Better Than a Bouquet of Flowers

Wanna see something sexy?

I mean something that gets you really turned on?

Brace yourself….

….

….hope you can handle this…

….

Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

 

It's the suds, I'm telling' ya!

 

The cleaning of the truck was followed by the cleaning of the inside of the truck, which was followed by an impromptu driving lesson for First Born Son. This was not discussed with me, nor was it endorsed by me. My truck is a standard so The Big Guy thought it would be good practice for FBS.

I refrained from expressing my displeasure because I no longer clean the outside of the truck with my dress pants and don’t have to crawl over gravel once I get in.

Still…totally sexy….

What I Did for March Break, by Sarah

Spring Break used to be a joke – there was nothing “spring” about it. But in recent memory, I honestly cannot remember having any amount of snow – certainly not enough for the kids to enjoy. Usually I’m scrubbing floors from all the mud being tracked in.

Traditionally, I try to take a couple of days off with the boys to do some fun stuff. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be this year as I not only worked, but had extra shifts to cover.

SOOOOOO, we ended up settling for a day off as a family. And what did we do?

We had family portraits taken.

*crickets*

YES, I’m a photographer. But let me explain something here. I am rarely in photos. Because of this, we received a gift certificate for a sitting fee, and I must say, I was thrilled. Now, some might suggest that we should have had a friend or family member help out. Been there….

Done that…..

 

Really, what’s the BEST part of this photo – the fly? The fact that it’s off-centre? Or my cheesy expression??

I firmly believe that having a skilled professional behind the camera makes or breaks a portrait. A good photographer can engage the subjects, enhance a mood and create a memory.

A good photographer can also reign my husband in. GAWD!

If a presence behind the camera wasn’t necessary, the profession would have died out after the advent of the timer.

We had a blast with the couple we worked with. They made the session exactly what I was hoping for – a family memory. It’s what I strive for when I work with clients and I’m very excited – the creativity they brought to our session inspired us, and I can’t wait to see the proofs!

The last time we had photos taken, we  were at Little Sister’s wedding, and while they were well done, I don’t usually trot around in a bridesmaid dress. Aside from that, the boys are at really neat stages of their lives and I felt strongly about capturing this moment in time.

The weather was perfect; we had a blast, and afterward, we went to the movies.

One of the best gifts would could ever have given each other!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bubba Guy

The Big Guy has left me.

He says he’ll be back in two days.

Damn training.

What a perfect time to share a Big Guy story! That’ll teach em….

When I met The Big Guy he was 6’2+ and about 175 lbs. Pretty lean. By the time we got married, he was 185 lbs. Still very trim. I won’t tell you how much I weighed when we got married, but suffice it to say, I exploded after the birth of two kids. I never had to diet before, so being in my mid 20s and learning how to control my diet was a big deal. His weight never changed, which was frustrating as I tackled losing baby weight times two.

The Big Guy was very supportive. NOT. It wasn’t that he didn’t want me to lose weight, he just didn’t understand the concept. Because I didn’t feel I should deprive the household, I would still bake and have treats in the house. I just wouldn’t have any. And then I’d have to fend off The Big Guy, who would constantly offer to cut me a piece of cake, pie or square and then feign surprise when I stated that I “couldn’t” eat it.

Such support….

He still doesn’t understand why I don’t partake in dessert following each meal and why there are still two unopened boxes of chocolates on the counter from Christmas.

Uh, mainly because I DON’T want to staring down 200 lbs again!!??

So I was less than sympathetic when he came home with news the other day. He’d just come home from a physical with our new doctor, for which he was LONG overdue.

“Did you know they weigh you every time you go in for an appointment?” he asked.

“Yup,” I replied, thinking that I was pretty sure I’d mentioned this to him already.

“Well the nurse told me I was 192.7 lbs!” he exclaimed. “CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?”

