Monday, December 31, 2007

Anti-New Year's Eve

I’ve always been a little bit of a rebel. Emphasis on “little”, and definitely lacking a cause. When I was in grade nine, that meant smoking cigarettes beside the school (I hope my mom isn’t reading this. Although I guess she knows since the principal made me phone her from school when I got caught. To this day I wonder why we didn’t go BEHIND the school rather than beside it). But now that I’m older, I rebel in more subtle ways like not shopping at Wal-mart and drinking regular Coke instead of diet Coke. And my new one: I’m anti-New Year’s Eve. The more I feel I am expected to go out and do something wild and crazy, the more I resist. Last night we got together with friends for what I hope will become a new tradition of celebrating the night before New Years Eve. It was lots of fun and I didn’t feel pressured to kiss and hug anyone at the stroke of midnight. In fact, I was tucked in bed at midnight, which is earlier than usual. This is all just a pathetic excuse to justify getting old and boring, but I’m trying to make it seem cool. If this catches on and becomes popular, I’m switching back to the real New Years Eve.

So tonight we’re going to have a chocolate fondue, watch a movie, trick the kids into thinking that 10:00 pm is really midnight, and then the real fun starts. I’m going to get back to work on my puzzle and Dale will be thinking of something wittier to say in his next blog comment.

He finally commented on the last post a few minutes ago. The delay was due to the fact he was trying to think of something witty to write, but I told him to hurry up because Darla was pressuring me to post a new entry. He was all stressed about it, and after making his ultra-clever comment, he muttered, “I don’t know if I belong in the blog world.”

Speaking of my mother and new blog readers … now I know how people feel when they get a Facebook friend request from their mother. My mom phoned me today to ask for my blog address because they have computer access in Florida. They won’t get there until later this week, so hopefully by the time they figure out how to access the blog, I’ll have made a few entries and this one will be off the front page. Maybe they won’t figure out what “Older Posts” means. If they do, Mom, I’m just kidding. And thank Dad again for moving the piano.

By the way, Corinna – it was not us you saw at Sobey’s. Dale is the only one that’s left the house today and two out of three children are still in pyjamas. I’m thinking it doesn’t pay for them to get dressed today. I am already dreading next Monday.

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

If only 7-11 would deliver...

Other than summer, the week between Christmas & New Year’s is my favourite time of the year. The phone rang so early the other morning, I thought something bad must have happened. Then I rolled over and saw it was 10:18 a.m. It was just the neighbour wanting to borrow an egg. No one died. We leave the house only when necessary, like today when we ran out of tortilla chips. We’ve been watching movies (last night I watched Little Miss Sunshine including all four alternate endings) and doing puzzles. We all wear sweats and the same shirts every day. I’ve been wearing my glasses for three days straight. When I told Spencer it was time for bed, he said “But I haven’t had lunch yet.” He was right. We were two meals behind. All this to say, don’t drop in unexpectedly. Just kidding, you’re welcome to come see us in our slothy natural habitat.

But the flip side is that I’m getting the itch to organize. We put Neve’s $25 bed together yesterday and we’re very pleased with it. We put on the new quilt we got her for Christmas and she was so excited to sleep in it. We still need a mattress, but we borrowed Spencer’s for now. He was quite concerned about her impetigo germs in his bed, but I promised I’d change the sheets. The bed is a big step towards my goal of getting Neve’s room to not look like an orphan servant girl’s room. I still need some pictures, a lamp, and a window covering that is not a flannel sheet. I also want to clean out every single thing in this house that we don’t need or use. A green plaid glider rocker or crib, anyone? (the crib is not green plaid) We have to make room for the insane amount of gifts the kids got for Christmas. Spencer finished his Aquabase Invasion Lego set yesterday, which he (okay, me too) was so proud of. It’s a big set; the age recommendation is 8-14 (he’s six) and the only thing he occasionally needed help with was to find a certain piece. It took him almost three days to do it, but he kept plugging away. And today Neve stepped on it by accident so that’s another day’s worth of work. We have so gotten our money’s worth out of that. Same to Chloe’s Nintendo DS. She plays with it constantly. Funny how she never once asked for a DS, and now we’ve created our own little monster. I’m not too worried yet; I’m sure the novelty will wear off, and the look on her face when she opened it will carry me through many tumultuous teenage situations in the future. The game we got her is Nintendogs, in which you take care of dogs. She’s scared of pretty much all animals, but these she likes. She named her dog after me, so all day I hear “Sit, Ellen!” and “Lie down, Ellen!” This probably means something significant, but I don’t want to think about it too much.

