Happy Chinese New Year!

Okay, I started 2016 with the notion that I would be posting every week, and here I am four (actually almost five) weeks later with finally a post. First of all Happy New Year 2016 (at least in time for Chinese New Year). This year will be a great year in spite of it not being the year of the goat; it is actually the year of the red monkey.

The year 2015 was a year of change, sadness and mourning for this Garden Goat. My mother passed away, as did my mother-in-law. Many of you know that I also hold down full-time employment with a large corporation, well that has also come to a close. The office where I worked for almost 13 years closed, and, therefore, I am now seeking other employment.

A terrible crisis happened to one of my children, suffice to say prayers are welcome, and this goat’s faith in humanity has been shaken. Now you know why it has been a little quiet at my end.

A new year, 2016 I believe will be the best year ever. So no time like the present to hop (cavort) back into entertaining and communicating with my faithful, although likely estranged, readership.

Best Year ever 2016 GG

Those of you just joining the conversation today, I moonlight as a goat and comment on just about everything. I am secure in the knowledge that this pseudonym allows me to be me (goat self) reporting from my home and still have the teenagers that dwell here acknowledge me, at least monthly (and more often if I disconnect the Wifi).

I am humbled on Facebook (and also in reality) by everyone’s commitment to their New Year resolutions, which appear to be a cross between getting fit, losing weight (I thought that they were both the same…apparently NOT) and putting more meaning into their lives.  I on the other hand, will be happy to know that I have survived yet another day, possibly showered and kept the kids I preside over, alive to see tomorrow. I am hoping to overachieve on this front, this year!

Other New Year’s Resolution fans are working on great plans for cruise vacations, shopping and home renovations (never to be ever compared with a vacation). I am living for today; tomorrow is just too complicated.

As of February 2nd, I am competing in the open market for a day job. Some of the interviews I have had with prospective employers are all again about New Year’s Resolutions.

Happy Hours glass wine1

One such potential employer prides themselves on having the best work environment including running an “exercise boot camp.” At my age, not a selling point. I was hoping more for maybe a “Happy Hour” afternoon, where those that imbibe can and then perhaps not notice that those of us not indulging got to leave a little early.  Another potential employer offered a health bar resplendent with vegetable smoothies. In spite of my goat attributes, a definite no. Now searching for a company similar to one I worked for years ago, where chocolate came to the office by the truck load, and we the employees, were encouraged to graze.

“There is nothing in this world that prayer and chocolate can’t handle!” –Unknown-

Given that I am out of practice regularly writing this blog I think I will pace myself and save some stuff for next week.

So those of you pursuing Greek-God-like bodies, go for it, I will be in my corner “grazing” on chocolate and counting down the hours until chasing it down with a little Baileys is more socially acceptable.

Love,

The Garden Goat

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Raid my kids loot?

Survived another Halloween…the day after should never have been a Saturday. The Halloween pumpkin JCA _GGcreatures that live here got into the loot and then hid it all over the house. While the kids thought, they were cool and great spies…only to have their hiding spot discovered by the trail of wrappers and half-eaten candy bars. If that was not enough, the toddler crew got a hold of bubble gum and spat out what they did not like…(without the benefit of a nearby garbage). Part of this bedlam has lots to do with just being too tired this year to police the spoils.

I too… must confess. I am one of those parents who look forward to raiding the children’s Halloween loot for a few extra goodies to nibble on at work. This year that plan did not work so well. Just as starters, this year, I had only minimum child labour working the streets. I officially only had five kids out actively collecting goodies in costumes and two of these kids were four years old and under (sadly…they tire easily and the yield is minimal). At my revered age, this goat was too exhausted to sort all the candy except for the mandatory weed out of ALL peanut products to protect the severely allergic family members (myself included).

Years, gone by when there were 7 or more little goats working the streets (and I was younger and on my game), the loot would last for literally weeks. I had it locked up tighter than Fort Knox. Often, I was still enjoying Halloween spoils long after celebrating New Years, the following January.

Sugar-HeartIMG_1783_SMALLER

Unfortunately, this year, I underestimated the spell sugar still casts among the older crowd. Those who tell me daily they are adults (namely ages 22, 20, 17.5 and 15 years old), also lack any vestige of a social conscience. Those older teenagers surreptitiously raided the little kid’s loot as the children slept. Less than 48 hours past Halloween and not a chocolate bar could be found.  (!!) Okay…there must still be all that other junk like jaw-breakers, gum, licorice, exploding pop candy (I kid you not…actually one of my favourites). Nope, nothing…except the wrappers leading a trail to the older culprits.