<PAUSE> In fairness, I had noticed The Big Guy was a little Big-ger, but it certainly wasn’t a bad thing. We had argued at Christmas that he was not a Large but an Extra Large, and I was listening when he was telling me that his pants were fitting tighter. His new job has him tied to a desk or his truck most of the time. Then there is the whole age vs. metabolism debate. Did I think it was a problem? Nope. Would I have told him if I thought it was? Jury is still out on that…. <PLAY>

So the weight conversation lasted a while, with The Big Guy fearing this was the top of the slippery slope that sees him ending up as the Human Pear; a tall man with a gut out front and long thin legs. As I choose my words carefully, I offer a couple of suggestions.

“We’ll walk together at least once a week!” I offer.

“Can you believe that? 192.7 LBS!” he replies.

“Maybe you’ll have to start watching what you eat.” I suggest.

“I’ve never been 192.7 lbs in my entire life!” he exclaims.

“You know, we’re talking about seven pounds,” I point out.

“I KNOW! SEVEN POUNDS!” he nearly faints.

I remove myself from the conversation for two reasons. One, because he obviously needs to come to terms with this unmitigated shock he’s just experienced.

And two, because he can’t possible get his head around the fact that what he’s gained is less weight than either of his sons that I gave birth to.

Valentine’s Day in Three Parts….

It’s only two days after Valentine’s Day, and the Easter swag is on the shelves, but I’m still reflecting on the events of two days ago….

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I’ve been watching the commercials that start in rotation every January 2nd. The message is the same. If you have someone special in your life, you’d better do something for them on February 14th.

Or risk not having someone on February 15th.

I will admit, when I was young and naive, I bought into this commercialism. I’m not sounding very romantic right now, but if you stand back and set aside the Pink coloured glasses, you will see that there is nothing romantic about being forced to show how you feel about someone. Even the most emotionally emotive man gets a heavy dose of insecurity in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. The bar is set high. Anything less will result in disappointment and frustration, not to mention reliving the moment for years after – if you are “fortunate” enough to stay with your loved one.

What is romantic about that??

I remember dating The Big Guy and he brought me a Valentine’s Day arrangement. A teddy bear clutching a plastic vase with fresh cut flowers. I was thrilled – such an obvious gesture of love and affection! Totally cute at the time and it impressed several of my friends, because we know it’s all about the brag factor. Wouldn’t thank you for it now. I love the idea of the unexpected. What is romantic is not what happens on one day, but the connection, the listening you do, on all the other days, that makes that one day memorable. And it doesn’t have to be V-day.

*A special note for you guys – you DON’T have to buy a piece of jewelry to get her attention. <Cue the Crickets>

I’m serious here girls! What would you rather have? A piece of jewelry that you basically TOLD him to buy for you, or a night in with your man, your favourite movie in hand because he LISTENED to you when you said you desperately wanted to see it. He also has your favourite snacks!! One is forced, one is genuine. When it comes to relationships, I prefer the latter.

That’s not to say I will turn away a hinged furry box! But let’s put it in context….

I won’t forget my 12th wedding anniversary because I received my sapphire and diamond ring from The Big Guy. Not on our 10th or 15th…. Completely unexpected – and I LOVED IT.

Surprise is romantic. The unexpected, is romantic. Pressure, expectation, entitlement…..

No so much.

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Second Born Son has taken an interest in baking lately. We made kick-ass peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Not long after, we made cupcakes for a friend’s birthday.

Look at that technique!

In the fashion of all agonizing childhood milestones, Valentine’s Day rolled around for him in his classroom.

At his age, not too many kids are keen on demonstrating affection, so it’s an awkward situation. I’ve told SBS that if wants to take a Valentine to one person, he needs to give one out for each person in his class. Fortunately, he agrees.

But this year, when his peers were marking a day for love and affection, one little shit student was changing the rules.

He handed out his store-bought cupcakes to only a handful of students. SBS was not one of them. To add insult to injury, he walked past SBS’s desk and said, “Jealous??”

To which my son, my little sweetie – who had given this child a Valentine AND a box of Smarties, just like everyone else, came back with this gem.

“No. I can MAKE my own, any time I want them.”