There’s a new blog reader in town. He’s 40 years old and has a weightlifting trophy. Guess who? Dale’s suddenly all into my blog; checking it, asking me when I’m going to update it, or telling me what I should write about. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Not that I ever write mean-spirited things about him, but now I really have to think before I write. Plus I always tell him I’m “working” when really I’m sitting here writing nonsense. I guess he doesn’t really care about that, but it pains me to admit that I’m not 100% productive every minute of the day. This is just a warning to everyone: stop making nasty comments about Dale, because he’s reading this. His newfound interest probably comes from a catatonic state of boredom (does that even make sense?). We really must put our parkas on and leave the house for a change.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tidings of Comfort & Joy

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Hope you had a peaceful, happy day. It’s quiet on the homefront; we celebrated Christmas with Dale’s family in early December and with mine on Sunday. So today was a home day. Chloe played with her Nintendo DS all day, Spencer worked on his Lego, and Neve spent the day roaming around in her pyjamas and Dora dress up shoes. I was going to post a picture of all the kids’ toys but I’m too embarrassed. I am going to be on a major toy-eliminating rampage in January.

Spoiler warning: if you love Santa, stop reading now and go play with a toy he brought you. Last night, after all the kids were sleeping – or so I thought; you know where this is going - I went into the living room with my arms full of Santa gifts. Suddenly Chloe pops up from her hiding spot beside the couch and says, “Hi, Santa.” I almost had a heart attack. Last year, she was starting to express her doubts, but she hadn’t said a thing this year. I suspected she knew, but just wasn’t sure how to discuss it. I asked her if she was sad, and she said she sort of felt like crying and sort of felt like laughing. She didn’t seem too upset today; I’m probably more traumatized than her, but relieved at the same time. Next Christmas will be a little less complicated.

And in other news this past week, Neve has impetigo, we got a piano, and I had a very nice birthday. How’s that for a summary?

Impetigo – since I already traumatized several of you by making you look at Neve’s rash, I thought I’d be fair and subject the rest of you to a photo. We’ve been using a prescription cream since Thursday and it’s gotten a bit better since I took the picture. It doesn’t seem to bother her and it’s cute hearing her talk about “my impetigo.”

Piano – years ago, my parents said I could have their piano but we just never got around to having it moved. Finally they took matters into their own hands and my 70 year old father put it into the back of his truck with a front end loader and delivered it to us. When he got here, he backed right up to our deck, put down some planks and he and Dale rolled it into the study. I’m quite excited about it, but everyone else is getting tired of hearing me play a tortured version of “The Rose” over and over.

Thanks to everyone for the nice birthday wishes and emails and phone calls. We went to a lovely Christmas party at Rob & Gab’s, then out for dinner with Mike & Darla. We went to a restaurant I’d been wanting to go to for years called Step’n Out. It’s a very cute little place with a very fun atmosphere and the food was delicious. Their culinary skills are much better than their restaurant naming ones. The eccentric owner took a picture of us with my cell phone camera but I have no idea how to access it, so you’ll just have to imagine it in your head. I'll post it if I can figure it out, along with some more Christmas photos.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sunfire 1995-2007 RIP

As I feared, the car repair quote was not $200. It was seven times that, with a disclaimer that it might be even more once they opened the Sunfire up for surgery and could see what they were dealing with. So with a heavy heart, we decided to have it put down. It’s had a good life and has served us well over the years. In the midst of our debate whether to fix it or pursue other automotive options, an opportunity to buy a new (to us) car just popped up in front of us. Used car shopping horrifies both Dale & I, so we took this opportunity as a sign that it was meant to be. It might just be a sign that we’re lazy and cheap, but it’s a sign all the same. So instead of the overwhelming $1300+ worth of repairs, we now have to come up with $4000+. There must be an up-side somewhere in this. We’re actually surprisingly calm about the whole situation – we knew the Sunfire was living on borrowed time and to put it in perspective, we’re all healthy and the Christmas shopping is done. Any possibility of going to Florida this winter just died along with our Sunfire, but that’s okay. We’re going to embrace winter and learn to love it.