Chocolate and prayer GG

In the old days, I used to go to work with enough goodies to share with co-workers right up to the Christmas Holidays. This year, on Monday, there was not even one tiny chocolate bar left to be had.

Halloween is a karma-type ritual where the universe gives parents all over the world…some payback. The sleepless nights with sick and crying kids, diapers, last-minute-homework (and a whole pile of other crisis and chaos) as each of us earns our stripes as parents.

Raid my kids loot?…Absolutely!…Halloween candy clearly is a perk of parenthood.

Candy-Halloween-GG

Whether I believe in all the reasons for or against Halloween, I am heavily invested. From early summer, when the little ones start planning costumes for Halloween to the ensuring all participants have costumes and on through to securing enough candy for an entire village to hand out on the day. Months of planning, scheming and saving up funds is dashed when as an adult I am forced to go to work without so much as a hint of sugar.

Last Monday, I sat in my office, no longer any evidence at work (post-Halloween) that I have a super-sized family (actually any kids for that matter). My childless co-workers have more chocolate than I do for the first time in forever. Memo to self for next year…raid the loot late on Halloween night stashing the goods at my office(across town) and bring select treats home every day, after work, but only for the under 12-years-old crowd.

In the meantime, I can be found scouring the Halloween sales until it is time to raid their Christmas Stockings, looking for chocolate!

The Garden Goat

Got Milk? …Nope

There are things in life that are certain…and others that remain a mystery.

Disappearance of milk (the groceries in general) at my house falls into both categories.

Cow Wanted poster milk captioned : The certainty is that as much milk as I buy will disappear. "

“The certainty is that as much milk as I buy will disappear. “

It always disappears and how this happens remains a mystery. Okay, yes, I have a small village living at my house and should understand than any grocery item is but a mere hologram in time until consumed, but still, the stats do not add up.

The certainty is that as much milk as I buy will disappear. This milk is of no particular specialty just the regular 2% milk, four litres to a bag. Chocolate milk is different. (It disappears within minutes regardless of the quantity purchased.)

I have friends that share their horror stories of how their young children have to be bribed to consume any milk. Apparently, those genes are not in my offspring … (neither are my genes present either  … something else to blame on the husband)! I had a significant milk allergy in my youth and had one child suffer anaphylaxis on contact with milk (thankfully the allergy was outgrown).

When I had a bottle fed baby/toddler in the house, I would wait until under the cover of night (11:30 pm as the store was open to midnight) to slip out to the local drugstore and buy milk. That was the only way I could be sure there would be milk for the baby in the morning as by then the teenagers were fast asleep. The drugstore crowd could almost set their watches nightly by the time I was regularly known to show up and purchase the better part of half-a cow’s worth of the stuff!

... this goat has to sneak out nightly to replenish the cow juice!

… this goat has to sneak out nightly to replenish the cow juice!

I mentioned my midnight activities to a good friend (a gal with a family as large as mine) who found it rather entertaining that this goat has to sneak out nightly to replenish the cow juice so that there is still SOME milk left in the mornings for the baby. Other than being this friend’s source of momentary entertainment…I thought little of it. Then came Christmas time, the doorbell rings and here is this friend telling me to come outside and see the present she got me for Christmas. I open the back of her SUV only to reveal about a dozen bags of milk! This gal thought that the gift of time would be useful to for the “mother of many” and, therefore, save me a week’s worth of travelling should I take her advice and freeze the forbidden serum.

That seemed to work though the natives complained that the frozen milk was unappetizing (Yay…this way it will last longer). Due to the kindness of my friend I was able to skip a few midnight excursions. Just to be in the drugstore (again) at the end of the week and have the manager rush up to me and say “Oh I am so glad you are okay…when we did not see you we thought something terrible had happened…like you had died!”

Got Milk

Got Milk FINALLY!

Died …I did…laughing. The baby/toddler child is now older so my nightly trips are no longer as important nor does the night staff at the store miss me (although I am sure that my consistent investment in the drugstore is mourned). In an effort to control the food budget, I am thinking of only buying for one day at a time. While frustrating for the teenagers it may be rewarding for my savings account…stay tuned!

The Garden Goat

Irish … today!

Goat wearing -St-Pats-Hat captioned "This goat is of Irish descent… "

This goat is of Irish descent…

Today is supposed to be lucky.

