Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mug Shots



Madigan - 2 years old

AKA: Princess Diva

Wanted for elaborate temper tantrums and excessive cuddles




Anderson - 4 years old

AKA - Pander-Bear

Wanted for multiple counts of huggies and kissies






DJ - 5 years old

AKA - Horsie Boy

Wanted for crimes of passion and compassion



Laura - 40 years old

AKA: Mom

Considered mentally unstable - a bit loony - delusional (thinks a road trip of approximately 4600 kilometres, clear across the country, to visit her in laws, with the above mention accomplices "might be fun".



Let the planning begin - our summer trip is only 85 days away!

Total Estimated Driving Time: 51 hours 11 minutes (ONE WAY!)

Total Estimated Distance: 4597.99 kilometers



I was so worried about the kids' passport photos. I took all three on my own to Costco to get them done. I have heard nightmares about kids smiling, blinking, etc. and it taking 10-40 shots to get a presentable and acceptable shot. Well, each of my darlings got the first take right...and then mine turned out so terrible, but I sure wasn't going to be the one having to retake the photo!!!!! Oh well - what can you do?!?!?!?!?!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reflections

I ushered them into the small crowded room. Shut the door. Hung up the three dresses I wanted to try on.

They immediately started to make funny faces into the wall of mirrors. Giggling.

SHHHhhhhhhhh!

Giggle. Giggle.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of the all?"

I unzip the first dress. Trying to be quick. Slip it over my head thinking, "Oh why did you boys not go with Daddy and Madigan to the pet store? Why did you both insist on staying with me?"

"Mirror, mirror, I ASKED, who is the fairest of them all?....OH! ME? You GOTTA be KIDDING ME!" haa haa haa haa.

Giggle. Giggle.

"Your turn DJ!"

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's got the best hair in town?.........OH! ME? You GOTTA be KIDDING ME!" haa haa haa haa. "Your turn Anderson!"

Giggle. Giggle.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's got the nicest nose in town?.........OH! ME? You GOTTA be KIDDING ME!" haa haa haa haa. "Your turn DJ!"

Giggle. Giggle.

Best mouth? ... OH! ME? You GOTTA be KIDDING ME!
Strongest teeth? ... OH! ME? You GOTTA be KIDDING ME!
Coolest fingers? ... OH! ME? You GOTTA be KIDDING ME!
Nicest arms? ... OH! ME? You GOTTA be KIDDING ME!
Funnest belly button? ... OH! ME? You GOTTA be KIDDING ME!
(you get the point!)

Giggle. Giggle.

Silence.

"Mommy! You look BEAUUUUUU-TI-FULLLLL!"

"Thank DJ!"

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's got the prettiest and bestest mommy?.........OH! ME? Well, of course I do!!! "

"Mommy, I was going to say that, but Anderson said it! Me and Anderson have the prettiest, bestest, Mommy in town!"

Sniffle. Sniffle.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the best two boys in town? Me? Yep. You got that right!"

Hugs. Hugs.



** I so wish I could get an audio clip of their over-exaggerated "OH! ME? You GOTTA be KIDDING ME!" It was so friggin' funny! When we walked out of the dressing room there were lots of smiles from the staff and customers who were treated to this cute little skit!

** I did not buy that dress - it did not fit all that great - but I promise to post about the dress I did buy and how there is no way I will be out-shining the bride at the wedding we are attending next month!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Between

Between.
Yep.
Me.

I am between a rock and a hard place.

I am struggling.
Trying to find balance.


Balance.
Work.
Family.
Play.
Balance.



I am between a rock and a hard place.


Have you noticed how lame my posts have been? I have been tired. Over worked.


My long time readers know all about my job. It WAS the perfect balance for me. Yes, my 4am to 8am crazy hours made for a long day - but it all boiled down to a fairly interesting job, no childcare costs and most importantly, the ability for me to have a "real" job AND be a stay at home mom.


While I was pregnant with DJ, I was laid off from a company in the hi-tech industry. I never looked back. I could not fathom going back to the daily grind of the hi-tech, stressful, chaotic life I led pre-kids. I was "saved" when I had Anderson while still on maternity leave! And decided that childcare costs for two kids less than a year apart was crazy. So, never went back to work.


Then, when Ander was 2 I started getting the itch...the itch for more disposable income, the itch to exercise my professional skills, you know, the itch.