Yesterday was the last day of school before Christmas holidays. I think I’m happier than the kids, although they were at the end of their garlands too. Every day this week, Spencer started crying when he walked in the door after school and stayed crying until bedtime. He paused every now and then to ask for candy, but it was pretty much non-stop crying. That boy is exhausted. Chloe has been ornery and grouchy and argumentative and impossible to wake up in the mornings. I’ve been running on fumes all week, but it’s been a fun one. I’ve seen lots of friends and had delightful lunch dates, went to Santa vs the Snowman at IMAX, and the kids had their Christmas concert Thursday night. I was very whiny about it last year, but I have improved my attitude, so it was much better. One bad thing I realized as I was sitting there watching dancing snowflakes is that next year Chloe will be in Grade 5, which means she will be in the Middle Years category, which means … we have to go to TWO concerts! Help. Oh right, positive attitude. help

Oh, and one final bit of happy news: the CD player in the van is BROKEN!!! It can’t play the Kids Christmas CD or the Elmo one or the Veggies Tales one. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Car Trouble and Chicken Carcasses

I just got back from the mall and I vow not to go back til after New Year’s. I would love a new top or something that I haven’t already worn a hundred times, but too bad for me and everyone else who has to see me in the same old clothes. There were no good sales, but I did find black tights for Chloe. The thigh-high fishnet ones at La Senza Girl weren’t quite what I had in mind, but Sears had some normal ones. I bought a Christmas-y brown velvet jumper for Chloe too, against my better judgement. I’m not a big fan of jumpers, plus now I have to come up with a top to go with it, but I think Chloe will love it and I know the years of her wanting velvet party dresses are limited. Well actually I’d still like one, so maybe not. I’m disappointed I didn’t find anything for myself, but Neve was getting burdensome. She didn’t want to sit in the stroller, but she freaked when I put our jackets and her blanky in it. She buckled Ee ee in and when she insisted on pushing the stroller, that’s when I knew my time was up. I cannot handle my kids pushing the stroller – it makes me crazy. Plus I was out of candy. We were walking towards the mall doors and Neve ran ahead and lay down on the disgusting dirty wet rug smack in front of a set of double doors. I screamed and grabbed her, and she didn’t know what the big deal was. “Lock Mama out!” is what she was trying to do. Going to the mall with a two year old is just one big fat lesson in frustration. At least I can see straight today – I walked around for two days feeling dizzy and unable to focus my eyes properly. Then I switched my contacts to opposite eyes and everything’s good now.

The week got off to a bad start yesterday got with Dale’s car breaking down on the way to work. After I drove the kids to school, I went to rescue him. He was on Stradbrook just past Donald and fortunately he had been able to pull over to the side. By the time I got there (an hour later), he was frozen solid from standing in the road trying to guard the parking space in front of his car so the tow truck would have room to hook him up. So I parked there and we waited for CAA. Then we drove home to get Dale’s mom’s house key, then drove across the city so that Dale could borrow her car to get to work. All in all, Neve & I were stuck in the van for two and a half hours straight listening to the kids Christmas CD over and over. I’d be happy if I never heard Dominic the Donkey again. Through trial and error, I discovered that Neve likes the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, so we listened to that CD a few times too. Anyway, by the time we made it home it was 11:00 and my morning plans were wrecked. The friends that were supposed to come over at 9:00 did come by for a quick cup of tea, but we didn’t go to Costco as planned. Which is just as well, since I probably saved $200 by not going. That’s $200 I can spend on clothes for myself. Or on car repairs. I’d be ecstatic if it’s only $200. If only all problems were fixed as easily as my eye problems.

I decided to try and make some decent meals this week that everyone likes (I really must be in the Christmas spirit), so I got Dale to buy me a deli-roasted chicken so I could make chicken noodle soup. I can’t stand touching raw meat that has bones in it, so I thought an already-cooked chicken wouldn’t be so bad. Wrong. I got it out of the fridge and looked at it for a long time.

