Guest Post – Stay-at-home moms, I salute you!

Because she loves us SO much, Julia’s mother-in-law and the Sisterhood’s second mother, Dianne, joins us AGAIN as a guest blogger. WE LOVE YOU TOO! 

As you may know, I am Nana to 7 amazing grandchildren. They range in age from 6 to 2, or almost 2. I gave birth to and raised 4 wonderful children. During that time, I was a working woman.

This kind of working woman…

African American Woman

…not this kind…

Grandma hooker

I recently had the privilege of spending a day in the life of Julia. With Julia comes her accessories, Sophie, Lillian and Isaac. These are numbers 1, 2 and 6 in the line-up of grandbabies, and they are aged 6, 4 and 2 (okay, almost 2).

Unlike Julia, my day started at a leisurely 6:45. We had planned to spend the day together, but hadn’t worked out the finer details. A text from Julia and I was on my way to their house to bring Nana-Jam, have breakfast and coffee, and swap vehicles with Ben. I arrived at 7:30. By this time things are hopping at the Mills’ household. Everyone but Lillian is up having breakfast, Ben is dressed and ready for work while getting toast for Isaac; Julia is trying to manage 13 things at once, including launching that day’s blog post; and Sophie is being the sauciest six-year-old granddaughter anyone could have –  I wouldn’t have her any other way. Lillian emerges from deep sleep before Ben sprints out the house.

I tell Julia “Sit still, have a coffee and just relax.” HA! DOUBLE HA!

We chat about the things we want to accomplish that day: go to St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market to get fresh strawberries to make more Nana-Jam, a visit to the dollar store, make Nana-Jam, a drop-in kindergarten boot camp for Lillian at the library, a quick run to Costco, lunch at some time, nap for Isaac and down-time for both Sophie and Lillian, supper together and bed time before Ben arrives home after footie practice. That is a fully-packed day for adults, never mind dragging along 3 children.

I am so naïve; I think I can handle this day. I forget what it’s like to be kept in line by the terrorists. They have needs and demands. Lunch is not something that can happen whenever, snacking is a necessity and a nap for Isaac is a must. There are the required bathroom breaks; no, Lillian cannot hold it any longer – either stop and pee in the bushes behind the van at market, or you risk having an accident. And that accident, that one is your fault for not recognizing that children have a bladder the size of a walnut.

Undaunted, we start our day. Because not everyone moves at the same pace, we don’t get onto the road until almost 10.  It’s a Thursday – going to market at 10 am should not pose a problem. But, it’s the Thursday after Canada Day, which means it’s a virtual long weekend. Every man and his dog is at market. We had to park in an area I didn’t even know existed!

FlagThere are so many good things about market. Does it get any better than shopping in the sunshine, smelling the produce, sampling local food? Fortunately, the snacks are plentiful. Bananas and mangoes are the snack of choice. Disaster averted.

It was busier when we were there!

It was busier when we were there!

After the market, we should be thinking about the drop-in kindergarten boot camp. Nope, it was off the list before we got to market.

Okay, let’s visit Aunt Toni. Her office is 2 minutes away from the market. Easy. We don’t get lost, we find Aunt Toni. I am grateful that our visit is in the parking lot; my feet are sore, my knees ache and I really need Tylenol. We get to help make Aunt Toni’s day. The visit has elevated everyone’s spirits.

Next stop, let’s visit Grammie at her work and go for lunch!  Before we arrive to pick up Grammie, Isaac has succumbed to sleep.  No worries – some fuel and he will be good to go until we reach my house for a proper nap.

While Isaac is napping, Julia curls up on the couch. The cool of the rec room, the lull of the TV playing in the background, the calm of the afternoon and she is out too! It’s at this point that I realize she has worked for this nap, and she really deserves it. Me, my feet are sore, my ankle hurts and I’m tired, but I can do this! Besides, it’s hard to nap when grandbabies are talking to you and expect an intelligent response.

