Friday, February 28, 2014
This is written purely from the point of view of a parent whose dream is to one day buy better groceries and eat out at places where you have the option of "still or sparkling" water and have people fuss over our coats.
So...why do we not eat out or should I say, why do I regret every time I eat out with kids.
"Where do you want to go eat, guys!?"
We usually end up at a chain restaurant or a fast food place. My kids are super gourmet. If given the choice, they probably would choose sushi or some other exotic places. "We are on a budget", I'd say. Chain family style dining if we are feeling a tad fancy. Places where you can still order things like Salisbury steaks and get Thousand Island Salad Dressing with a salad consisting of iceberg lettuce and tomato wedges. Fast food if you are wanting more 'bang for the buck" and to just fill the little tummies quickly.
"For 3 people?" "No, 6. There are 3 more still coming" "Oh..."
Yes, we are that table. The one with lots of kids. No one wants to serve that table.
"We will all have water please".
There is at least one child who will complain why she cannot have root beer. "If you want a drink, order from the kids' menu", I'd say. The kid says, "But I don't want chicken fingers. I want steak and lobster. I want ribs. I want I want". The fuss. The tears. The ultimatum. Just so you know, I'd like a glass of red too, but this place doesn't offer that option.
"You guys should share a plate".
If the kids are wanting something fancy, I always encourage them to share a meal. One wants a steak, the other doesn't. One wants fries, the other wants mashed. We finally agree upon something. The food comes. It's not as much as we thought. Kids eat the food as if I have not fed them in 2 months. I am still trying to sort out my plate. Kids look over at my food. "Can I have a bite?" "I am still hungry". "Sure, have a bite". I go to the bathroom and come back. They left me a bite. Thanks guys. That was real nice.
"No, we are not getting any dessert".
Yes, I am that mean mom.
It is almost impossible to keep our bill under $50 with 6 people even at a fast food place. $50 is a lot of money and the food was memorable....in a bad way. Well....actually, I never got to eat my food. Because remember, the kids ate it while I was in the bathroom. That's what happens when you force them to share a meal.
So, I go home and warm up the leftover chilli from last night. I go to bed regretting ever going out with the kids......until 5 weeks later, we will do it all over again.
I love my kids. I love my life. Funny how things change.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
I've known him for 21 years. Been with him for 20 years and married for 18 years. We have something good. Something really good. We were two best friends ending in a marriage.
We were young. Reckless. Madly in love. No plan. Just two hearts beating as one.
We had no money. No career. No nothing. Just two hearts beating as one.
Now, in the year #18, we wake up some mornings and wonder, "How the hell did we end up here and who are you again?" Some days, I feel so intimately connected to him and other days, he feels like a stranger. We have 4 kids in the house, 5 jobs between the two of us and numerous volunteer things and kids' activities….and life. Do you ever wake up in the morning and wonder what all this is for anyway?
I honestly don't remember the last time I watched a movie with him without one of us falling asleep half way through or heaven forbid, been out on a date.
I remember when I first met him. The way my heart skipped a beat and felt this tingly feeling called 'love'. The fireworks and excitement. Roses, dates and trendy clothes. We were skinny and we had nice shoes.
Here we are, 18 years later, I lay beside him at the end of the day, nearly comatose from the day of responsibilities and busy-ness. In my old tattered T-shirt, soon to be in the rag bin. But I am safe. There is no fireworks. There is no roses on my table. In fact, he came home one day last month and told me, "I just bought you flowers in my head today". A joke only we can laugh about, knowing money is tight. We laughed and I understood where his heart was. Completely devoted to building our life together. We awoke at 3am last Wednesday, and I told him, "I feel like we are just digging ditches right now. Like really really long ditches". That tingly feeling called "love" has turned into something else--digging ditches. But they are beautiful ditches and I am kinda fond of the ditches. I feel safer than ever. He is my safe place. He is my home and he will pick up my shovel when digging gets tough. He might even sing in his happy jovial off-key voice.
I think of the days ahead. We have some pretty incredible little people we are raising. I envision a little cottage by the sea. Just Scott and me. Coffee and newspaper in the morning and wine and uninterupted conversations at the end of the day. Our hearts still beating as one. We are no longer the fireworks though. We are the waves of the sea. Constant and strong. Always there, always will be. No dramatic fanfares necessary. Peace and calming. That is where I hope we are headed.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Some say, moving and divorce are two of the most stressful things in life. I didn't believe it. For a long time. The move has been easy. Things have fallen into places. We have a good little life here. But maybe, just maybe, I have some unfinished business tucked away in the corner of my heart.
