Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Defining ourselves

We have established that our parents choose our first names.  That, quite frequently, our names give a fairly good description of what we are like.  (not always true, but it is true for my children)  It only makes sense that our last names also define us in someway.  Last names are not chosen though, they are passed on, and what we are left with is definitions based on the past and on our family.

Where I grew up there was a construction company called "Stewart Construction" (clever, I know)  but everyone assumed that the people who owned that were related to me because my last name was also 'Stewart'.  I was not related to them.  I was not closely related to anyone within 100km of where I grew up.

We get older, we get married and then we have our husband's last name.  Every other person within 100km of where Eric grew up knows his mom.  She knows EVERYONE!  That being said, when I say I am Kathryn Seaborn, anyone from the Orillia area will immediately ask if I am related to Marie, and my answer is 'Yes.... she is my mother in-law".

Now names aren't such a bad thing to be defined by.  I think most of us can agree that we have grown attached to our name and the name of our families.

As we grow up we are defined by our siblings.... I can't tell you how many times I have been referred to as "Ben's little sister" or "Nathan's little sister" and occasionally "Matt's big sister".

We have children and we become defined by them.  I am "Seth's Mom" and for some reason I cannot understand, his accomplishments are my accomplishments.  If someone were to ask me about myself the first thing I would say is that I have 3 children.  I would then go on to describe them instead of myself.  Somewhere along the way I am loosing 'Kathryn' and just becoming 'Mom'.

Then we can be defined by the neighbourhood we live in.  I am sure we all remember the unsavoury areas around our hometown.  For me, if you grew up  in Port McNicoll you automatically had some bad connotations.  If you said you grew up in Victoria Harbour you had an entirely different reputation. (Maybe not entirely different... but different)

We are defined by the houses we live in and the cars we drive.  We are defined by the brand of our shoes and the cleanliness of our clothes.



 Would I be looked at or thought of differently for getting out of the second car rather than the first?

What I want to know is, How do we stop this?  How can I be defined for who I really am instead of who's mother I am?  How can I begin to define myself when asked about my own interests?

If you've got this figured out, let me know!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What's in a name??

I have to admit, I just came up from the basement where there is 4, yes, 4 loads (baskets) of *clean* laundry waiting to be folded, but I just ignored them and continued walking up the stairs because I would much rather be writing something on here.  Also, I hate folding laundry, I hate putting away laundry and I would have to do both of those things before bed and I just finished doing something else that I despise... cutting my husbands hair.  BUT - what I hate exponentially MORE than cutting his hair is paying something to do something that I can do for free.  That is how I find myself finally able to justify sitting at the computer and writing instead of getting caught up on housework.  I already did something I dislike tonight and I don't plan on ruining my Saturday night by folding laundry!

There... rant over!

I have long been thinking about how we define ourselves compared to how others define us.

When we are small we begin by being defined by our names.  If we are lucky, we have parents who chose good, strong and somewhat 'normal' names for us.  If we are unlucky, we have a name like "Cricket"or "Baby".

As a parent I has such a hard time choosing names for my children.  When I was pregnant with Seth I never gave much thought to the meaning behind a name, rather how difficult it was to pronounce and spell. (I was but a child myself.. I was keeping things simple)

I am OH-SO glad I chose 'Seth'.  The name 'Seth' means appointed or chosen.  Now that I think about meanings this really blows me away.  Seth was NOT planned.  I was 15 when I found out I was pregnant but cherished his life the moment I found out he was living inside me.  I see now that my Seth was chosen.  He was chosen by God just for me (as all of our children are) and I really feel that Seth saved me.  He saved me from things that I could not know were coming.  A future I never knew, but God gave him to me to save me.

Still, when I was pregnant with Miriam I didn't think that the meaning of a name could define us in any way.  'Miriam' means bitter or rebellious. Before Miriam turned 1, I realized how rebellious she is.  It is ingrained in her personality.  She lives life on the edge (as edgy as a 3 year-old can be).  She is strong-willed and hot-tempered.  I love Miriam with all my heart, but if I had given any thought to the idea of names defining us I would have named her 'Dove' or something peaceful like that. (No, I never actually would have named her DOVE, but I can pretend)
Miriam is the one screaming, not the one hiding from the screamer...

I am not saying that I could have named her something different and she would be a different person but I think that in some way I was lead to these names for a reason.

Now my Lucy.  While I was pregnant, Eric and I took note of the meanings of names.  Eric tried sooo hard to get me to name her "Feliks" if she was a boy which means happy.
I had a hard time with Feliks... one because of the spelling and two because of the cat... We finally agreed on a boy name the night before I went into the hospital.  We chose 'Elias' which means the Lord is my God.  But we never had to use it.  We had a bouncing baby girl, we named her 'Lucy' which means light and she has definitely brought a lot of light to the lives of everyone who loves her. She is smiley, bright and cheerful.

