning a Free Christmas? I have, for as long as I can remember, been driven a little crazy by forced consumerism. I really don’t like being told when to spend my money. The amount of money we pour into a day and then complain when the price of gas goes up 2 cents a liter. There is nothing that I must have. The kids want our time, attention and love more than a sparkly new toy. We can wrap up rubber bands and tape for Trey and he is happy. Dija would like me to style her hair and put some makeup on her. I can give them what they really need without even going to the mall. In fact I can sit and listen to Papa reading them a story instead of going to the mall. This season it will be about how we spend our time, where we go together and what we do as a family that they will remember and not the one big toy under the tree that they will forget about when the next fad comes around.
Christmas will be magical… And the credit card company will get nothing from us!
6 Comments »
November 9, 2011
12:23 pm | 3 Comments » |
I’m not sure if it’s genetic or what but boys, in my experience, seem to lose things a lot. Now I must say that Corey has improved in this area as he usually knows where his keys and wallet are lately. Once in a while he will forget where he laid something down but it isn’t the daily search for keys and such. The early years seemed to be plagued with incidences of lost items.
Now there are other generations of boys following him. I have lost track of how many times Trey has come home from school without his jacket. The last time I sent him the next morning in his tshirt… And yes it is too cold for that. I figured it was the only way he would learn to bring his jacket home. Keep in mind that he gets a drive to school and isn’t walking 6 miles uphill in a snow storm the way his ancestors did!
Trey’s little jacket mishaps are minor and I am hoping to teach him early to keep track of his parts.
Then there is Justin the in between generation of the Pickens Men… Oh dear. Mr lose my pants if I … Well no forget that because I think he could lose those even if he was wearing them. A few weeks ago he had biked to work then suddenly realized he couldn’t find his drivers license or his bank cards. Clearly he must have lost them while biking. He was leaving the following day to go to his annual meeting in Ottawa for Sports Massage Therapists. He was driving. Well as the mother I was having fits on the inside but there was nothing I could do so I tried to put it out of my mind. After the trip the mystery of the missing cards continued but then it escalated… He had lost about 3 bank cards now and his iPhone was also missing!
It was clear that I had failed as a mother. How did I raise such an irresponsible son?
Then I get the phone call later that evening. “I know where all my stuff has gone. My car is eating it!” … And for a brief moment I knew he had lost his mind as well. Then he explained. There is a spot in his console where he puts things while he drives but he has figured out that things fall inside the console. He could see things in there but could not get them out. After some fishing he managed to recover several missing bank cards, his drivers license, his iPhone, Astrid’s hair clip, items that the previous owner lost…. The list goes on. And so it was true that his car really had been eating his belongings and I did raise a smart boy who really isn’t that irresponsible after all. Phew! Oh, and he’s driving legally again.
He stopped in for coffee this morning and told his Dad how he has been sick and lost his voice yesterday. Corey says, “Did you check your car?”
3 Comments »
October 25, 2011
7:50 pm | 5 Comments » |
I am pretty sure Dija was looking with her blind eye when she CUT HER OWN HAIR! That’s right she cut her hair. Not the typical chunk out of the front. Oh no, she took a good 6 or 8 inches off the back making it above shoulder level on about one third of her head along one side. I’m not sure how she did it and she’s insists that Trey did not do it. She has yet to learn that it is best to blame the sibling. I think she wants the credit for doing it! In fact the clump of hair was tucked under her pillow possibly waiting for the hair fairy???
At first I didn’t even see where she had cut the hair. I saw a tiny clipping on her floor. That was likely a good thing because I was able to control the freak out that might have ensued had I originally noticed the huge chunk missing at the back of her head. Then after I had given the calm stern talk she walked past me. Gulp… Oh dear this is worse than I realized. I managed to not react.
“Dija, I’m afraid we will have to cut your hair all off. You will no longer have long princess hair.”
“All off like Papa?”
“Well tomorrow after school when I go to Nana’s I can play with Neka.” and just like that she changed the subject.
No fear. No guilt. This child lives in her own fairy tale!
I immediately sent out a distress text message to my hair girl who always takes good care of me… No worries because I know she will make her look less “orphanish.” Now I don’t expect her to have time at 8am tomorrow so Dija will go to nursery school like this. I will say nothing to the teachers as I drop her off. When I pick her up I plan on asking what the heck happened to my kid’s hair. That should be good for a laugh!
By PJ time this evening I think it had sunk in a bit that this was irreversible and as she looked in the mirror I held up her hair to show her how it’s going to be short now a bit like mine. She cried a little and said, “I don’t want you to cut my hair.”
“No worries honey, I won’t be cutting it.” It will be my friend who is allowed to use scissors and I kind of hope it makes Dija sad to see the hair fall so she learns that this was not OK. Then I want her to love her new look because she will always be beautiful even when she is naughty.
For my cousin Kenda… Dija is not my favorite child today! She is still my favorite little girl but her behavior moved her down on my list of favs today
Pictures to be posted once the real cut happens.
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