When I am alone, the silence is deafening. I hear the clock ticking away oblivious to my annoyance. I feel the emptiness of the house once filled with laughter of friends. I then, allow myself to think and feel the times when my heart felt full. I love thinking about sitting in Ranae's kitchen while she works her culinary magic. I love the way how she made me the tea just the way I like it without asking. I love thinking about Alicia, just stopping by to give me a hug which always turned into 2 more hours of heart-to-heart talk. Her very presence makes my heart feel the warmth. I love the way I felt sitting across from Bonnah, because it is as though our hearts beat as one. I can go on thinking of each person who have left their footprints on my heart ever so lovingly throughout my life. It's the familiarity and the people who became part of your every day. Being understood and being thought of. This makes my heart full. "Give it time", "Keep trying. You were there for 20 years". For Scott and I, who have never lived close to either of our families, friends become family. Not to replace them, but because we all need to feel connected and to care and to be cared about like families do in our every day.
I know I can't focus on what's been lost. That will destroy my very soul. I am grateful for the new day. New mornings. New day for new connections. New day for deeper friendships. I told my kids, "there are good people everywhere we go. Just remember that and keep trying". It's my turn to listen to my own words.
"Grateful for awkward new friendships, because they are hope for the days ahead."--something I wrote on thanksgiving this year. I may have to carve it on my heart every day.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
I have these new friends. They are people who have dreamed and conquered the fear and made dreams come to fulfillment. Big dreams. Not like 'save up and buy new shoes' dreams, but 'let's travel around the world' kinda dreams.
The kind of people I'm drawn to are fearless, counter cultural and they are not afraid to play their own tunes. I'd like to think i'm like that, but in reality, I'm not. I'm a dreamer. I dream lots of impossible dreams. I don't get discouraged or jealous. I can easily let them go. I'd say, 'well, if I quit dreaming, that's when I really should be concerned'. But then, I realized that's my excuse for actually not conquering fear and seeing my dreams come true. In reality, I'm a person filled with fear. I'm not ambitious. I make excuses. I can also say, I let go easily. I don't envy. I go with the flow. But our best traits can be our biggest enemies.
Money. Most dreams come with price tags. We need money to fulfill our dreams. Thought of money paralyzes me. We've never really suffered and always had a comfortable life. But we've never had much excess. Since moving to the island, we've never traveled off the island as a family. Realistically, to get off the island to a destination for a week cost us about $500 just in ferries, gas and kennel boarding for Penny. That thought honestly paralyzes me. So, I sit. I'm content though. I don't envy others who have Air Miles and the wings to fly.
Sometimes, I've mistaken my lack of ambition and "giving up on my dreams" to my state of contentment.
I need the balance.
I need to see myself at the edge of a cliff and actually jump off.
That very thought scares the hell out of me.
But I need to do it.
Because life is short and I don't want to regret. Such a cliché but so true. And if you knew me at all, I hate cliché.
So, here is my list. My hopes. My heart. These may not come to fulfillment for 10 more years or never, but I want to move towards them, little by little.
1. I want to be happy with myself. At peace. I want to be happy and not self-conscious when being photographed. This is a big one for me. I'm extremely uncomfortable in my own skin. I'm that girl in size 6 jeans who sees an ugly reflection in the mirror.
2. I want to travel. With my family. I thought, one summer, we can pack up and drive across this beautiful country. I live on the west end, so the only logical thing to do is to see the other end. I also want to see Italy, Spain and Greece. My idea of traveling though is backpacks, hiking shoes, baguette, cheese and wine on the beach and hostels.
3. I want to get an education. I have talents. I have a heart. I just don't have that piece of paper to get me the right job. Educational assistant course is an 18 months course. Then, I can then finally do what I've invested my life for the last 15 years. And I can quit killing myself with 4 part time jobs.
4. I want to have an active life style. We live in such a beautiful place. I've seen the glimpse of the joy I get from mountain biking, jogging, hiking and kayaking etc. I want to do those things more often.
5. I want to 'do' the West Coast Trail. This one, at least doesn't cost me the $200 on ferries. :).
6. I want to appreciate and treasure my family. I have a good husband and incredible kids. I take them for granted.
7. I want to look back and see a changed person in me. Every day. And see that I've done something to bring these changes and to move closer to dreams coming true.
I think that's plenty for now. Time to get off my ass and actually do something. Here is to a brighter future!
Happy New Year to you all!
Friday, November 16, 2012
I left the prairies for the ocean 4 months ago. Dust is settling, but I have felt lately that I am giving myself a quiet slow burial in order to 'fit in'. I am burying the things that make me who I am. Is it because I am a peace maker and a people pleaser? I do know though, if I want to find kindred spirits, I have to be true to myself and live it out. Why is it so difficult some days? I don't know if this makes sense at all, but here is my introduction. This is me. I needed to remind myself, because somedays, I feel like I am fading away.