It is now just after 4 pm. Isaac is scheduled to wake up. We haven’t started supper yet, there has been no afternoon snack, strawberries are not cleaned let alone made into Nana-Jam. There are so many casualties to the list we so industriously made this morning. I suggest to Julia that we get some grapes for snack while I make supper. Nope, there is that Costco run yet. So, snack then Costco. Easy! HA! TRIPLE HA! I AM SO NAÏVE!

Costco without children is a challenge; Costco with 3 children is insane. But, I can do this. In case you missed it, I didn’t mention that we haven’t unloaded any of Julia’s purchases from market yet. We have only been to my house to unload my purchases.  But, let’s go to Costco to buy more! More necessities, more toilet paper in giant packages, more family-sized boxes of cereal, more over-sized bags of chips, more gallons of yogurt, more cases of diapers and all things family-sized.  And, just to add to the mayhem, let’s pick up these things for other members of the family too!

The hunger is starting to overtake the children. Sophie sees sample tables and begs for a taste, Lillian and Isaac are not far behind. By the time we are done at Costco it is close to 6 pm. We have managed to stuff the van with everyone’s purchases in such a manner that we can actually distinguish my groceries. This will be handy since we are off to my place for dinner. I like this idea as I won’t have to unload groceries by myself later that night.

Julia, an expert at squeezing everything she can into a day suggests that we venture to the dollar store. I implore her, we can’t fit another thing into the van. Off to Nana’s house for a quick supper, thank goodness.

If you refuel children, they get their second wind. Dinner is over at 7:15, Sophie and Lillian are looking to sneak downstairs where all the “good” toys are. No can do, bed time is in 15 minutes and we won’t make it home before then. Did I mention that my feet are killing me, my ankle has started to balloon, my knee aches like a son-of-a-gun and there isn’t enough Tylenol to satisfy me? But, I can do this! I have to do this, Ben still has my car.

After dinner is cleared, it’s time to pack up and head for Ben and Julia’s. Julia drives and I am so grateful. I am yawning like crazy. We make it all the way to bed time for the children. I love them so much and I love them even more when they are tucked in.

We unload the van of the day’s purchases. By ‘we’ I mean Julia unloads the van and walks everything to the door of the house, I just need to place things in the kitchen or in an area for pick up by others. I am so tired.

Oh, did I mention that Julia was going to do some freelance writing that evening, after our monotonous day? Just sneak in an hour or two, that’s all. Nothing to it if you haven’t spent every ounce of your energy running after children. I get set up to watch some TV while waiting for Ben, Julia is busy writing. Mercifully, Ben is not late – he arrives shortly before 9 pm.

I’m exhausted. Julia looks relaxed as she easily jokes with Ben. He has a small gift for her. A while ago, Julia ran a half-marathon with three of her best buds. Ben presents her with a commemorative mug – it has a picture of the victorious ladies. Just another day in the life of.

This day has been long and it has shown me that being a stay-at-home mom is not a life filled with bon-bon eating and watching TV. My ordinary day consists of sitting behind a desk to crunch numbers; I’m a whiz with a calculator and a computer. Saturday and Sunday I’m a regular weekend warrior – I cut the grass, clean the floors and do laundry. I don’t try to manage a plethora of duties including child care, household management, first aid, sanitation for the nation, logistics and supplies procurement. I take my hat off to all the stay-at-home-moms. Their job is the hardest anyone will ever do, but it is the most rewarding. It is the job that will determine the direction our nation will take. These domestic engineers mold our future doctors, teachers, politicians, ditch-diggers, farmers and car mechanics. We should never take them for granted.

~ Dianne (a.k.a. Nana)

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!

A day in the life: Andreah edition

I am currently the unemployed sister. Which, let me tell you, sucks. I hate sitting around doing nothing. Thankfully that won’t be the case soon, with a current job prospect on the horizon, but right now, my days are boring.

A typical day in the life of me right now is tedious and long and just plain redundant. Most days run into each other, so I honestly can’t tell you which day is which.