On to me... 'Kathryn' means pure.  When I think of this I like to think of myself as being honest and open and I'd like to think that in a way that is pure.  I am purely Kathryn... but perhaps I too am rebellious and bitter like little Miriam and my middle name is 'Mary' which has the same meaning as 'Miriam'.

Who knows... maybe we can be defined by our names, maybe not.... either way, I still feel lucky that my parents didn't name me 'Scorpion'.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Happy kids = Happy Mommy": Favourite Quotes

I've been thinking of some of my favourite quotes about parenting.

Today I kept thinking "Happy baby, Happy Mom"  Today is the first day in about a week that Lucy has not been incredibly cranky.  That being said, today was the day I got her into the Doctor to find out she has an ear infection. She is also teething. She is 8 months old and has been on 3 antibiotics, eye drops and Zantac already.  Somehow she still manages to be a happy-go-lucky little gal.

Thinking of this quote made me think of some of my other favourite quotes about parenting.

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart walking around outside your body." 
~Elizabeth Stone

The above quote could not be more true.  When they hurt, I hurt.  When they are sad, I am sad. When they laugh, I laugh.  Their heart is my heart.

An other favourite
"Don't worry that your children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you." ~Robert Fulghum

my little copy cat (when he was little)

"Before I got married I had 6 theories about bringing up children. Now I have 6 children and no theories." ~John Wilmot

I had 7 years between Seth and Miriam.  That gave me 7 years to notice the results of some of my parenting choices.  I changed some of my previous theories.  I held onto some of my theories.  
After actually parenting Miriam I realize that the differences between Seth and Miriam are great.  I could have parented them both the exact same way and had completely different results.  So forget theories.  What works for one may not work for an other.  My morals have not changed but some of the other stuff I just have to make up as I go...

"To be in your child's memories tomorrow, you have to be in their life today." ~Anonymous

We are all just kids at heart!

My final two quotes make me laugh on the days that I want to cry. (I cry for many reasons. Happy, sad, exhaustion etc.)

"It kills you to see them grow-up but I guess it would kill your quicker if they didn't" ~Barbara Kingsolver

Seth heading to Grade 4. (tear...)

"The quickest way for a parent to get a child's attention is to sit down and look comfortable." ~Lane Olinghouse

That would be a great photo to have, but unfortunately (and fortunately) when this happens (and it usually does) I am relaxing and not prepared to take any photos.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Party Time!

Well the party has come and gone!  The last post I wrote was on my anniversary and that was because I was too busy rolling cake balls and dipping them into chocolate to post on Friday and too busy making sandwiches on Saturday and working on Sunday...

Feel free to giggle... but don't laugh too hard because you will hurt my feelings!
They obviously weren't as easy as they looked!  We started out horribly but once the chocolate cooled to the perfect temp we panicked and started moving as quickly as possible to dip the balls, add the top, eyes and handle before it dried.
I bought edible markers in hopes of drawing faces on them but they did NOT write well on the chocolate.  Eric and I ended up with paint brushes and coloured icing around midnight to finish them off.

There was an imposture in the bunch... (and a couple purple ones when we ran out of white chocolate)

I set up a little table with the favours.

and we made the sandwiches, decorated our tables to make them "Miriam worthy".  She had requested an entirely "PINK HOUSE" but that was not possible (obviously)

(That is one of the strangest faces she has EVER made!)

I feel pretty good about spoiling her for her birthday!  We don't buy our kids many toys or gifts throughout the year. We figure they can make something or find one of their old toys to play with when they are getting bored.  So I really love to spoil them at Christmas and Birthdays!  She was so happy with the pink tables, the roast beef sandwiches and the chips!  (This girl hates jam... don't ask me why) So she did not like the PB & J sandwiches but the rest of the kids loved them!!

Yesterday we took her to the disney store with $25 to spend on what she wanted... so she bought herself BIG Jessie and Bullseye stuffed animals.  (We went on the right day because the stuffed animals were BOGO - RIGHT ON!)

So she spent the day playing with her toys and enjoying the snow too!

sitting to watch a movie with her new toys

All 3 kids playing in the snow

Tonight Miriam has requested dinner at DQ (which means I don't have to cook!!!!) 
Then a trip to the pet store to get Miriam her first fuzzy pet.. a hamster named Tinkerbell!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Party Prep: Flowers

So today is my 4 year anniversary!  YAY - but boo to not having a babysitter and being to broke/busy to go out for a date.  Tonight we will do our regular Thursday evening routine of getting the kids in bed and watching Grey's.  (But I made 2 extra cupcakes out of the party cake batter, so we will have cupcakes too!)