My name is Makiko. My friends call me Kiko. I like the ocean, so I am happy that I moved here but I left many many good friends behind in Alberta. I like to cook really great food. I like ethnic food. I like good red wine and microbrew beer. Dark stuff. I get annoyed when men don't offer me beer. My most favorite moment is when I can share carefully prepared food with good friends while sipping a glass of red. Maybe I will play my favorite jazz or Samba in the background. Some friends bring instrunments to my house and I like that.
I like artsy stuff. I have tried my hands at many art mediums. Painting, pottery, mosaic to name a few. I have taught myself to sew. I was surprised I was pretty good at it--Good enough that people wanted to buy what I made.
I like music. I actually have a music degree. I like singing in a choir. I have enjoyed touring with choirs and being challenged musically. I have also been in musicals. I like being on the stage as long as I am not alone.
As an adult, I am proud to have attained a brown belt in Shotokan Karate and learned to jog as far as 10km. But don't drag me to play any team sports. I catch like a girl and I throw like one too.
I love dogs. I love the nature and animals. I would rather be on the hiking trails near my house with my dogs than in a mall any day. I do like to look at pretty things though. If you come to my house, you will see some pretty things. I don't buy random pretty things though. Ask me about anything in my house. Most things have some stories behind them. I hang onto things with sentimental value. I like vintage glass. Bright colors in 60's style.
I value my family, friends and my faith. I like my alone time but am not very good at being alone. I don't like eating alone or going to movies alone. I like photography. Something I'd like to invest more time in. I dream of living in a strawbale house. I like foreign movies.
I would love to travel. I would love to see the world. So far, I haven't had much chance to do that. One day. Italy, Spain and Greece intrigue me. I like history and art. I like hearing people tell stories. I like stories of the land I've never seen. I like old people's stories. Stories you can't read in history books.
I'm a pretty good company. I've been told I am a good listener and have a wicket sense of humor. I will try anything once and I am not stuck inside a box. I am a loyal friend.
You wanna hang out sometime?
Monday, September 17, 2012
It was after school. I picked up the girls and decided they could use a cold drink. So we went to the corner store for 'slushes' and drove down to the Maple Bay beach.
We unleashed the dogs and walked down the beach. Girls are enjoying their rare treats as they told me about the a cappella group that came to perform at the school. Sun is shining. Water is cool. Rowing club is training on the water. All in all, it is a very good day.
My middle child is running ahead with the dogs. "Come on guys! Hurry up!!" She is beaming. She wants to show me the tree she climbed the last time she was here with her dad. I wave. As I get closer, I see her frowning. "Mommy, I got to go....oh wait, I am already going....." By the time I have caught up to her she was drenched, no chance of turning back and a little embarrassed. I tell her to go in the ocean and get her clothes wet. I burst out laughing. She laughs. She is wading in the water laughing.
The oldest turns to me and says nonchalantly , "well, I got to go too...." and drops her pants and goes on the beach. Fortunately, she know how to do this without getting herself wet. I see a lady with a dog in the distance. She pulls her pants up quickly and all is well.
I sat on a drift wood to take in the beauty of my world. Sailboats are bobbing on the sparkling water. It's so beautiful. I breathe in deeply. I love the smell of salty air. That is when the youngest said, "Mommy, I got to go number two". "No, you don't" I dismissed her. She is the youngest. The copy cat. She has to do everything the older sisters are doing. I have taken many trips to the bathroom when it was 'urgent' but with nothing to show for. "I really do have to go, mommy" "Okay, if you do have to go that bad, take off your pants and do it." She is starting to take off her shorts, forgetting that she has a pair of sneakers on. The pants get tangled with shoes and she is falling, rolled up like a ball with her bare bottoms hanging out. I tell her she should take off her shoes first. She gets up laughing and pulls up her pants. She says, "I actually don't have to go". See, I knew it. Copy cat. We start to walk again. Two seconds later, she has to go again. Okay, if you really have to go, you know what to do. This time she takes off her shoes and pants and she is squatting. She DID have to go. Real bad. I think it was the 'slushie' that gave her the runs. Oh dear God. I have no tissue. I used up the last poop bag. I tell her to put her clothes back on and we will give her a bath at home. She is obeying me beautifully.