Thankfully though, the day I decided to do “My day in the life: Andreah edition,” was the day I needed to paint, but I am getting ahead of myself.

A typical day starts between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m., depending on if I need the car, or if Joe wants 10 more minutes of ‘snuggles.’

I clearly don’t wear pyjamas to drop him off, because although I don’t have a job, I still may be asked if I could help, so I always wear dark clothes, and try to look awake, Which as you can see isn’t the case this morning.

Super awake face.

Super awake face

Then I feed our house guests, a.k.a. the reason why Julia can’t visit us at the moment.

Niko. And a can that was played with, silly cats!

Niko. And a can that was played with, silly cats!

Marley

Marley

We lock up…
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…and take the stairs, that totally are haunted. I don’t care if you think I’m crazy, I swear there is an angry old man in them.

Super creepy staircase.

Super creepy staircase

We get in Gladys, and drive to the shop to drop off the Joe.

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When I get back I usually start cleaning. Today is the bathroom…

All clean!

All clean!

…the vacuuming, mopping, and sweeping…

My vacuum.

My vacuum.

…and then the painting.

Before the paint!

Before the paint!

And then the after (Don't mind the dishes, they are for later)

And then the after (Don’t mind the dishes, they are for later).

Then I go through more of our stuff, decide what needs to go, what needs to stay, and then organize.
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Then around 6:30-7:00 I head to the shop, and wait for Joe to be done at work.

We come home, make dinner at whatever time we get back, and eat.

Apparently the sisterhood is doing chicken!

Apparently the sisterhood is doing chicken!

Then we watch a movie/season of a TV show/play video games. Relax, and talk about our days.

Nighttime snuggles!

Nighttime snuggles!

I know, though, that one day there will not be all the time in the world, I will miss these moments, alone, in a clean house, but for right now, I wish it was a little less lonely.

So there you have it, a day in the life of Andreah at the moment. Times are going to change and days will be completely different! Here’s hoping!

~ Andreah

A day in the life: Toni edition

This theme was an idea proposed to us by our Julia and at first I thought it would be a cute/light/fluffy/standard kind of post and was pretty excited to have an assignment.

But then it turned into a sub-conscience review of how I’ve been spending my time and where I dedicate myself.

Usually, I am a well balanced citizen – I work 8-10 hours a day in a Monday-Friday, office job. I exercise regularly, squeezing in a run and a workout as often as possible. I cook a healthy, hearty meal for whoever happens to be in the house that evening, or join a few girlfriends for a bite if Michael is working.

However lately it has been a bit of a gross imbalance and I’ve been a bit more of a workaholic then I normally am. There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, so I’m digging in, taking a page from my hero of overtime and putting in the work required.

That being said and without further ado, a day in the life of current Toni:

I usually set my alarm and successfully wake around 6:00am without issue, earlier if I am ambitious enough to squeeze in a morning run. But lately…

I can't believe I actually operated my camera properly... Already 10 min of snooze activated

I can’t believe I actually operated my camera properly… Already 10 min of snooze activated

Yes, I have to set two alarms, one iPod, one phone. I'm the worst.

Yes, I have to set two alarms, one iPod, one phone. I’m the worst.

When I ACTUALLY got into the shower :/

When I ACTUALLY got into the shower :/

In my defence, it is hard to leave this face, which without fail is sprawled out beside me (all person-like) every morning.

My gorgeous girl

My gorgeous girl

I’ve become a master of the braid for simplicity sake, but on this particular morning I was lucky enough to have showered post-run the night before which gave me a bit of time to properly get ready.

After a quick body shower for a wake up, I grab my makeup bag and wait for the first interruption of my day…

She's baaaack

She’s baaaack

Without fail, Adrian wakes up and wanders into our washroom wondering where I’ve gone, peering at me with her big hazel eyes, bucking my hands with her nose when I begin my morning routine and attempt to make myself look a little less tired…

Seriously though. Relentless.