Freakin’ brilliant.

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It has been documented how our sons feel about our anniversary. Maybe because The Big Guy and I don’t gush over these holidays, we don’t expect much from the boys.

It was mentioned at one point that they had “something” for us, but honestly, with the chaos these past couple of days, I didn’t give it a lot of thought. I have a collection of sweet Valentine cards from my little men, and was looking forward to seeing what they put together this year.

But first, I had something else to attend to.

Made with Love - Half the Calories - ahahahahahahahahah

I always believe the motto “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” So these little dreams were sinful!

It looks like The Big Guy had the same idea!

Poetry! Wow!

But for some reason, he thought I was going to share…THIS?!

Uh...YUM

I was ready to mow through dinner, just to get to dessert, but the boys has other ideas. Watch us get our minds blown!

Awwwww!

It was a Valentine’s Day card with a dinner card inside. They plotted and planned with FBS slipping downtown on his lunch to pick up the cards. Who knew they were so thoughtful!

And that, my friends, is the definition of a loving Valentine’s Day.

True love is the soul’s recognition of its counterpart in another.

~ Wedding Crashers

If….Then…..

For the most part, we are blessed with good kids. But every now and then, one of them will pull a boner.

This time it was First Born Son’s turn. Nothing epic, but certainly worth several well thought out words in an elevated tone to drive home how frustrated and disappointed we are. In a day or so, it will all blow over, but for now, there needs to be a line drawn and some consequences.

This has been our approach since we became parents, and fortunately, The Big Guy and I have been on the same page, without really having a discussion about it. I remember while we were dating (long before talk of marriage or children), trying to enjoy a meal at a restaurant while a young upwardly mobile couple tolerated, and indeed coddled their young child. Certainly old enough to know how to behave in a restaurant, it was fairly obvious that we were witnessing a case of the Tail Wagging the Dog. Whining, food thrown and indulgence. Understandable when the child is 2, more than annoying when the kid is 5. We looked at each other and basically said the same thing to each other, “If we have kids, we are NOT letting them get away with crap like THAT!”

One of the worst things I see is when parents use threats or ultimatums. These could also be considered boundaries. Nothing wrong with setting terms, the problem is when the child knows the threat is hollow. We have made a point of not doing this, and it has served us well. Its all about the follow through.

I remember when FBS was just a wee guy. We were at a friend’s house and he was enjoying the pool. I was done for the day and back in my dry clothes (fear not, he had enough safety and flotation devices on him, not to mention I was ALWAYS within arm’s reach). Anyway, I asked him nicely to come out of the pool to dry off; it was time to go home. He refused. I told him he had to the Count of Three (another favourite tactic) to get out of the pool, or I was coming in for him.

One beat after I said “Three” he started to laugh – there was no way Mommy was going to get in, she was in her clothes. I stepped right into the pool, sandals, shorts, tee and all, and hauled his scrawny wet tush out of that pool. From that day forward, he knew. There were consequences and not listening to Momma was not advised.

Years later, I coached his ball team. During a practice we were working on stealing home. I advised the base runner, who was a little meek, that he needed a more substantial lead off. Three pitches later, he’s still take two steps. I need him to take at least four. I tell him, “If you don’t get more of a jump out there, I’m going to make you wish you had.” He looks over at FBS who is the third baseman for this exercise. FBS just shakes his head and says, “She’ll do it man.”

Ironically, the runner had an excellent jump and  was able to get to Home Plate with ease.

I took exception to title the Day Care teachers gave me; Hitler Mom, but that’s only because of the choice of villain, not because of the context. I don’t drop the hammer all the time. The Big Guy isn’t irrational. We save consequences for serious transgressions. Laptops and tablets, iPods and TV privileges have been revoked because of serious breaches of behaviour.

Which is why I identify, and respect the position of this father…..

Dad uses Facebook

Naturally, there are people who feel he is the worst example as a parent.

I feel I’m in pretty good company.