This goat is of Irish descent… (I guess anything is possible)!  Ever since I was little, St. Patrick’s Day was always a fun day. It always falls in the Lenten period. Because it was such a feast day, it was the only day my parents let me break from lent and have whatever I had given up (by force or otherwise). Great celebration for me as that usually meant I was reunited with my true love… chocolate.

When I was single, it meant going to lots of parties, and yes, some imbibing (… although mostly by my friends), laughter and of course wearing green for the entire day.

Then I got married.

Not as many parties, occasional imbibing (my limit is a half glass of wine and then fast asleep… maybe I am not all that Irish after all).

Then along came the baby.

That was fun… really cute green outfits… in size “tiny”. Once a few more kids had joined the crew (all dressed in green), it was a party going out anywhere on the 17th of March. It always looked as though I had kid-napped a half-a-dozen of the little people. (It helps that 7 out of the 9 kids have red hair.)

Next a few more children were added to the tribe.

Suddenly getting everyone dressed in green for St. Paddy’s was not only not as important but next to impossible. I was just glad that each child was clothed in reasonably clean laundry. As for any liquid celebrations…I was usually asleep on the couch once I had the last one in bed without the benefit of anything stronger than Diet Coke.

Then came imbibing… although sadly…not by the parents.

Irish scale


The teenager wannabe-adults who still live here seem to consider St. Patrick’s Day as some holy day on which mainstream religion condones intoxication. That is fun… (NOT). The only remotely “fun” part would be to get to the older children’s stash of liquid merriment before they do. Unfortunately, pillaging by the parents in other years has meant either the liquid refreshments for this year are well-hidden or not yet purchased.

Shamrock

Oh there is another option… the “friends.”

The “friends” are a nebulous bunch of youth, ranging from acquaintances to perfect strangers (and some oddballs they picked up along the way), all bound together with the common goal of being “Irish” on St. Patrick’s day. Lots of “Irish” could be stashed all over the city.

Now instead of ensuring that the wearing of the green happens at my house…I purposely “hide” ANYTHING that looks remotely green for the older crowd thereby rendering this bunch “passport-less” at most of the waterholes in town. No green means less free booze.

Staying tuned this year…anything is possible!

My green will likely be limited to serving green eggs and ham to the toddler squad and praying that the older ones remember what street address they live at.

This goat is still happy to be of Irish decent and looks forward to future years when the young adults are older (not living here) and have leprechauns of their own.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The Garden Goat

Happy St Patrick's day

March Break …

...according to the kids it is their “holiday.”

…according to the kids it is their “holiday.”

Well, where my kids go to school it is March break… according to the kids it is their “holiday.” If five days of no running to catch the school bus, not doing homework and being able to get dressed without a single thought about being noticed by the “popular” kids is a holiday… by all means …dear children… please enjoy.

Depending on one’s level of awareness this “holiday” could be bigger than Christmas. Sleep in, snack, hang out and chill for 5 days without any restrictions sounds amazing. Enter the bad mom.

At a minimum, I insist that dishes are done, baths are taken and clothes are washed (including having the dog walked) … apparently I am the “fun” killer. This March break I will only be on hand for 2 of the 5 days in question as this year I do not have enough vacation days to fund the entire week.

My poor darlings are left to the evil intentions of their Dad who is home for the entire break. (!!) Before everyone thinks that the guy I am married to is loafing around “sleeping in” every morning, our 18-year-old offspring (who resides still here), apparently requires a drive to work every morning, before the crack of dawn. (I could give the child a lift…sparing the slumbering spouse except I am already at work at before this ungodly hour).

... back into bed for a much deserved “sleep-in”

… back into bed for a much deserved “sleep-in”

Day one of March break… husband thought he could sneak out, take the young adult to his place of employment while all those “March Break kids” were happily “sleeping in” planning to tip toe back into bed for a much deserved “sleep-in” (well say at least until 8:30 am).

Dad arrives home, strategically he tip toes silently up the stairs, all the while imagining what glorious a moment it will be when his head is reunited with his pillow. He made it to the bed… completely undetected by the natives. As he slips into the sack, he realizes the 4-year-old (who was sleeping in our bed when he left)…is now missing. (!!)  Once you have kids, everyone knows that silence is never a good thing.Things are TOO quiet.