I got out the cutting board and the soup pot. I told myself that if me and my family were starving to death, I’d be overjoyed with a whole chicken and I’d happily deal with skin and carcasses. But it didn’t work. I could not get myself to touch it. The skin looked so disgusting. And its little legs were crossed. So we had salmon for supper, which didn’t really do it for me either. We currently have meat about once a month (not counting fish, or if we go out to eat or to someone’s house) and that’s becoming too often for me (the meat, not going out). And just to clarify in case anyone wants to have us over for dinner, it’s not the eating meat I have a problem with, it’s preparing it myself. If I haven’t seen it in its pre-death shape, I’m fine. So as long as Cornish game hen isn’t on the menu, there’s no problem. Dale cut up the chicken and simmered it when he got home and now I’ve got soup boiling on the stove. The whole house smells like chicken, which is not that appetizing especially when I’m still full from lunch.

Tonight we’re off to Imax to see Santa vs, the Snowman. Can’t wait to get in the van and listen to that *#$&*#% CD again.

The kids were playing dog. Guess who's always the dog. I'd like to bring that leash to the mall.

PS: You can click on the chicken to see a larger image. Feel free to use it as your desktop background.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The week before Christmas

Wow - 20 comments! That’s definitely a record. I loved reading all teh comments about appliances, food savers, and of course facial hair disagreements (which I discovered when speaking to Robyn in person was not about HER facial hair, but that of her husband. In case anyone needed clarification).

It was another productive week; got some baking done and gifts wrapped and the shopping finished. The contributing factor to my success was that Neve went to my mom & dad’s on Wednesday and didn’t come home until Saturday afternoon. She had a great time being the queen of a different household for a change, and I must say we enjoyed the queen being away. And we were all happy to see each other when she arrived home, so it was a win-win. She’s officially done with Pull-ups as of this weekend; she’s been dry at night for the past couple of weeks, so it’s underwear around the clock now. Next we must work on getting rid of her bottle.

It’s been a busy weekend, as weekends before Christmas usually are. We went to Christmas parties Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Sunday night the kids were in a Christmas program at the new church, which was super cute. My kids were dressed up as toys – Spencer as Superman and Chloe as a princess. I don’t think it was very clear to the audience why they were dressed this way, but they were happy, although Spencer had wanted to be a robot and I told him that was too complicated a costume to make on short notice. Unfortunately another boy came dressed as a robot, so I had to explain to Spencer that his mother must love him more. The program was for kids aged 3 and up, so that meant Neve had to sit with us. She brought her doctor’s kit and gave us needles, which kept her occupied for quite some time.

Anyway, that’s my little update. I’m looking forward to this week; I’ve got coffee and lunch dates with friends almost every day, plus I want to go shopping for clothes and hopefully find some good sales. I’ve been looking unsuccessfully for black tights for Chloe – if anyone sees some, let me know…

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Footwear and Freak-outs

Every day there are fewer boxes on the Advent Calendar – the countdown to Christmas is going too fast. I just can’t say enough good things though about how amazing it feels to be ahead of the curve this year.

• Shopping: 99% done (one fun gift left)
• Wrapping: 85% done
• Baking: 50% done (I like baking, so that’s not really a chore)
• Cards: 99% done

So the usual annual panic is not upon me, but I am a little disappointed that I don’t seem to have more spare time to sit and read my backlog of Style at Home magazines. But I’m sure that will come once the numbers above are all at 100. I haven’t been listening to much Christmas music either; whenever I put in a CD, Neve cries until I put in Veggie Tales. We do have one Christmas CD in the van with songs like “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas” etc. that she not only allows us to play, but insists on. But there are only 10 short songs on it so I have to hear them over and over and over. And we don’t even drive around that much.