Seriously though. Relentless.

After a few more attempts to lure me back for more morning cuddles with her and the handsome gent I’ve left behind, Adrian goes to find Rocky and allows me to put on my makeup, put a wave in my hair and get dressed.

Miraculously though, when I head back to the washroom for one final look over….

She is the sweetest pest, ever.

She is the sweetest pest, ever.

After a few more attempts to wake my fiancé, and a few more attempts on his behalf to get me to stay, I manage to make it to my truck – Billie – who on this particular morning, due to my lovely triple snooze and lack of K-cups, is on a life saving mission straight to the life juice…

Life juice - no-fancy-smancy- Frapa-waste-of-calorie-nothing, just a blonde blend with milk.

Life juice – no-fancy-smancy- Frapa-waste-of-calorie-nothing, just a blonde blend with milk.

You will notice that the life-juice for me was more important than the life juice for Billie…

Luckily it seems Billie warns me a great deal in advance of when she will actually be out of fuel, so I chance it and safely roll into the parking lot at work just after 8:15.

Although I secretly prefer to be quiet in the morning and ease into the day, I happily and cheerfully greet my co-workers milling though the kitchen, fill up my water bottle and head up to my desk, which in the morning looks like this…

This is about as clean as it gets, which for my OCD does not do well.

This is about as clean as it gets, which for my OCD does not do well.

My meetings began almost immediately – mostly reviewing details of upcoming events and planning for future projects that I will need to know about. After about the third meeting, shortly after 11:30, I excuse myself for an early lunch and manage to fit in a personal appointment.

Kuljeet – the most amazing aesthetician, ever – thankfully squeezed me in after trying to make my schedule work with hers for quite a few days. She is also conveniently located 4 blocks from my office – a win in my books.

Say hi to Kuljeet everyone!  She's the master of all things body care and aesthetics.

Say hi to Kuljeet everyone! She’s the master of all things body care and aesthetics.

After allowing Kuljeet to torture me for 20 min and then paying her for it, I jetted back to the office (yes, Billie jets) and lost myself in an afternoon of packing for a sales dinner, attending 3 more meetings, tending to our brochure and printing needs with my rep James, and answering the insane amount of email and requests coming my way without pause.

By roughly 3:00pm, my desk looks as though a bomb has gone off…

A little anxiety just looking at it like this...

A little anxiety just looking at it like this… And I tidied it for the picture…

After leaving the last meeting of the day I realized that Michael has messaged me multiple times, wondering if I will be home on time, stating that I obviously will not be and then contemplating a night out with friends if I wouldn’t be anytime soon.

I caught him with a call and apologized for another later than desirable night and we made plans for the evening. When we hung up I realized it was only 5:45 so I decided to answer just “one more email” and before I knew it, it was 7:00 and I was LATE.

7:15 when I walked in the door... Please notice the ever present Doberman requesting my attention.

7:15 when I walked in the door… Please notice the ever present Doberman requesting my attention.

Deciding I was too tired to whip up a from scratch meal as I usually would, we debated the quick and easy dinner at home, take out, or an evening out date night style. We settled on quick and easy and I whipped up a round of delicious chicken-bacon, grilled-cheese sandwiches for myself and my stud.

3 things:  1) thank goodness for this panini press - best gift ever.  2) too tired to remember to take pictures of my delicious creation in process 3) Michael was STARVING and demanded his food before I could take a picture of his too

3 things:
1) thank goodness for this panini press – best gift ever.
2) too tired to remember to take pictures of my delicious creation in process
3) Michael was STARVING and demanded his food before I could take a picture of his too

After we devoured our lazy and unhealthy meal, I eased Mike into the idea that I was not done for the evening and still owed my weekly post by promising to watch a movie with him. So we curled up to Wolf of Wall Street and I wrote the night away (read: was constantly distracted by Leo, and all of the boobs, sex, drugs and profanity going on).