Then the husband hears the 2-year-old talking in her crib and some type of muffled whispering. Thinking that he might still be able to steal a few winks (while the toddlers are playing) he draws the covers up around his ears and nestles in for what he hopes is perhaps an extra 40 minutes of beauty sleep (this guy can use all the help he can get).

Then he hears the chomping sound.

It appears that there is also sounds of licking and smacking of lips and little voices exclaiming “yummy.” Okay… husband is out of bed and into the babies’ room. There, awaiting the sleep-deprived “man-of-my dreams”, were the two children in question. The 2-year-old in her crib and the 4-year old by her side.

At first glance, the sight was overwhelming.

At first glance, the sight was overwhelming.

At first glance, the sight was overwhelming. There was brown, creamy spots everywhere. Both children were covered in the substance. (I am sure the husband contemplated calling emergency services praying that some agency would take the children through a car wash and the other responding agency might be plumbing specialists). It was not until the 4-year-old said “Do you want to try some Daddy?” did “Mr. Mom” realize that the brown creamy spots were, in fact, CHOCOLATE CHIPS!

After interrogating the 4-year old as to how this candy arrived in the baby’s crib and who opened it, a quick shrug of her shoulders allayed all fears… “Daddy, the bags opened all by themselves and the chips jumped into the crib.” That kid is no longer allowed to watch Disney…EVER!

“Daddy, the bags opened all by themselves and the chips jumped into the crib.”

“Daddy, the bags opened all by themselves and the chips jumped into the crib.”

“Daddy” was busy. Far from sleeping in, the other half in my marriage spent the entire morning bathing cherubs, scrubbing chocolate slime out of toddler hair, and removing the confection from everything imaginable. After the spent hours washing sheets, blankets, and toys while laundering a sundry of other items (including a rather large assortment of half-dressed baby dolls), it is doubtful that I will ever be allowed to purchase chocolate chips again.

Just for the record, there WERE TWO FULL bags of chocolate chips.

I like to keep two bags of Chocolate chips on hand for making fudge. Good thing this sanction is occurring in Lent!

The Garden Goat (Chocolate Obsessed)

P.S. For those who love fudge check out below for my recipe.

Garden Goat Favourite Fudge Recipe

2 pkgs milk chocolate chips

Garden Goat Favourite Fudge Recipe

Garden Goat Favourite Fudge Recipe

I can sweetened condensed milk
1.5 tablespoons vanilla extract
Line pan with waxed paper. Heat in saucepan over medium-high setting the condensed milk, gradually add all chocolate chips, stirring constantly to keep from burning. Once all the chips are melted and the mixture is very smooth, remove from heat and add vanilla, stirring until well blended. Pour out onto wax paper and refrigerate for 4 hours. Enjoy!

Heads Up!

So I entered the New Year 2013 just like everyone else on the planet (pretty much) vowing to make significant changes to my everyday life that would turn my life around in “good” ways. One of those vows was to get a little more consistent in writing this blog and be sure to deliver a new post once a week. Seemed reasonable and achievable as it was not as though I was promising to go on an extreme diet and eat my way through mountains of carrots while neglecting my true love in life.. Chocolate. No, writing for me comes naturally and this would just mean being a little more organized and focused.

New years resolution sticky notes

“He said NO ONE really ever keeps those New Year’s resolutions.”

Being someone who often thinks I truly have “superpowers” I also often bite of more than I can ever hope to chew. Understanding my irrational exuberance (as evidenced when planning the lives of those around me) is something my husband seems to understand quite well. He said NO ONE really ever keeps those New Year’s resolutions. According to him it is more about recognizing that you have to make some changes, feeling great there is an actual day out there when your fellow humans (in droves) are doing the same and “fitting in.” Reality is, in less than 60 days there will be no trace of the enormous changes I wanted to make … so accept the reality and don’t waste the effort on something that will only fall by the wayside in mere weeks. Yep…like the great wife I am my inner voice screamed “I’ll show him.”

Not being one to  want to arm the natives where I live with anything more they can use against me there was no way I was writing down any resolutions that I was making. I would just store them in my head and then I would not have more than just personal accountability to wrangle with day-to-day. There is just something terrible about announcing to your entire family you are on a diet and being discovered and called out by the 3-year-old. “I saw mommy eating chocolate…in the bathroom BEFORE breakfast”-uh-huh…much easier to just commit your good intentions to memory.

a-charlie-brown-christmas-ice-skating

“One of my resolutions was to be more consistent in taking the small fry skating at the arena.”