This amazing job basically fell into my lap. A good friend I met at playgroup found out about a crazy job that was part time from 4am to 8am. Not only did it work in terms of allowing me forgo any need of childcare - but it married my university education with my work experience. I have a degree in Canadian Studies with a focus on inter-governmental affairs - and I have a diploma (and 16 years experience) in marketing-communications. Oh ya baby! It was a great opportunity! I interviewed, landed the job and started almost immediately. That was 3 years ago.

It was a great gig - while it lasted! I basically got paid to watch the national news! Working for the Canadian federal government, I am part of a media team that monitors, analyzes and reports on news coverage. Our main "client" is actually the Prime Minister of Canada and his staff! They have a morning briefing and our media report is the bulk of that meeting.


OK, jump ahead to today. I got a new boss in January. Nice guy. But since he took control, my job has changed. The workload has exploded. For example, in the years past we monitored 8 stations and usually categorized 15-20 daily clips. Now, we have 13 stations and we do over 100 clips

It is completely heads down from 4am to 630am...no, excuse me, 3am to 630am. Yep. I have been asked to work at 3am. Not only that, but I have also been asked to work on the weekend. First, it was a flexible shift - anytime I wanted on the weekend - now, my work needs to be done by 10am Saturday - meaning I have to complete 5 hours of work between 8pm Friday and 10 am Saturday - no longer very flexible, now, is it???!!!!

My new boss cannot seem to say no.

Our workload is crazy.

Then he sends an email asking for a huge change int he report for the Monday morning submission. He indicates in his Sunday evening email that if overtime is needed, that is OK. Hmmmmm...let's think about this - email sent at 8:43pm, I arrive at work at 3am...report due at 630am...ya, um, excuse me...when could I squeeze in some overtime to help get the work load completed? Ya! Doesn't work!

OK - The increased workload, the new boss with no real idea of what and how we do our job, a very demanding "client" and a huge adjustment to my hours all constitute my "rock".

The hard place?

Well, that is Nortel.

My hubby works at Nortel. Nortel is in trouble. No one knows what is happening and no job is secure. This once hi-tech giant has gone into bankruptcy protection and it looks very grim. We have no idea how much longer David will have a job or an income. Since the company is in protection, no severance will be granted.

This is extremely stressful for everyone. But, my heart goes out to hubby - having to go in every day, remain focused, committed and hard working - with all the uncertainty clouding his workplace.

He tries to keep positive. He tries to let things not impact him - h has a healthy outlook that what will happen, will happen. But, I can see the stress eating at him.

Then, I keep getting offered more work hours. I am not ready for full time - I love having my days at home with the kids. I do not want to have to worry about childcare - I want to care for my children. But, if David should loose his job - then I would have a secure full time job. (well, at least secure till my next contract renewal!) Plus, my director has gone to bat for me before - he is loyal to those who demonstrate commitment to the team and good work. He secured me a contract that allowed me a full year maternity leave with benefits. I feel like if I say no to extra hours and longer hours, that he may "loose that faith in me". He is hard-nose like that. People try to never cross him - he can make your life hell!

So, I am struggling. I am struggling because I am getting even less sleep than before. I am struggling because my workload had multiplied, I am worried about my hubby's job, mental state and peace of mind.

I am struggling with where I want to be in 2-5 years in terms of my professional work - and if declining extra hours and responsibilities will negatively impact my desires and future opportnities.

For me, working full time would mean we would need childcare for Madigan every morning - and then when school is out - for all three - just in the morning. I would have the afternoons to spend with them - and sooner than I realize, they will all be in school full days. It would not be that hard to do...and we could find very affordable options that would capitalize on our new income source and that would help us financially. But I would be working fulltime...

I really feel like I am between a rock and hard place right now.

And that explains my lack of quality posts - Ummm, have I ever posted quality posts???!!!!!

OK - whine and b*tchfest is over. Tomorrow we will be back to our regular bloggy-self!

Oh! I have so much to share with you!!!! Funny stories about the kids, fitness news, weight loss journey tidbits - Let me tell you, the Fringe is never boring...just my posts of late!!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

DO NOT!

DO NOT go to Amy's Quest to Skinny blog.

DO NOT become inspired by her weight loss journey.

DO NOT fall in love with her cute furry and four-legged companion.

DO NOT rely on her for awesome running pointers, realistic views on Weight Watchers and food tips.

DO NOT marvel at her work out commitment.

DO NOT chuckle at her wonderful sense of humour.

DO NOT cheer her on as she prepares for her next road race.