I am looking for some drift wood to scoop up the 'number two'. That is when Penny, our 6 months old weimaraner puppy jumps off the tree and lands right in my child's poop and starts eating it. I chase the dog into the ocean and grab the nearest tree bark and successfully scoop up everything and toss it into the ocean. I even had enough time to gain my composure back to say a friendly hello to that lady with a dog in passing.
"Good thing I love you guys so much". We laughed until it hurt. It WAS a good day after all.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
On the home front, it has been a constant reminder of the love and community we are gifted with. I have cut back to working half time, which still means getting everyone ready and out the door before 8 am. This can be a big challenge for a night owl like me. My two girls are in school, while Tori gets to hang out with my dear friend, Ranae who loves her as her own. I have a dear lady who drops off homemade loaves for me every now and then with a sweet note. Another reminder that I am not forgotten. Two friends knocked on my door yesterday morning to tell me they are raking and cleaning my front yard. A bucketload of beautifully cooked mussels were dropped off just for me. "I am at Costco, do you need anything?" Play dates and dinner invitations. I am loved. I am part of this beautiful community.
I am starting to pack our stuff and get organized. I am planning two road trips. One is to Princeton, BC to join Scott for Young Life National Conference and another to see my best friend, Bonnah in Flin Flon, Manitoba. I spent the last evening in Drumheller with the cast of 'Joseph'. We shared a meal and hiked up the hill which takes you to the top of a small ski hill. Standing on the top of the world with good friends looking over the vast valley of the beautiful Badland while the full moon came up. I have always loved the badland. I realized then that it will be a long time before I can return to see this beautiful sight. I am trying to take in all the beauty of Alberta, not taking it for granted. Last night was the perfect way to remember the badland. It was an incredible night. I was once again reminded of all the beautiful gifts. My life is simple, but I love it. I would not trade it for all the riches of this world.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Poor men. Sorry we put you up to this all the time. ;)
Makiko: (emerges from the bedroom dressed in jeans. After months of exercising, she thinks the jeans are fitting better)
"How Do I look?"
Scott: (Oblivious to her inner thoughts, fixing lunch for the kids in the kitchen. After a quick glance.)
"You look fine"
Makiko: (gives him the *stink eye)
"I mean, HOW DO I LOOK?" (now, the capital letters mean louder voice)
Scott: (stops his hands and takes another look)
"I mean, your hair needs to be combed, but you look fine"
After a little silence......
Makiko: "DO I LOOK SKINNY?"
Scott: (disappears for 2 seconds, runs back into the kitchen, with hands up in the air, gives Makiko a man hug, wide eyed)
"HOLY SMOKES! LOOK AT YOU!? YOU LOOK INCREDIBLE! LOOK AT YOUR SKINNY LITTLE WAIST!!!!!!!!!"
Scott & Makiko: Burst out laughing......
It's September and officially my garden zucchini production has become an annoyance than a joy. After staring at a huge mountain of yellow zucchinis and pattypan squash for a week, I finally decided to make zucchini loaves to put in my freezer.......at 10:30 at night.
Now, I do not own a food processor. My little food grinder broke last winter. So I am left with a cheese grinder. I start shredding my zucchinis by hand--the old fashion way.
Scott walks into the kitchen. "Do you want me to help you with something?"
"Oh sure". "Would you mind just starting the batter while I shred these? I can take over and finish later"
So he cheerfully starts on the loaf batter. This recipe makes two loaves. I have one loaf pan. Each loaf takes 1hr to bake. You do the math. While the first cake is in the oven, we decided to pick a movie on Netflix to pass the time. Scott picks a movie. He assures me it's a light comedy. I don't like it and I told him so. Without a word of complaint, he starts up another movie which is more girl-friendly.
I remember the first 10 minutes of the movie and I was gone. Fast asleep. I don't remember anything after that.
Next morning, I woke up. Scott had gone to work already as usual (he's usually gone before 7). I walk into the kitchen. I saw two beautiful zucchini loaves politely sitting on my kitchen counter.
This makes me either the biggest jerk or the luckiest woman on the entire planet....or maybe both.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
I always wanted 3 kids. And there she was. She is nothing like her older sisters. She is spirited. She is unpredictable. To be honest, she has been the one that has most frequently challenged my patience and made me question my ability as a mother.
But perhaps because of her, I will be more patient. I will be more accepting of the unexpected. She will make me a better mother.
The world is a beautiful place through the eyes of a toddler.
This past year, two of our good friends became very ill. Tori was the one to pray for them. Everyday. Every chance she's got. She said some profound things in her prayers. We saw miracles and they are now healed and well.
It is a beautiful thing to watch your childen make this world a better place by just being who they are. I hope my eyes are open to see it, instead of focusing on the troubles and inconveniences.