One of my resolutions was to be more consistent in taking the small fry skating at the arena. I personally love skating and now that the littlest is a little older (more importantly I have the scoop on the teenagers in my life and can blackmail them into my service as babysitters.. THANK YOU Facebook!) and can be left home, my resolution was to take my 6, 8 and 11-year-old (and their cousins) public skating once a week.

Week 2.5 into the new year and things are going well…sort of…I still had not posted a new post but in my defence I was not only doing the weekly skating but also doing double duty at the outdoor rink at the end of the street (yes in my perverse mind extra skating made my tardy blog post schedule seem almost righteous!).

Skates

” I personally love skating!”

Well this all came to a crashing head…literally. With less than 10 minutes left of public skating time, two midget skaters (oh I would say Grade three level) not too much higher than my hips (I am almost 6 feet tall) crossed in front of me. The notion to fall on them and protect myself never occurred to me. Although my husband did point that “viable” (no really?) option after the fact. No, I instead whipped around to be sure I did not fall on them and instead lost my balance and smashed my head into the ice. All I saw was white light. Thinking I might be lucky enough to be having an out-of-body-experience I was caught up in what was happening (not too clear but bright light and pain) when I heard many people and kids (shucks NO out-of-body experience… I can still HEAR KIDS) all wondering if I was okay.

Skating Goat

Being someone who often thinks I truly have “superpowers” I also often bite of more than I can ever hope to chew!

Ice packs, more ice packs, paperwork from the arena and a drive home from my husband, I figured I am fine. Did all the “Dr. mom” checks…no dilation of eyes, no pressing need to vomit, no real confusion (beyond the normal I usually have)…if I was one of the kids I would have deemed the child fit. Three days later and I still have a headache…I write that off as everyday life. Who does not get a headache? (Rephrase…who with children does not a reoccurring headache?) After my family doctor sent me for a CT SCAN…the verdict arrived…massive concussion…off work for a week to rest.(!!)

Thinking perhaps I had scrambled the priority of what my resolutions should have been, as I wait for my large cranial bump to heal I am thinking that weekly blog posts are underrated almost as much as helmets.

The Garden Goat (and Helmet)

Garden Goat in Helmet

The Garden Goat (and Helmet)

New Year 2013 …

…the Best Year Ever!

Everyone around the world seems to be making a New Year’s resolution list.

Find and use a magic wand

I would love to. Then I realized that what I wanted to have as resolutions involved resolutions I wanted to see the natives I preside over adopt. That list might look like this (not necessarily in this order):

  • Read more
  • Eat less junk (and NOT in the living room)
  • Listen to parents the FIRST time
  • Locate and USE a laundry basket for dirty laundry (especially socks)
  • Use respectful language (at least when in the earshot of the rest of us)
  • Watch TV only as a last resort (NO it is NOT as essential as breathing)
  • Make a mess of something….clean it up.
  • Spend more time in physical pursuits (even if only housework)
  • And for some that are of age…get a job!

Then after indulging myself in the notion that any of the inmates here might adopt any of these suggestions I come back to reality with a thud. Nah…it likely won’t happen. A few of the kids may make a few resolutions with the result that a few things may temporarily change for the better the week after New Years (or not)…and then forget it for the rest of the year.

The Garden Goat looking forward to the Best Year ever 2013!

Living with the gang I do here are some resolutions I SHOULD make:

  • Drink alcohol more often
  • Get sound proof headphones or turn the music up louder when the natives are squabbling
  • Better understanding that prescription medication is underrated and copious amounts should be further investigated (immediately)
  • Get better at appearing to be napping when my name is being hollered
  • Don’t be too quick to get out of bed…some days would be better if they just did not happen
  • When overwhelmed declare “Bedtime” even if the afternoon school bus has yet to arrive home
  • Work on perfecting “distracted” to better facilitate desired state of “denial”
  • Find and  then use a magic wand (or find a way to  let the kids think I have one that works)

This would be a great list if only I could remember what I was to be doing moment to moment. The only thing I really remember is the washing machine and when it is time to change over the load. I totally forget the rest as life races past in a blur. I kid you not…so far this week I have boiled 3 pots completely dry attempting to boil water for tea. I got distracted…somehow. I think the solution may be to switch to coffee and add Baileys!

In all seriousness I guess the only thing I can do is to change me.

So I BELIEVE that 2013 is going to be my best year ever.