And whatever you do, DO NOT go and comment on this post.

WHY NOT??

'Cause Amy is MY bloggy friend, she is MY inspiration, she is MY grounding force and she is EXACTLY who I want to be like when I grow skinny.

Commenting on this post is just a BIG waste of time!

WHY?

'Cause I am going to win her awesome give-away. Yep. Me. NOT YOU!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Road Rage

Oh! I have a mighty case of road rage!


First, I read this post posted on Life is Just so Daily. For those who do not know, Lainey-Painey is a huge advocate for child safety in cars. Sadly, she lost her nephew Riley in September 2005. It was a tragic accident where 2 year old Riley locked himself in the family car and died of heat exposure.

Links and stories on her blog have really opened my eyes to the dangers of unsupervised children in cars. PLEASE - go check out www.kidsincars.org - knowledge and awareness is power and it could save YOUR kids.

Oh...I was fuming after reading that post...and I personally would have used a few harsher names for the "witch" that Lainey-Painey confronted.

Then, as I was walking to work, my temper started to fume again. As you may know Tamil-Canadians are staging a marathon protest. They have been picketing outside my office. Understand that I am not upset that they are staging a protest...it is their right. What I am fuming about is the number of children left sleeping in their cars parked along the route I walk at 3:30am. Sometimes there are entire families sleeping in their cars, sometimes just children. Sometimes the children are in car seats, sometimes not. Sometimes the cars are even running! Sometimes the parents or guardians are also sleeping in the car - sometimes they are congregating a few cars away with other protesters.

The police presence is high - so, within a few metres down the street I stopped two police officers and voiced my concern. They basically said, "Oh, it is not a cold night, and the kids gotta sleep, and the parents cannot be too far away. Don't worry about it."

Don't worry about it?????

Mr. Police officer and Madame Police officer, with all due respect - GO CHECK OUT www.kidsincars.org !

THEN, to top off my morning road rage, here is a news clip I had to review for my media report. YES - two children are in grave condition after a MINOR car accident. Minor...except for the MAJOR error of judgement made by the parental unit to NOT properly secure their children in car seats.
video

Did you know that it is estimated that 95% of children's car seats are not installed correctly or used correctly? Two of my biggest beefs are infants in the "bucket seats" with the handles upright - CHECK YOUR MANUAL PEOPLE - this is WRONG! And secondly, when children in the harness seats are not tightly secured. CHECK YOUR MANUAL PEOPLE - the straps need to be SNUG. If you have questions contact your local authorities to find out about car seat clinics and checks in your area.

OK. Deep breaths.

I have a serious case of road rage and I only hope and pray this rant of a post gets just one person to rethink leaving children unattended in a car or how their car seats are installed or used.

Children are precious cargo...let's handle them with care.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Where did the time go?



DJ at kindergarten graduation...my heart swells with pride, my eyes with tears and my being with hope each time I look at these photos!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fitness Friday - One step at a Time

Have you heard of the 10 000 step challenge? It is basically the thought that if you take 10k steps in a day then you are leading a relatively healthy/active lifestyle.

I remember before I started my weight loss journey, I placed my new pedometer on and honestly thought I would have no problem hitting the 10k mark. After all, I did not spend my day at a desk - I spent my day running after three little ones! Boy! I was shocked to see such a small number of steps.

I went on a mission to increase my steps.

I started taking the stairs. I started parking further from the door. I started walking errands instead of driving short distances. I started to "do" the front steps while waiting for the boys' bus each morning. I started to take two trips with grocery bags or with laundry - doubling my steps for specific tasks.

All of these "step inserters" worked. Very quickly the number of steps I was taking skyrocketed past 10 000! After about a month of consistently hitting between 13K and 16K (without including my daily exercise activity) I stopped wearing my counter.

Mission complete! Now, even without the counter I can basically tell when I have not taken my 10k steps - and I work hard to fit them in or push harder at my workout. I am addicted to steps!

At my WW meeting on Wednesday many of the Losers (I mean that in the best way!!!! Hee Hee) were talking about how morning exercise motivates them to eat right and stay on plan all day.

I started to analyse my situation. I can ONLY work out in the evening. If I did follow the suggestion of just getting up 30 minutes earlier each morning, then I would be going to bed at 9pm and waking up at 2:30am! Um....NO!

