Saturday, December 18, 2010


4 shows I watch:
  1. So here I was supposed to say:  "I don't watch tv anymore - we cancelled cable (which we did) and I am a much better person for it"
    But instead, I have to say "I cancelled cable, but they didn't turn it off and now - ridiculously and hugely pregnant, after the kids are in bed - it is all I do."  No better person here.  Stinkin' Shaw. 
    So this becomes "Top 4 Shows I Watch"
    1. 30 Rock (arguably the funniest show on tv)
  2. 3.Modern Family
  3. 4. Amazing Race (Paul and I watch this and talk about how we would do it if we were on the show.  Yep - total nerds.  But if we ever went on the Amazing Race, we would seriously kick some A.)

4 things I’m passionate about:
  1. 1. Getting my basement put back together after yet another flood this summer.
    2. Homeschooling.  Not necessarily that I am passionate about it, but I AM passionate about questioning whether or not it is the right decision.
    3. Getting my house DONE!  Cleaned, organized, de-junked.  The sooner I realize it will never be done, the happier I will be.
    4. The names Henrietta and Walter.  Love them, but they are going to be really tough, tough sells.

4 phrases I say a lot:
  1. 1.To self, "It'll be fine, I can do this.  It'll be fine, I can do this.  I'll be fine, I can do this..."
    2.  To self (again - OK, are you noticing a pattern here, because I am...  Cer-RAZY) "Top to Bottom, Left to Right, Focus, focus, FOCUS!"
    3. Out loud to kids, "One....  Two.....  Three...."
    4. "No, dad is not coming home tonight."  Med school sucks.

4 things I have learned (YET STILL DO) from the past:
  1. 1.That if you go to bed with a dirty kitchen your next day is going to be playing catch up.  All day long.  
  2. 2. That if I lie down within 2 hours of eating, I will want to cry from heartburn.
    3. Effort is very rarely not worth it.
    4. Buy 4 bottles of Vidalia Sweet Onion dressing at Costco in the summer, because for some totally unknown reason, they do NOT stock it in the winter.  Tragic.

4 places I’d like to go:
  1. 1. Machu Picchu.  I want to go so bad it hurts.  I watched a show on it on Discovery and it is unbelievably amazing.  Now, it is at the top of the list. 
  2. 2.Disneyworld
  3. 3. New York
  4. 4. Venice.  Apparently, it is sinking (another Discovery show - see first topic) stinkin' climate change) so I should get on that one sooner, rather than later.

4 things I did yesterday:
  1. 1.Went to one of my besties yesterday, Naomi's, and it was like therapy.  
  2. 2. Made some hair flowers for Charlotte with said Bestie.  I love her.
    3. Watched "Love Actually" with Paul and really, really loved it.  But feel like I shouldn't because of a nude scene.  But I really did love it.
    4. Discovered that I love using a washcloth in the shower!  Never tried it before and am fully converted now.

4 things I look forward to:
  1. 1. My basement being done!!!!!  Which means:
    a) Desk/office out of my bedroom
    b) Toys out of the upstairs (no more stepping on random lego when I get out of bed (Hallelujah chorus)) 
    c) DVD's up and out of Ezra's obsessive hands
    d) Watching a movie as a family someplace other than my bed.  A couch would be really, really awesome.

4 things I love about winter:
  1. 1. This is usually from just from the window, but I genuinely love the snow!  Although, Saskatoon is making me a little more bitter about it.  It was easier to love in Calgary where it wouldn't get and stay so cold, and would even periodically melt.  What is not to love about that?!?
    2. That my kids think 6:30 am (when it is still dark) is still the middle of the night.  Much harder to convince them of that in the summer when the sun has been blazing in their room for an hour already.
    3. Hot chocolate, the wide variety of herbal teas, Postum, Apple Cider....
    4. Feeling far less exposed about all the pregnancy weight.  "No, no - I haven't gained an obscene amount, I am just wearing lots of layers..."