Eric has refused to do any 'work' tonight.  No party planning or decorating or cleaning.  PERFECT!  I'm not doing any either!

Today instead of allowing Lucy to scrounge around I trapped her in the playpen.  I have discovered that she is intact a scavenger, like the mighty T-Rex.  She crawls around under the table looking for last nights dinner and it does't seem to matter how many times I vacuum, she ALWAYS finds something to put in her mouth.

So my post today is simple... I made some paper flowers.  The small ones are neat, the big one is very cool but both were time consuming. Actually, I'm not sure if they are actually time consuming or if I just think they are because of how frequently I get interrupted by small people.

Here is the big one...


You can find that tutorial here.
(for anyone planning a wedding this site is amazing!!!

And my little flower bouquet...

You can find the link to that tutorial here.

I hope to make more of both, but time is running out and tonight is off limits for crafting.

Can't wait for the party!!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Party Prep: FOOD!

So today I thought I would get a lot accomplished!  I had big plans for cleaning and cooking, but they didn't really work out since Lucy decided to ditch the old nap routine (which had only been happening for 3 days) and go back to the old-old nap routine which is 2 half hour naps instead of 2 two hour naps...

Miriam, Lucy and I started the morning with a trip to bulk barn.
I got all the things I need to do all the baking needed for the party.
I am feeling ambitious. I will show you what I am trying to do... or what Miriam has requested I do.

That will be an adventure in itself.  Luckily I have requested the assistance of a lovely lady helper on Friday evening. (Thanks Tia)

I actually found everything I needed at either the dollar store or the Bulk Barn, even the edible markers.  I am so excited to give these a try!

I also made a lemon poppy seed cake for the people who will find these little tea pot treats too sweet.  You can find the recipe here...

The party itself is a Luncheon with a tea party theme (I guess, if I had to be specific)

So we are serving 3 types of sandwiches :
Peanut Butter and Jam (because it is a kids party, and they are delicious)
Ham and Cheese
Roast Beef

We are also serving Pickles and Cheese and a Vegetable tray.  I hope that is enough food for a good little luncheon.

As I type this, I keep looking over at Lucy who has been pulling herself up on anything and everything that she can, but still has not figured out how to get down without a big PLUNK.... she is currently stuck under the table...

As you can see, she isn't too upset about it...

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Party Prep: Favours

Not only am I planning a party, but I am working, and taking care of children (i.e.: bathing, playing with and cooking for) AND trying to clean house. I thought I would get to clean on part of the house everyday this week, but so far only the kitchen and 1 bathroom have been touched.  There just is NOT enough time during the day - especially when you MUST sit and watch New Girl.

Today I finished the party favours.  Adults coming to the party - do not be disappointed, but these are not for you. These are for the 10 extra kids that will be gracing Miriam with their presence on Saturday...


Cute wooden box
Modge Podge
sponge stick thingy
fancy cricut letters for personalizing
thin permanent black marker (not in photo)

I used the mode podge as glue, brushed it on, placed the letters and brushed it on again... and again... and again. Yes, I did 3 coats over top of the letters.  Then I let them dry overnight (and I used a different box for this photo, do not be shocked by the name change)

I was NOT happy with the finished result so I outlined the letters with a black permanent marker...

Now I am happy with the result.  Kids loved things that are personalized, especially when they have a name that is uncommon and they cannot buy those personalized toothbrushes and keychains in stores. (like Pearce, Genna, Brock, and Hollie. And I feel their pain - good luck finding KathRYN in a store)

All that was left was to fill them with some candies (and a little bottle of bubbles)....

Add a bouncy ball and I'm done with my favours.  I don't expect them to last forever, and I don't expect the kids to go berserk with excitement, I just expect them to fill their faces with the candy that is in them AFTER they go home....

Monday, February 06, 2012

Party Prep: PomPoms!

Today I will get into a little bit of party decor!

I am using 2 different types of pompoms.  You can buy all materials at the dollar store.  I will show you the cheaper one first...

Tissue Paper Pompom

Tissue paper

My example shows you how to make 2 pompoms. I used 7 sheets of tissue paper. You may use more if you want it to be poofy-er.

Start buy cutting the paper in half....

then fan-fold it, approximately 1 inch at a time...

then round the ends and tie your ribbon to the centre... (your ribbon length will depend on how low you want it to hang from the ceiling)

Here I like to fold it into a pretty flower...

This is the fun part where you start to see it take form.  Grab one piece of tissue paper at a time and pull them apart...  when you rip them (and you will, it is only tissue paper) just pretend like you didn't and keep going.

and eventually you will end up with a finished product that only needs to be fluffed to look awesome!
On a side note, each one of these pompoms costs approximately 20 cents.