Trusty iPad, sweats, a flick and my man

Trusty iPad, sweats, a flick and my man

Now, with the clock rolling over the 24th hour and creeping slowly into today, my day in the life post is complete and I desperately need sleep.

~ Toni

A day in the life: Jacqui edition

My morning starts with feeling Cody get out of bed. Some mornings it’s earlier than others, but on this particular morning it’s at 5:40 am. I hear him rummaging in our room which has not been cleaned in months due to work and life. Then he makes his way over to me and I get two kisses and an I love you before he leaves. Bacon then takes advantage of his warm spot and here is where the battle for me to get up begins.

Wake up....  notice it's dark out ... when did that happen?!

Wake up…notice it’s dark out…when did that happen?!

My alarm is set for 6:05 – I couldn’t tell you why I asked for the 5 extra minutes in the morning, but it doesn’t make a difference. I lie in bed with my two pups, Bacon and Hendrix, until the very last absolute second. They are such good cuddle buddies – it makes getting out of bed a lot harder.

Don't we look motivated

Don’t we look motivated?

More motivation

More motivation

When I get out of bed, it means outside time as the dogs don’t get up with Cody. I make my way downstairs and turn on the coffeemaker, make myself a delicious cup of “wake the hell up” and then me and the dogs head outside.  If I didn’t spend too much time procrastinating in bed and calculating my morning to leave me with JUSTTTTT enough time to get to work (most calculations fail as I am almost always late) , there may be a walk in the morning; however I am  not motivated in the mornings, and neither are they *thank god.*

Morning play time

Morning play time

After the morning stretch is done, it’s back inside to log on to work for a teensy bit and eat some breakfast. For the most part, it’s me looking at emails from the night before as the dogs lie underneath me trying to entice me to go back to bed – I must resist (I will probably fail horribly).

The morning continues with a shower and getting ready for work which normally includes me trying on 1000000 and one outfits and always settling on the first one I originally decided on only to notice I am now 5 minutes late for work. And here is the kicker -I live TWO…count ’em TWO…minutes from work. Literally.

I am standing out side my house - See where the light hits .... that is my work place.

I am standing out side my house. See where the light hits? That is my work place.

I am a Medical Review Officer Assistant at work, which means I get to talk to some pretty interesting people, but it’s the people I work with that make it a fantastic atmosphere. I have made some pretty life-lasting friendships. Ashley, who you all know, I met at work, and I also met Jessica, my pod-wife extraordinaire.

I took this picture without her knowing what was happening - this is my pod wife - ahaha love you Jess!

I took this picture without her knowing what was happening – this is my pod wife – ahaha love you Jess!

There are two areas in the department I am in and we are pretty secluded from the rest of the daily staff.  I specifically deal with people who have tested positive during their drug tests and are required to speak with the Medical Review Officer.

It can get pretty stressful at times, which is why I am so happy I have some pretty fantastic ladies who are there with a chocolate bar, a coffee, a hug and so much friggen support!

That's better!

That’s better! Jessica and Teresa! Two of the fantastic people I work with!

I work in a cubical – I have put in my request for an office with a view, but for now I guess this will do!

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My desk – nothing special, but I spend more time here than at home, or in my bed…that thought haunts me!

Once work is done, I go home to relax. It’s goose season, so it means that Cody won’t be home when I get there and it’s up to me to decide on dinner! I recently bought this amazing recipe book called Looney Spoons, so tonight, since I have the house to myself, I have decided to tackle a new recipe! Baked Fried Chicken! Seriously you should go and buy the book, it has so many fantastic recipes. I have already made three and Cody loved all of them!

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This chicken was fricken goooood.

Dinner is done just in time for the handsome fella to come home, which means dinner and couch time with our family to wind the day down.  Man I picked a good night to let you guys in on!  I know my life is pretty glamorous.

My family <3

My family ❤

And then off to bed we go, to do it all over again. Pretty fantastic huh? I live it and I love it.

~ Jacqui