4 things on my wish list:
  1. 1. To not move for Paul's residency.  
    2. To not ever, ever have water in my basement again.  Never.  
    3.  A new dresser, headboard and side tables.  C'mon Santa!
4. One full day, guilt free to myself with no budget.  I wouldn't go crazy, but would want to shop, eat lunch and get a pedicure without much thought of how much it was costing.  And to be able to come home to a clean house, with fed, bathed children asleep in their beds.  Seriously, doesn't that sound dreamy????

4 people I tag:
  1. 1. Naomi
    2. Alice (start blogging already, would you???!!!)
    3. Janine
    4. Aimee

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Under or over?

In and amoungst all the blogs that are appropriately talking about Christmas, this post is going to be about the inappropriate and eternal debate of:  bra over...  or under.  (Not know what I am talking about?  Don't worry about it.)

Why is this subject to a blog post you ask?  

I have discovered a few things after purchasing some fantastic new maternity jeans : (motherhood)

a) that I love the complete over the tummy stretchy band these jeans have.  I never knew anything over the tummy when you are pregnant could feel SO good - but these - ahhhhh.  MAJOR Comf.  Seriously, those sceptical should give them a try.  It is like getting a gentle hug, all day.  Holds you in AND up... Shouldn't that be a requisite for all clothing?
b) No. More. Muffin. Top.  Need I say more?
c) Jeans have a far greater chance of staying up with all that extra material, or at least are far less likely to show any...  umm... plumber's...  umm... you know.  On that note, what is with maternity pants???  Seriously, this is the first pair I have ever worn that I wasn't forever yanking on to try to get them to stay where they should.  
d) that when you tuck your g's under this, it helps them stay up even better.  It is like cotton-y glue!  AWESOME!!!

BUT:  When you tuck your top into them, and then put your bra over... guess who loses in this ultimate fabric tug-of-war???  

I'll give you a hint:  rhymes with Moobs.  

The girls become the ultimate losers and are pulled down and squished to look (dare I say) WORSE than post-nursing!  I didn't know it was possible to make them look even less cheerless than wearing no bra at all.  But let me tell you - it IS possible with bra-over-tucked-in-holding-up-your-pants. 

Which brings me back to the original question.  

Bra under (girls stay where they should and despite their comparison to a much larger tummy, are actually looking pretty dang good these days) 

OR bra over (girls look saggy and the bra proceeds to slide up ultimately a making a friendly smiley face on not so friendly turf.  Ouch and Ug all at the same time.)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Adieu, Inner Frump

Do you ever have days where you realize you have been heading full-bore to a destination you had no intention of going to?  Yesterday was one of those days.  And the destination I nearly arrived at was Frumpsville, Homeschool Saskatchewan, Canada.

Holy Crap - when did that happen?  Was it when I "decided" my hair wasn't that frizzy if it was constantly pulled into a pony tail when my hair was still half-wet?  Never mind the super weird bumps that plagued my frizzy mop the second I took my hair out, or that I was cold all the time because I was walking around with wet hair virtually all day long and had to pile on Paul's Mr. Roger's sweaters.

Maybe it was when I sort-of stopped wearing make-up.  It wasn't that I was against it, it just seemed silly when I hadn't yet washed my face from the morning.

It really could have tipped the scales when I wore my too-big-everywhere-but-my-ever-growing-belly-yoga-pants (complete with paint splotches) Out.  In. Public.  Complete with my frizzy pony-tail and wan skin.

Oh the mental picture you are all getting now is a pretty one, isn't it??

But unquestionably, what bought my one-way, non-refundable ticket to Frumpsville was going to girls night last night and realizing the sweater I was wearing was accompanied by another on my teeth.  Yep.  I had forgotten to brush my teeth that morning.  I had showered (which meant frizzy, pony-tail hair) - but got interrupted before I finished my 1 minute regime, and consequently completely forgot about the teeth.


I was one, terrifyingly small step away from being a braless, tie-died shirt wearing ultimate homeschooling frumpster.