Now onto the more expensive pompom

The Cupcake Liner Pompom

This one is also simple, a little more time consuming, but looks soooo very cool....

I have less photos, but it is just repetitive once you get the idea...


Styrofoam ball (I used a 3 inch ball, feel free to use any size you desire)
1 Pencil
Hot glue gun / hot glue sticks
approx. 80 lrg. cupcake liners per 3 inch ball

Simply wrap the cupcake liner around the pencil as shown...

Use hot glue to stick them onto the styrofoam ball one by one....
That's it.

Each cupcake liner pompom took approximately 20 minutes to make and cost approximately $2 dollars.

I will be hanging 6 of the tissue paper pompoms and 4 of the cupcake liner pompoms from the ceiling above the food table by a sign that reads...

"Tea for #3"

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Party Prep: Slide Show

This week on my blog I will be giving you a step by step day by day update on my party preparations.

On Feb 13th, my daughter will turn (gasp) 3 years-old!

My hubby and I wanted to have a little party.  We wanted to have her friends and her cousins come to celebrate.  Miriam has 4 cousins, and a couple close second-cousins. She has some good friends here now, so that's an extra 4 kids, and aunts and uncles, grandparents and BAM -  we will have approximately 30 people here.

Miriam is a girly girly girl! (I put 2 'girly's to emphasize her girlyness) She wants to have a Mrs. Potts tea party party. (that double 'party' was for different reasons)  So I have been spending the past month browsing the internet trying to get ideas for food and decor.  I was surprised at just how difficult it was to find good help on the internet.  So here, on THIS blog, I will help future party planners with everything needed for what I hope will be a fun filled party!

I will start with the slideshow.  I love photos!  I love taking photos and scrapbooking and looking at photos.

My husband and I bought a computer for christmas so now we have this beautiful computer screen for viewing photos.  I am not making a presentation because I cannot possibly decide which photos to put in it.  I am going to use my computer as a digital photo frame to go through her life.  3 years - 515 photos.

I hope that guests will occasionally gaze over and either laugh or recall or swoon over the moment captured on the screen.

I will showcase how Miriam went from this...

to this....

to this...

to this

to this...

I will play some princess music in the background and that will be that...

check back tomorrow when I show you one of the types of pompoms I am making for decor...

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Tall Pines

This is story I wrote years ago, before I was married.  I wrote this while I lived at my parents place with my son, my brother my cousin and my parents.

I have made a couple changes to make it more current.  Enjoy...  

The Tall Pines

As I waded through the knee deep snow, I made my way into the forrest.  Here, I contemplated my life as a daughter, as a sister and most importantly as a mother.  I pushed my way through trees which seemed to cling together like they were holding hands to bridge the gap between them. When I finally broke through I almost felt the need to apologize; they embraced each other so delicately, silently and perfectly.

I continued my adventure through the woods, down the snow-covered path and I heard running water.  It had been minus 10 for weeks, but moving water doesn't freeze so easily.  A small stream, no wider than my finger.  This stream leads me to believe that regardless of OUR size, when WE build-up momentum, when WE are motivated, we will not freeze, and it will be very difficult to stop us.

This notion made me smile to myself as I continued walking farther into the forrest.  I saw small pines breaking beneath the weight of the snow. Their branches bent towards the ground.  I walked a bit further and saw more small pines but the difference this time was that they were surrounded by tall pines.  Here, the small pines did not carry as much weight and although they were covered in snow, they were not bending and breaking.  The tall trees carried the burdensome load, protecting the smaller ones.  This is when I looked up towards heaven, realizing that God was with my in this walk (and all of the walks during my life) and though I could not see the sky through the trees, I knew He was trying to speak to me.  

The 'adult' pines shielded the 'children' pines from the weight of the snow, allowing enough sunlight to help them grow. The small ones will grow up tall, perhaps even taller than the ones that once protected them, and it is then that they will embrace, silently and delicately. That is when they will share the load and continue their growth together.

Sometimes as a mother I try to protect my children from the harshness of the world.  Sometimes I try to allow them to be independent, getting their much needed sunlight  and now that my oldest is wanting more independence (i.e. no longer allowing me to walk to and from school with him) I guess it is time I allow him to stick his head out through the branches.

I don't want him to grow up, I want to be his protector for his whole life, but I know that it is time for him to lead the way in his life, and to take his own path and I think this is where I need to hold his hand, (we are talking metaphorically here) and guide him towards the sunlight.  

For the pines, this means growing tall and reaching for heaven.

For us it means we need teach them in the way to go, show them and lead them, with a soft, silent and delicate hand, and pray they will follow, all the way to heaven.