Top 10 Things You Should Never Say to Someone with Cancer

As you now know, my father was diagnosed with Cancer earlier this year. Over these past 8 months, it has been a battle that too many people have become familiar with. My mother-in-law lost her fight the day after Dad’s surgery and within the past three years we’ve also lost an uncle and a cousin.

Suffice it to say, we have A LOT of experience on what is helpful and what is not when it comes to support. I consider it my service to humanity to offer the following:

10 THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY TO SOMEONE WITH CANCER, OR THEIR FAMILY

1. “Don’t do the surgery. They’ll open you up and it will spread!” – I’m pretty sure that’s not how Cancer spreads, and your paranoia will only incite further paranoia. How is that helpful?

2. “There’s no point in doing the Chemo/Radiation/treatment.” I’d love to see your credentials in the medical field, or anything other than hearsay, because, again, putting the Fear of God in someone who is already stressed, isn’t really a great idea. The suggestion is that treatment is in vain, that the Cancer will return anyway. How is this productive? Millions of people beat Cancer every year. Don’t you want this person to be one of those people?

3. “Have you heard of the Broccoli/Sunshine/Herbal treatment?” You know what, just see Number 2…..

4. “My mother/father/uncle/aunt/son/daughter/dog/mailman had that kind of Cancer and two weeks after they saw the doctor, they were gone.” What exactly are you trying to accomplish with a terrifying statement like that? Cancer isn’t scary enough, you need to worry them that they have less time than they think they do?? I mean, come on.

5. “Jane Doe is suffering from Cancer.” My issue with this is the word “suffering“. When you are told to be strong, fight, find the courage and stay positive, the word “suffering” is one of the most damaging words you could utter. Try, “Jane Doe has been diagnosed with Cancer.” or  even, “Jane Doe is battling Cancer.” So much more empowering, don’t you think?

6. “You look so GOOD!” I have yet to see someone battling Cancer who actually looks “good”. If anything, you make the individual self conscious and the internal conversation is something like this….

“Dear God, they think I look good when I look like THIS? I looked good when I had my hair, my eye lashes, my appetite, 40lbs more. I look like shit and now I feel even WORSE.”

7. “Oh my, you don’t look so good today!” It’s better to say nothing at all than to make a statement about personal appearance. This is someone who is walking through Hell for their life – are they supposed to have a “good” day? I mean, really…..

8. “Oh you poor dear!” This gem is usually reserved for family members – and when its the kids, the hair stands up on the back of my neck. Try “I bet you are a great help for your Poppa!” or “I will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.” Conveys the same intent without the implication of hollow sympathy.

9. “What can I do to help?” I bet you don’t see the issue with this one, do ya? The problem is that the person you are asking this of has a tornado of stress, drama and information swirling in their heads. They are grateful to remember to bathe, never mind make a To Do list. You are asking them to sort through their upside down life and come up with a custom list of tasks you would be suited to do. Why not say, “Can I help drive?” “May I drop off a casserole?” “Can I cut your grass?” These are specific tasks that the care giver or patient can look at and say “yes” or “no” rather than generate a task to assign you. Don’t be offended if they don’t agree to your suggestions. You have opened the door with a genuine offer, and in a still moment, when they have collected their thoughts, they may remember your kind offer. Then your phone may ring.

10. “You better get checked out!” While this comment is likely to be well intended, it’s usually unnecessary and if anything, causes more anxiety. When my mother-in-law was ailing, the last thing her sons needed was to be reminded that they might face the same fate. Don’t get me wrong, they were more than aware that the Cancers she battled can be passed genetically, but they didn’t need that stress adding to the concern they already had for her, and their father.

In conclusion, while many people think they are showing concern and empathy by asking these questions, it’s a case of the void between what is being said, and what is being heard. Remember that the best way to show your interest and support is to ask simple, short questions, void of overt emotion. Perhaps you’ll catch them in a moment where they will want to share their thoughts and feelings. They aren’t looking for answers. They don’t expect you to have a solution. The fact is, their reality is overwhelming in that moment, and they need to release the backlog.

Be an ear. Not a mouth.