This coming from someone who is absolutely and completely in love with the 1950's housewife for  wearing high heels and a dress while vacuuming.  I even HAVE the high heels that I would wear vacuuming, and holy crap - they are HOT!!!  So why, oh why - did I nearly embrace the unruly hippy of the 60's??  My inner time-machine sent me to the Wrong Decade!

I read a really funny bio about someone who claimed "Fancy Nancy books had changed my life".  And that was when I realized that was my way off the train!  Fancy Nancy is about to become my shining beacon for a brand new me!!

So this morning I showered(!),  brushed (and flossed!!) my teeth, did my hair and make-up, (!!!) put on my pearls and super cute cardi (!!!!) and went...  to work cleaning my house.  But I finally felt again that I did care about how I looked.  I may be getting bigger every day, but at least I felt like I looked good!

So Adieu, inner frump (adieu is a fancy way of saying goodbye.)  My time machine has been re-adjusted; from now on it is Bonjour Fancy Nancy!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh, Holy Barf

I, like almost the rest of the entire world, am on Facebook.  And because of this, I often mentally dialogue my life in terms of status updates.  Not that I actually write them 95% of the time - but they cross my mind.

Maja Neilson Russell:  "Just changed the 10th diaper of the day and it's not even noon"

Maja Neilson Russell:  "Wants to know why I wash all the dishes before I put them in the dishwasher..."

Maja Neilson Russell:  "Got all the beds made today and think I am pretty awesome."

Maja Neilson Russell:  "Although as grateful as I am that Paul got in, I periodically think med school is for the birds."

You get the idea.

But there has only been ONE status update that has been on my mind for the last 6 weeks:

Maja Neilson Russell:  "Oh, Holy Barf."

Not that anyone has been doing it a lot around here, it is just all I want to do.  Every. Single. Minute. Of. The. Day.

So yes.  That is exactly what all of you are immediately wondering and WHY I couldn't put that as a Facebook status.

Russell #5 appearing early March 2011.

And while I am excited and scared to death, all I can really think about is Oh, Holy Barf.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Runner Among Us

So - you may have read (from Laura's blog) - that she just finished her 2nd marathon.  It was seriously incredible.

I have never, ever understood or even had the remotest desire to run a marathon.  42 kilometers is a LONG FREAKING WAY!!!!!  There is a point driving back from Saskatoon to Calgary where you can see the skyline faintly in the distance, and even though you are still forever away, you can make out buildings.  At this point, there is a sign that says: "Calgary city centre - 42km".  I think of a marathon every single time I see that sign.  And it makes me want to barf to think my own feet would propel me that far in just a few measly hours!  Sure, if I had a week, maybe...  But in one day?!?!  All at once?!?!?  Without stopping???

Not a chance. 

But then I was watching "The Biggest Loser" (seriously love that show, even if it does make me feel guilty for watching it while I am eating a large bowl of ice cream), and they were training for a marathon.  It dawned on me that marathons are just as much about mental fortitude as it is about strength and endurance.  To mentally commit to the task, plan, prepare and persevere through the HOURS of boredom is probably just as tough as the physical act of moving your body forward.  Well, it might not be for some people, but it definitely would be for me.

I went to watch Laura run and it was awesome!!!!  She worked so hard and pushed and trained and was rewarded with accomplishing an incredible goal.  More than anything, I was so dang proud of her for doing what would be an impossible thing for me.  We saw her 3 times, and at the last I ran a short ways with her (uphill, just after I scarfed down a granola bar and in rain boots.  It was only a short way before I had to veer off to the bushes and PUKE.  Captain Cardio - to the rescue!!  Yep - my marathon experience of 200 feet was AWESOME!!)

Which brings me back to my original point.  I still don't ever want to run a marathon.  Ever.  But I feel like at least now I get what drives people and makes them want to do such an insane thing.  And all the power to them.  Way to go Laura - you are a machine!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thinking about some things...