Believe 2013

Everything will work out. I will work on me to live my best life ever. With that I hope to again see special friends I care about, get into better shape …oh and hopefully make a million dollars (for real). I need to try to drink less diet coke (did I write that? I think I meant put MORE rum in it) probably eat more chocolate (yes…go BACK to the gym and face the TREADMILL [link takes you to previous post on that]) drink more (yes I know what you are thinking but NO) water.  I will find the time to pray and read more. Another year yawns ahead of this goat and her journey over life’s mountains and molehills in 2013.

I hope all of you have a wonderful New Years and that 2013 is a memorable year for you and your family packed with an abundance of blessings.

The Garden Goat looking forward to the Best Year ever 2013!

Happy New Year 2013 from the Garden Goat

Things to do today list

Well…was not too sure what was on the menu this week until on internet came across this kid’s “adorable to do list” ( http://jezebel.com/5912582/kids-adorable-to+do-list-will-put-yours-to-shame ) and realized with great horror two things.

List of things to do by a kid

Kids adorable to do list

One –I never make a to do list I always keep it in my head (!!) –

Two– I loved this list and realized I should be making one and include permission for myself to have fun (beyond the washing machine) –

 

 

As the caretaker, keeper, supervisor and parole officer to a generation of young goats (kids) I often forget that some of the very things that would keep me sane are not even on the list. Okay-the rest of you all thinking this will be a confession of a closet-housework drama queen who drinks away her troubles (oh and no wonder can’t remember the to do list)…nah…but it is the moment of awareness that middle age is upon me and that “fun” has managed to elude me…largely at my own hands (with a little from the washing machine). So bear with me while I review this kid’s list…very therapeutic.

This child’s list reads:

Things to do today

  • Go to the store

(well…I seem to have this covered perhaps my list should read “less trips to the store” might help my bank account balance….not to mention the proportions of the inmates here.)

  • Play

(This is a big one…I watch others play with gleeful anticipation that I will have the little ones busy enough to sneak in some quality time with my washing machine…clearly not want this little kid meant!)

  • Sing a song or tune

(I might have to skip this one unless I want to peel the paint at my house…but listen to more music would do my soul good!)

goat eating grass

Eat

 

 

 

  • Eat

(Hmm…nah…the reverse…a break from having to concern myself with what eleven others put in their mouths in a 24-hour period…would be like a holiday…imagine not having to shop, cook, cut up food or clean up afterwards…that would be a dream vacation!)

  • Draw

(sadly have not done nearly enough of this…I seem to draw a lot of baths for the unwashed at my house and draw a heck of a lot of attention when out and about with my brood!) Memo to self….must draw more for sure!

  • Drink

(I think this kid is brilliant although I must admit that I do not think what I might be interested in drinking this kid would be allowed to have!)

  • Get Dizzy

(I do not need this on a list…I am dizzy before I get out of bed every day of my life just contemplating what needs to be done in before lunch)

(I never do this one…If I do…I might fall asleep)

More things upon further reflection I should add to my list would include:

  • More chocolate (Top of the list)
  • More sleep (the little naps waiting for the stop lights to turn to green are just not cutting it)
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream (though I am not sure that I could continue to effectively manage my “other love” …. “the ball and chain”….my washing machine)!
  • Get crazier (I thought I was already there but I am game to try harder!)

The list-less Garden Goat

what my to do list should look like

The list-less Garden Goat …maybe not I should use this list.

The boy who forgot Mother’s Day

Well Mother’s day is a very strange day. The whole world takes this day to celebrate moms everywhere and what mom means. Society has built up everyone’s expectations to think that a Mother’s Day card (as a minimum), breakfast in bed, flowers, jewellery and dinner out are the least a family can do for their mom. The reality while it sounds fun, Hallmark approves and Hollywood says it is real I would much rather prefer appreciation sprinkled throughout the year as recognition for the contribution I make to my family.

Mothers Day flowers

Society has built up everyone’s expectations about Mother’s Day.

At my house the resident’s recognition of Mother’s Day varies by age, interest, mood, perception and available funds (not mention ability to actually remember when the day occurs). You would think the older ones would have this down pat. You might also think those making a disposable income with no dependants (none we are aware of) would be the most likely to come forward with some tangible (hopefully chocolate) token of their appreciation for the concierge services I do provide at my house. Apparently, not so much.