So far, we’ve already had a few Christmas celebrations – last Saturday we had a bowling/dinner event in Carman with my dad’s side of the family, and Sunday we celebrated Christmas with Dale’s family since his mom left today to spend Christmas in Florida. I’m so jealous; the weather here has been frightful. All I can say is thank goodness for remote car starters. Neve refuses to wear a hat, mittens, or proper footwear so I have to carry her (and her blanket and pink ee-ee and the new dolly that she got from Dale’s mom for Christmas) when we run to and from the van. I’m surprised Neve hasn’t repeated any of the words that have come out of my mouth. About the footwear, she has these great black boots (not practical or functional; for decorative purposes only) that light up when she walks. They sound tacky, and they sort of are, but we both love them. I’ve been squeezing her foot into them with all my might lately, but she hasn’t complained. Today we were in Chapters and she said, “Toes tight. Off.” She tried taking her boots off in the middle of the store, but luckily they are so tight that they require adult strength to remove. In a rare stroke of luck and being in the right place at the right time, we walked over two stores to the Shoe Company and found the exact same boots in a larger size. The good part was that they were clearance priced (regular price $29, now on sale for $19 with an extra 20% off. I LOVE it when there’s an extra percentage off the sale price. I know it’s all a marketing trick, but it gets me every single time.) but the bad part was the size selection was limited. She really should have gone up two sizes, but we had to settle for one. It’s probably not the wisest $16 I’ve ever spent since she’ll probably outgrow them in a month, but I justified it because I needed the shoebox for wrapping a gift.

Jumping to another topic, Dale had another night terror on Sunday night. In the middle of the night, I was jolted from a deep sleep by Dale bolting upright, leaping out of bed, and in the most terrifying, panicked voice ever, he says, “Oh no!!! I forgot!!” He is frantically looking out the window, then he tries to find his jeans and is heading for the door. He was freaking out and saying, “The baby! I forgot!” I kept saying, “DALE!” over and over and he stared at me for about 10 seconds (which is a long time to be stared at in the middle of the night) and then he finally woke up enough to realize he’d been dreaming and went back to bed. My heartbeat didn’t get back to normal for at least half an hour. It spooks me out; I just don’t know what he’s going to do, especially when he’s staring at me so eerily. The next day, he told me that he dreamed he’d left the baby (he wasn’t sure if it was Neve or a different baby) in the van and he knew it would have frozen to death by now. I suppose his panic was understandable in that situation. They say you’re not supposed to wake a sleepwalker, but really – what was I supposed to do? I would have let him go outside, but I’d probably have to eventually go look for him and I didn’t feel like going out in -30 weather. He hadn’t had a night freak for a while; I guess we were due.

Spencer’s bedtime prayer tonight: Thank you that I have a crush on A_____ and I pray that she will get a crush on me.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Continuing my daily blogging streak

Here are a few photos from last weekend. The first one was one taken on last Friday's outing when the kids were off school, which I never got around to writing about. The abbreviated version: I got an insider tip from a friend, so first we went to buy a bed for Neve at the Habitat for Humanity Re-store (brand new in-the-box Palliser bed - $25!! We still have to get mattresses though), a trip to Toad Hall Toys where we could have spent hours more than we did, a delicious lunch at the Underground Cafe, and a final stop at the Bay to the 4th floor (or 5th?) where they have all the Christmas trees decorated and the toys, etc. It wasn't quite as spectacular as I remembered in years past, but the kids loved it. Spencer said it felt like he was in a dream. And there, sitting in a lonely corner, was Santa ringing a bell, all alone (except for the camera person). I thought it would be a great opportunity to try and get a picture with Neve, but she didn't feel the same way. It seems like whenever she sees Santa, suddenly there is a magnetic force between her and I, and she gets sucked towards me like a watch in an MRI machine (or so I saw on the Simpsons). I'm going to try again after school tomorrow. The lure of the cane candy is strong, although I'm not sure why because she always takes one lick and says, "Me no like." Oh right, the photo. This was taken at the Bay downtown; the only photo I got before my camera battery died.

All I want for Christmas is ... Spencer lost his tooth on Friday.