So for those of you who thought I was a little lu-lu to still nurse my mcFats, here is a DOOZEY for ya -

I am back thinking about homeschooling my kids again.

Yup.  Certifiable.

And I say "again" because I tried it for a month at the same time as Ezra was born... recipe for utter failure.  Lincoln was in school before the month was over.  It was HARD!!  Four kids 6 and under and no one besides their sleep-deprived, blurry-eyed mother could read!!  My expectations of that month were completely unrealistic for anyone - and gave no allowance for a new baby.  So - I threw Lincoln (and Oli into Kindergarden) into the closest school, and gave up on the dream.

The thing about homeschooling though, is that I am completely converted to the idea of it.  I love creating a cirriculum based on what my kids strengths and weaknesses are, and catering to the things that they are interested in.  I love that they can learn to work, play and be invested in being a team.  I love talking to adults who were home schooled as children and hear of their experiences and see how cool, bright and interesting they are.  I love that other grade 2 kids would not determine what is "cool" for our family.  I love that they learn to play and love and help their siblings.  I love that not only would I know what they are learning about, I actually have a say.

That being said, I couldn't do it.  And then they kept going to school and liked it.  I liked it too - the teachers were great and they had friends who were nice.  But I still kept my fingers in the homeschooling scene.  Lincoln continued to go to Ecology Club at the university every Wed. morning.  And I would often talk to my SIL who home schools - wishing that I could have done it for my own kids.

In my head, I hated giving up on it.  I hated feeling like I failed, or that I wasn't tough enough to do it.

But now - events and conversations and promptings have led me there again.  Almost.

It just scares the free-holies out of me because this time, I know what I am getting into, but still don't KNOW what to do about it.

I also love the internet, because I can tell everybody what I am doing, but I don't actually have to see it in your face, or, if you are more blunt, hear that you think I am crazy.

And I don't need to hear it...because I already know ~!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

It is that Time of Year Again

I have a love/hate relationship with spring.  It is such a huge relief to get out of the (let's be honest) demoralizing winter's of Saskatchewan.  They are so long, so cold and so painful that when spring comes - you grab hold of tight, like a treasured prize you are afraid to lose.  I feel like I can start being social again! I no longer want to hide out in my house in hibernation mode!

But with the spring - in Saskatoon anyway, comes a whole different wave of sadness.  We, like many of our friends, are Alberta/BC ex-pats.  We came to Saskatchewan with the lure and hope of being able to get into the college of our husband's dream's (mostly Dental, but a few crazies want Vet Med, Medicine, Education, Pharmacy or Law).  Like our friends we moved away from family and have had babies out here and have raised young families.  It is a unique place where people come, try to get in, stay a few years and then - move on.

And every spring it happens - people move on.  I am so grateful for spring to finally arrive here, but also hate that it is always associated with farewells.  I am so happy for the friends that I have made here over the years, and equally happy for my friends - that they get to move on to the next chapter of life (What?  You can actually be DONE school AND make money?????), but I am sad for me to say goodbye.