Although I must relate one older one decided on behalf of the younger ones to have a confection concocted out of chocolate (YES!). I was presented several days in advance (the younger ones could not contain themselves…and sadly some of the other tribe member could not be trusted to resist nibbling) with a beautiful, high-heel pump full of butterflies (to remind me of a very dear friend) in full colour all rendered in chocolate! Happy Mother’s Day! This was a custom order from an exclusive chocolatier! It is so beautiful I cannot imagine eating it (far less sharing it with anyone). Upon further investigation I discover that the butterflies were made because one of my kids called all over town to locate butterfly molds and then took a bus to pick them up and deliver them to the chocolate boutique. This Mother’s Day mouth-watering creation was made as a one-of-a-kind…just for me. Delightful!

A beautiful, high-heel pump full of butterflies (to remind me of a very dear friend) in full colour all rendered in chocolate!

So I can say that one older child and some younger ones certainly tried to make my Mother’s Day special. Like the expression goes “There is nothing in life that Chocolate and prayer cannot handle!” This was in addition to the customary goodies many of the grade school kids made including handmade cards, special seedlings and bookmarks.

Another child arrived home from working all day (his part-time job) saying he made the biggest mistake of his life for me. (!!!) After wondering if the police might be at my door (not that uncommon at my house)  or wondering how I might raise bail money… I was delighted to be presented with the “mistake”…a large size soft ice cream! Apparently at the ice cream place where this kid works “the mistakes” are allowed to be saved in the freezer and taken home after the employees’ shift. Scrumptious!

Then there is the man-child creature who totally forgot this year that Mother’s Day was on Sunday. Partially in his defense, he was working almost the whole day. I would easily forgive this except last year the same guy forgot and wished me a happy Mother’s Day last fall (!!).

In order to assist those of us with older and less thoughtful (although predominately male) offspring (and the independently wealthy ones who are too stingy to even spring for a dandelion) I have listed of some very cool “I love you mom” things that do not cost money (the practising of which would bode well for the child’s future with any spouse) and can happen all year round.

Some very cool “I love you mom” things that do not cost money… 

Mother's day award

Love Your Mom

Dear Son:

Given that Mother’s Day has eluded you again this year I thought I would help you to express your appreciation and affection for me in ways you can afford and remember.

  • Look after your own laundry, yes, YOU, clean it up off the floor and forget living from pile to pile. Oh and if you really want to rock my socks pick up your own! Don’t stop there…wash your own clothes and continue doing it for the remainder of your life! (If you master this your future spouse will rejoice!)
  • If you use it…please replace it…yes, that means that when the milk is empty you get out another bag open it and put it back in the fridge so the next person can find the milk ready to pour just like you did. Be sure to keep this one up for the next 365 days! Careful…might become a habit (your future spouse will appreciate).
  • Oh yes and while replacing things…the toilet paper belongs replaced on the roll so that when I hit the bathroom I am not hunting (half –dressed or less) through the rest of the house for the basics.
  • Please develop a more extensive vocabulary (beyond the customary “Yep, Nope, Uh-huh, Sure and Bye”) for people who although not your friends (per say) do call our family and are victim of your secretarial services.
  • Dishes never do themselves. If you are in the kitchen take a moment to contribute to my overall appreciation of you. Unload and/or load the dishwasher. Five minutes out of your day and I would be thrilled. Remember, no man has ever lost his life while doing dishes.
  • Learn to anticipate the task I require you to do. Do it before you are asked. This is the key to ensuring wedded bliss in the future.
  • Showering is not an “option”, a “nice-to-have” or a “maybe” ….it is a mandatory requirement as long as you live within 500 yards of any other creature on the planet. No, cologne and deodorant are not substitutes for soap and water.
  • When using the bathroom please keep the seat down after you use it especially in the middle of the night (this not done could totally “sink” your marriage in the future) and pick up your towel (and whitie-tidies) off the floor.
  • A big one is the garbage. Dump the household garbage and put out before it is overflowing, vermin are materializing and/or by-law is at the door. The car is NOT a garbage can (more on that…read below).
  • If you borrow the car you clean it and remove your stuff out of it (not to mention replace the gas…do not return home with the tank on EMPTY) also this is not a place to store your laundry or anything else you want to leave behind.

You need not worry about remembering or acknowledging me next Mother’s Day as I will be basking in the glow of how thoughtful and appreciative you were all year round.  In return you will have developed some life skills that will allow you to share your future in hopefully happy accord with a spouse. Sometime perhaps teaching children of your own the mysteries of what a Happy Mother’s Day every day all year-long looks like regardless of your financial status!