I started to curse my 4am to 8am dream job with the federal government - you know, that job where I get to interact with the real world, but I also get to be a full time stay at home mom. You know, the great job that I get to brag that I get paid to watch the news broadcasts and tell the Prime Minister of Canada and his staff what was reported by the media outlets each night. You know, THAT job.

When the leader mentioned that early morning exercise jump starts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories and have more energy, I was really fuming.

Then, I thought of my step mission.

On Thursday and Friday I dusted off my pedometer and securely fastened it to my dress pants and headed off to work - AND FOLLOWED MY REGULAR MORNING ROUTINE.

  • Parked my car in the normal spot.
  • Took the 2 flights of stairs to the exit.
  • Walked the 3 blocks to my office.
  • Take the elevator to my office - too nervous to do the dark stairs at 3:45am!
  • Worked to get my reports done.
  • Delivered my multi-media reports to the Prime Minister's office.
  • Delivered the reports to the West Block of Parliament Hill - this is a 3 block walk - but best of all for the last 4 months I have not used the elevators - I run up and down the 4 flights of stairs.
  • Walk back to the office, walk up my 4 flights of stairs.
  • Finish my daily work.
  • Walk down 4 flights of stairs to the main door.
  • Walk the 3 blocks to my parking lot.
  • Take the stairs to the parking garage.
  • Arrive at home at 8:30am.

So, between 3am and 9am each work day I am walking approximately 4789 steps.

HELLO! Did you see the number of stairs my new active lifestyle has incorporated in it each morning? HELLO LOSER LAURA, there is your MORNING WORKOUT!

Do you try to incorporate activity into your work day? Do you subscribe to the 10k step challenge? If so, how do you work in more steps?

Like our leader Marilyn said at our WW meeting - Even the longest journey starts with a few small steps.

Each day, I feel like I am taking those little steps to incorporate more activity into my day and leading a healthier, better lifestyle - in hopes of it all being a life-long commitment.

And with that, I leave you with two photos that show that each little step towards a healthier lifestyle work.


April 9, 2009

April 9, 2008.

I sure have come a long way!

Thanks for your support everyone!

One step at a time!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WW - Hitting the jack pot!

Remember my (incomplete) list of 40 gifts for my 40th birthday?

Well, I hit the jackpot!
My new Garmin - now, if I could only figure out how to set it for 10 and 1's!!!!

My new Bryce Courtenay book!

My BEAUTIFUL pendent from Star Creations!

My new gardening stuff and wonderful garden tool box made by my Mom and Dad!

Me, looking all refreshed after my after noon at the spa with my Mom.

Oh! Did I mention this photo is taken in Toronto? As part of my birthday celebration David and I escaped to TO for a wonderful kidless adventure! We saw "The Sound of Music".

OH Ya! It was an amazing birthday!

But, I was not the only person to hit the jack pot!

Madigan made the BIG draw for the Star Creations give-away.

Drum roll, please....

...and the winner is AMY from Amy's Quest to Skinny.

Congrats Amy!

And thank you everyone for entering the draw!

What a wonderful birthday!!!!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The hills are alive! ENTER TO WIN!

Oh! I have had a WONDERFUL day! I cannot wait to tell you all about it...but no time, gotta get a good night's sleep! We are off to Toronto tomorrow morning!

Remember this post??? Well, part of my 40th birthday celebrations include a weekend get-away to Toronto, one night accommodations at a swanky hotel, and awesome tickets to see The Sound of Music!

So, while the hills may be alive to the sound of music, the Fringe is alive with chances to win a wonderful piece of jewelry from Star Creations.

Everyone who leaves a comment (wishing me a happy 40th birthday) will be entered to win!

Want a better chance to win????

Simply click through to Star Creations and find your favorite piece and let me know what it is, and you will be entered into the contest again!

Want even more chances of winning???

Post on your blog about this contest and add a little linky back to The Fringe and you will be entered an additional 5 times into the draw!

Suzy over at Star Creations will be giving the winner a choice of gifts- you could win a Hammered Silver Tree on Ball Chain, or a pretty locket like the Chocolate and Roses Ball Locket.

Entries will be collected all Easter weekend - I am going to be way too busy having a wonderful time celebrating my birthday weekend and Easter to post - so, leave your comment, check out Star Creations and tell all your bloggy friends!

The draw will happen on Tuesday April 14th. Good luck!