This year we say goodbye to the Jubber's, Stone's (maybe not?), Gauthier's, Cooper's, Baker's and Jahn's. We will really miss you guys.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Since Ezra is now, umm...  *about* 19 3/4 months old, many of you must assume that surely I must be talking about the profession.  But no - this post is about why I am still nursing my man-child.  I felt like I had to do this as almost a confessional - but I am just getting over a bout of mastitis and my secret came out.  Yes, I am still nursing.  And I know that I must stop soon.  But for now - this is why:
a)  He is such a cutie and when I ask him if he wants to nurse, he says through a closed mouth this high, soft "um-hum"with a raised intonation at the end.  It melts me!   it is so freaking cute, it gets me.  Every. Single. Time.
b)  He doesn't talk yet!  He has a couple words, but for the most part he is just a happy, easy going baby who lets his brother's and sister do all the talking for him.  (The doctor said he has fluid in his ears and may need tubes... but I don't know any more details yet.)   And if he was to come up to me and say, "Mom, would you please let me have some breast milk" I just might barf.  No words=not gross.  At least not yet.
c)  It doesn't slow me down or impede on my life in any way.  I get a couple extra minutes of snuggle-time/sleep in the morning - and who would object to that?!?
d)  The AMA and CPA (American Medical Assoc., Canadian Ped. Assoc and pretty much any other Assoc. that has anything to do with kids) all recommend that you nurse "to 2 years and beyond".  Ok, really????  It is crazy to think that is what they recommend.  I am feeling weird enough that I am still nursing him and he is still less than 2.  But whatever.
e)  Have you seen me in the last 6 months?  I have lost 40 lbs!!!!!  Not entirely sure how - it may be a combination things, but I am pretty sure nursing has had something to do with it.  Seriously though - I am more than a little nervous to be completely done!  I am loving my skinny jeans and am quite sure I am not wanting to open up my Big Bin again.
f)  He isn't my last baby (at least I don't think he is), but I am recognizing that this time is limited.  So very, very short.  Maybe that is why I have nursed him for about 4 months longer than any of my other kids.  
g)  Those eyes...

It won't be for much longer, but for now I just had to say it.  

My name is Maja Russell and I still nurse.

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Best Frien-Emy

Did you know that problem gamblers can have themselves banned from their choice of casino(s) for an entire year?  That is freaking awesome!  For people who recognize they have a problem, (and likely after a really BAD binge) they can talk to the manager and have themselves put on a no-trespassing list along with their photo ID.  That way, when days pass and the remorse of the previous bender is forgotten and they want to go back, need to even, they are arrested on the spot for trespassing.  Seriously, it is BRILLIANT.  What better way to help someone who has an issue?  Keep them from the source!

Now, if only I could convince Costco to do this for me - I would be very, very happy (or, more to the point, Paul would be very, very happy...)  After trying to find a home for 14 boxes of cereal from our last trip, I think I may have a problem.

And NEED to be put on that list.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Match Maker Lincoln


Lincoln - "Mom, I need you to pull my loose tooth tonight."

Me - "Sure (I love pulling their teeth out and normally it's a fight), but why tonight?"

Lincoln - "So the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy can meet!!!"

Love that kid.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blind as a Bat, Mad as a Hatter!!

I wear glasses.  Not because I think it will make me look cool or smarter, but because I am BLIND without them.  Like "if-I-put-them-down-and-I-don't-remember-where-I-put-them-I-will-never-see-again" kind of way.  It is a monster pain in the A.  And I often wonder what I would have done if I was born several hundred years ago; I would have been in MAJOR trouble.  Seriously, what did people with massive astigmatism and near-sightedness do?  As I learned today, just day to day functioning is seriously limited when you can't see.  I changed Ezra's diaper and had to be about 5 inches away to see what the heck I was doing.  Yeah.  Major Disgust-o.

As I wear glasses and need glasses... my sweet last born loves to mutilate glasses.  It gives him great pleasure and joy to bend them, find that sweet spot of resistance, and then Keep. On.  Pushing.  I always leave my glasses on my bedside table, because, well, see above paragraph.  But every so often he gets to them in the morning before I am awake and lays into them in new and creative ways.  After taking them to get fixed after three different "episodes" I had one side held together by a twist tie.

Anyway, I have wanted to get my eyes lasered for the last 10 years.  But it is expensive, and to do it, they slice into your cornea!!! I am sorry, but that is just so creepy to think about.  I know it is no big deal, that the quality of my life would improve, I would have new found freedom, blah blah blah, but it still scares the crap of me and I can't pull the trigger on it.  I have had the consult twice and have even booked the surgery a few times, but pull out every single time.  