Love Your Mom

The Happy Garden Goat

Happy goat

You need not worry about remembering or acknowledging me next Mother’s Day as I will be basking in the glow of how thoughtful and appreciative you were all year round.

Eventually it all comes out in the wash

Like so many other people celebrating Easter celebrations this past weekend, our house was no different as our celebrations included an Easter egg hunt. Well before everyone thinks this is a just a “little kid” activity … think again. Yep, the children who now tower over me (a full 6 inches and I stand at 5’11”) who cannot be found unless they want the car, need a ride (a loan or bail money to be posted…same difference) apparently still care about hunting for Easter eggs! Seriously… I had no idea. (??)

child Easter egg stealing

In order to keep the playing field fair we start with the youngest child (2 years old) who is given a “head start” and allowed to take her paper cup and run through the main level of the  house looking for eggs within easy reach (ones the “Easter Bunny” left on and near the floor, on the stairs, etc.,.) Then each subsequent child is allowed to join the fun at 30 second intervals until the place is jumping with kids running and tripping over everyone trying to secure the most eggs.

Easter egg hunt

The “cool” teenager crowd would not be caught dead actually hunting/collecting the eggs (with the exception of the unbashful-and-soon-to-be-15-year-old running barefoot and jumping over furniture in his way)! No these older offspring prefer to lay around in their rooms (hopefully AFTER attending church) after loudly expressing notions that chocolate for Easter is a pagan custom.(!!) To which they further indicate that they will not be taking part in the unhealthy ritual of plying the little children with copious amounts of sugar to celebrate what is in essence a religious holiday. (!!) Okay!

I am good with that…more chocolate and goodies for the rest of us…that is until the next morning. Suddenly all the spoils of the industrious egg-hunters from the day before are missing. Hmmmm? This pillaging of goodies has occurred in spite of the stash being well-hidden under parental supervision (and NO.… “the parents” were NOT the culprits this time…ok…Halloween…that is a different story).

Kid stealing Easter egg

There is not a trace of any evidence leading to any of the suspects. Day Two is all about how the older children feel that somehow Easter passed them by because they did not have any chocolate (although each child regardless of age does have a basket of their own set at their place at the table and each basket had goodies in that basket that were NOT part of the egg hunt)!

In a moment of rare guilt I go to my secret hiding spot to locate my basket (yes…don’t think for one moment that I can wash the amount of laundry I do for this crowd and not at least benefit from some chocolate in my basket) to share some of my loot. Alas, the basket has been picked clean…not a trace of even a wisp of Easter grass. The goodies missing include… Ferrero Rocher chocolate, malt eggs, chocolate eggs, Cadbury….all very modest bribes considering the range of concierge services I provide for this lot. So now the parent’s loot has been plundered, the kids’ stuff is missing with the exception of a bag of partly melted, chewed up chocolate eggs that have been carried everywhere (including the bathtub) by the 2-year-old! Where has all of Easter candy gone?

Questioning the usual teenage suspects only leads to each child trying to incriminate the other.  The better part of $XX.xx in chocolate cannot have disappeared into thin air? No one is saying anything. Days later it is just as the expression goes… “It all comes out in the wash.”

Yep, as I turn the pockets inside out and investigate every square inch of laundry for items dangerous to the longevity of the one item I worship (the washing machine) I discover that along with the chewed up paper (and bits of Kleenex, marbles, batteries, paper clips and gum wrappers)…low and behold the tiniest crumpled bits of the remnants of what used to be foil wrapped chocolate Easter eggs.(!!)

Gotcha! I now know for sure who has the honesty issues at my house. The winner is the wearer of the size 36 jeans! That is until I sort more laundry and sizes 34 and 30 have also been indicted. Well those older three boys feigning being snubbed by the Easter Bunny were in fact quite a bunch of racketeers obviously hoping to extort my secret stash away from me.

More laundry, more secrets…turns out that the size 8 boy’s jeans are completely stuffed with wrappers too. Then the plot thickens…more sorting of laundry….and now “the husband’s” jeans (or maybe it truly is his “genes”) are implicated …seems everybody is in on this.

The entire family has conspired to con me out of my rightful and well-deserved reward of chocolate by going to extraordinary effort to appear bereft of their own loot!

Easter egg dance

Well…the joke is on them this year…I took my stash to the office!

That saying is true….everything does eventually come out in the wash!

A “laundry-obsessed” Garden Goat