You could be the next proud owner of a unique, beautiful, hand crafted piece by Star Creations! (I know I will be soon!!! Yep, David placed an order for the beautiful Enchanted Russian Amazonite Tree on Copper Pendent. I squealed with delight!!! I cannot wait to get it!!!!)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

WW - Snowy Spring and Chocolate smiles!

Remember this garden shot from last Wednesday's Wordless Wednesday?
Well, here is this week's "Garden Cam" shot.
Yep, Mother Nature has played a cruel joke on us here in Ottawa, Canada!

My poor spring flowers!


So, as to not leave you depressed and snow-weary
(like we are here on The Fringe),
here is chocolaty smile to cheer you up!!!

Tomorrow is the BIG day!

Tomorrow I turn the BIG 4-0!!!!!!

Remember to stop by tomorrow, and enter for a chance to win a GREAT prize/present from
Star Creations!

Happy Easter!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Top 10 Reasons

  1. Barfing 4 year old
  2. Cold rainy weather and 3 kids at home
  3. PD school day
  4. Barfing Mommy
  5. Barfing 2 year old
  6. Winter storm watches and SNOW!
  7. Toddler diarrhea
  8. Endless Internet searches on Scarlet Fever
  9. Unrealistic work load increase resulting in starting work at 3AM instead of 4AM!
  10. Too many loads of laundry to count!
Just the top 10 reasons why I have been neglecting my blog!

One cool reason to keep visiting The Fringe?

MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! (on Thursday!)

No, seriously, what is so what is the best part of birthdays?

PRESENTS!

And well, thanks to Suzy (my new BFF, not sure if she knows that yet!!!) over at Star Creations on Etsy you will have a chance to win a present! Yep! Something from her wonderful Etsy Shop. Oh! Her stuff is beautiful! I have been lurking on her site, you know, browsing all her wonderful jewelry pieces and basically checking the inventory count on this item...since it is on my birthday wish list!

You could have chance at winning a wonderfully hand-crafted piece of art from Suzy. Yep!

How cool is that? The first ever give-away on The Fringe.

Stay tuned!!!!!!

Details will be posted soon, you know, as soon as I get back from the pediatrician's office, finish mopping the floor for the four-zillionth time and throw in another load of the endless pukey-poo poo laundry. OH JOY!!!!!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Symbolic Bling

I am not a fancy girlie-girl. I am not into diamonds or expensive jewelry. My track record with NOT loosing jewelry is NOT good! Remember THIS story????

Just the same, I love fun, creative, interesting necklaces and bracelets. Costume jewelry is really my style!

Here are a few little trinkets I found on Etsy that I would like to add to my birthday list:

I LOVE this pendent. It is beautiful! I would love to have it made with forty little gem stones and three little "eggs" in the nest. It certainly would be a true symbolic representation of my life at age forty. Symbolic bling at it's best - LOVE IT!!!! You (David), can click HERE for more details!


Here is another take on the same idea - I am really drawn to this design.


While I REALLY like the copper one above, this silver option is great since I wear silver quite often. David, or any of you, my loyal readers can click HERE for more details!

For my 30th birthday I got a really funky bracelet and love it to this day. I LOVE funky, cool, conversation piece bracelets! So, a bracelet option would be something like this:

If one wanted more details, they could click HERE, and place an order for this lovely spoon bracelet that features my FAVORITE flowers!

Or, if you think I would appreciate a neat hand crafted ring (and I would!) and you only want to spend $12.50 (cause, you know, I 'm worth at least that!) then this would be a great option:

To me, the four Swarovski Crystals represent each of the 4 decades I have been around - and the two side beads could represent David and I with the main pearl symbolizing becoming a family unit - meeting David, falling in love, getting married and having three wonderful children are the key highlights and wonders on my life thus far - so, yep, this ring would ROCK as a gift! Click HERE quick to order!

All of these wonderful gift ideas are from Etsy.com - this site ROCKS!!!! It is a GEM! The finds are purely PRICELESS and wonderful. If you have never checked it out - go - browse, ohhh and ahhh! If you are a Etsy customer, what has been your cool find thus far???

Less than a week till my 40th birthday....so, um, what are your doing hanging out at The Fringe???? Go! Get shopping for my gift already! Time is running out!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Spring time

At long last the snow has melted (for the most part) and the regular, cold, rainy weather has started.

I noticed a few of my spring flowers coming up in the garden this morning and I thought that would be a perfect WW entry.
Can you see the little green stems peaking out?
Hey, maybe I will take another snap shot next week and we can see the difference????
Ya for Spring Time!