So today Ezra got to my glasses again.  This time he really showed them who was boss.  The count: Ezra 5, glasses 0.  This was the equivalent of a flat-line.  I literally woke up to the sound of the flapping arm of my glasses.  This time, I knew there was nothing that could be done.  They were officially destroyed.  I was so upset because, since I am planning on getting my eyes lasered, I am out of contacts.  This meant, I was going to be virtually blind until I could get in for surgery!!  NOT COOL EZRA!!!!!!!!

I talked to Laura - my fantastic SIL who lives across the street (one of the main reasons why we moved) and she happily came over to my rescue.  She found the missing lens (I of course couldn't see to find it), and Woody dropped the deeply injured frames off at Saskatoon Optical (here is a plug because if they can't fix them, no one can) on his way to school. Miracle of miracles, they were able to repair them and Laura picked them up that afternoon.  I had booked the surgery for Friday, but now that I can see again, I am not too sure...!

I was so insanely grateful to Woody and Laura who saved the day.  I nearly threw the stronger-than-he-should-be-boy-mangled glasses out but Wood took over and knew where to take them.  It was seriously awesome of them, and even more awesome to be able to see again.  Thanks again guys.

Now, what to do about the surgery...???

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Grown Men Don't Cuddle Their Mom's

Today is going to be a very l-o-n-g day.  Paul and I are NOT go-to-bed-early kind of people, but were both so exhausted last night that we were asleep by 9:30(!).  Crazy!  New record.  But as I was about to fall asleep, I felt happy that I would be so well rested for tomorrow because I have a scary amount of stuff that I have to do in the next 3 weeks (we are moving, but got possession of the house last evening and have until the 31st to paint most of the new house, pack, move and unpack.)  So everyday is going to be a Very. Big. Day. 

At about 12:30am, I woke up obsessing about all that I need to do.  I finally got out of bed half an hour later and worked on a master list hoping that I would be able to sleep after I wrote it all out.  After finally feeling tired again at 3:30, I thought I would try again to go back to sleep.  After another 20 minutes of lying there - I heard little footsteps get out of bed, a tentative turn of our squeaky door knob, and an announcement of a bad dream.  Lincoln crawled into bed on my side and I happily snuggled up to him, grateful for the diversion to my brain on hyper-plan mode.  He quickly fell asleep and as I lay there, holding my oldest I was in shock.  He was 7.5 years old!  When did that happen?  How did it happen?

And more importantly, how much longer would he climb into our bed because of a bad dream?

At that moment, I had an epiphany -  Grown men don't cuddle their mothers.  (Maybe sometimes a grown daughter - but I don't think it happens often.  I know, I know, very weird thing to think about - but still.)

Which meant that all this loveliness of fixing my children's problems by simply snuggling up was fleeting.

It made me so sad and joyful all at once.  Sad that I couldn't freeze the moment, sad that I could only hold him then until I had to get up to go to the bathroom, sad that there will all too soon come a time where my children won't need their mom so much.

And so joyful that I got to realize it!!!  Charlotte came in about 20 minutes after Lincoln and I was so glad that instead of being annoyed at my cramped space, I was in bliss!  I was sandwiched by 2 little sweet bodies!  I kept thinking - ok Ez, Oli... where are you guys?!?!  Don't you know about the party in here??

I finally got why you can cry when you are sad and cry when you are happy, because at that moment I could have cried for both.

My mind wandered back to my master list.  I still have to pack, paint, unpack and it is still a gross amount of work.  But my strategy is different.  My previous plan was to divert the kids as much as possible.  (Hello Treehouse!)  But now I want them there - packing, (and them unpacking what I pack), unpacking (breaking/messing up my perfectionism), and even painting (and the utter disaster that will ensue).  But I want them there for everything - because too soon they won't be.

Sorry about the sap level, but it is now 5:40 am and I have yet to go back to sleep, AND this is the closest I get to a journal... so there you go.

But I really think I am going to get "Grown Men Don't Cuddle Their Mom's" in vinyl and put it up somewhere so I don't forget that beautiful moment, because it really was beautiful.

I just am not excited about explaining my weirdness to all who see it.