And finally, a blurry picture of our Christmas tree. We have had a much happier Christmas tree experience than last year. We got a different kind of tree and I like it much better. The best part is that it hasn't fallen over once. With my new purple lights and the blue ones from last year, my purple & blue theme is becoming more obvious. I've still got lots of crazy kid decorations, but I actually don't mind them. I'm liking the Tanenbaum in general this year; I feel like writing a song about it, but someone already did.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I think I won

For those of you who were concerned about me after yesterday's post, I just wanted to let you know today was indeed a brighter day – literally and un-literally. The sun was shining and it was calm and peaceful (nothing moves when it’s this cold). I shoveled the walk and it really didn’t seem that cold; I was surprised the kids had indoor recess today. I went to the mom’s group at church this morning where there is free babysitting and then Neve napped all afternoon. She still managed to get a few tantrums in, but I can handle them better when I’ve had a break from her. That girl has been so two lately. Continuing with the positive, I got a lot done today. I finished getting out most of the Christmas decorations, put the boxes back in the basement, vacuumed the needles (the shedding and the thirstiness seems to have abated a little), wrapped some gifts, got my Christmas cards in envelopes, made muffins and two cheesecakes. Plus my neighbour came over for tea AND I went for a hair cut and colour. This sounds so impressive that I just want to keep going. I also did some Chamber work and some laundry, made some phone calls, and dealt with a stack of papers on the counter. Did I mention shoveling snow? I'm in a happier place now. What a difference 24 hours can make. I must remember that the next time I get stressed. The wine didn’t hurt either.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I just want to sit and look at my tree and listen to Christmas carols and drink warm apple cider

Today was a long exhausting day. The kids are restless, I’m tired of snow and boots and jackets and allowing extra driving time. I have four gifts left to buy and just want to get it over with, but we are busy every evening and Dale thinks I should wait til next payday to spread out the spending, but I just want to clear my mind (if such a thing is possible). My Christmas “cards” are done but need to be stuffed and stamped and mailed. My wrapping table has not seen much action. My house is half decorated and Christmas boxes are everywhere. My tree is dripping needles and needs to be watered every 10 minutes. My paper pile is growing again. I cancelled our daily newspaper today because I am sick of all the paper and I feel compelled to go through every single flyer that comes with it. I am fighting for control. I will win. And tomorrow is a new day and everything will look brighter, especially if it’s stopped snowing.

Today it was the kids’ turn to go to the dentist. This was Neve’s first appointment and I told her last night that we were going to the dentist in the morning. She starts crying, “No dentist!” I told her I would stay with her the whole time and she could even sit on my lap in the chair. She calmed down a bit, but when I said the dentist would look at her teeth, she said, “Me no open mouth.” And those were the very first words out of her mouth when I came into her room this morning. When we got to the dentist’s office, she did that hands-free cling again. But then we sat in the dentist chair and the hygienist moved it up and down and reclined it (a different girl than I had last week), and Neve quite enjoyed it. Then the hygienist asked Neve to open her mouth and she was totally cooperative and opened wide. You just never know how things will turn out with her. The dentist wasn’t quite as aggressive this time; maybe he goes easy on the kids. He did recommend putting sealants on Chloe’s molars, which I believe we will actually do. I have more kind feelings towards the dental office after today; Spencer had the best hygienist guy ever. He talked about finding superheroes in Spencer’s mouth and I overheard them discussing Spiderman and Batman in great detail. It sounded like they were both having fun, and for that the hygienist gets my love and gratitude. Spencer was very motivated to brush more regularly – “Sam says I should always brush in the morning.” (Our mornings are a bit hectic and that sometimes get neglected. Okay, almost always. But not anymore. Sam has spoken.)

And a Spencer quote: “Neve likes guns now.”

Me: “Oh yeah?”

Spencer: “Yeah. She didn’t at first, but I encouraged her and now she does.”

Here I am

I’ve been having a tough time getting to the blog these days. I’ve been busy shopping (almost done!!!), getting our Christmas tree and decorating it, working on our Christmas cards, setting up a wrapping station (it’s changed my life), and just keeping up with the regular household stuff. I promise I will write something soon, but for now here’s a link to some clever little videos. Big Box Mart is a favourite at our house, followed closely by This Land (which may not be completely suitable for children, but it’s all in the name of politics).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Several completely unrelated topics

It seems I have a new Spanish friend; I'll get Neve to translate his/her comments when she wakes up from her nap. Hopefully all that Dora-watching isn't going to waste.

I spent half the morning in one of my least favourite positions: upside-down in the dentist chair. When the hygenist was finished, she zipped me up to the upright position on full speed. I still feel like I'm going to faint. It was a new (to me) hygenist and she was as gentle and tender as a Care Bear while scraping my teeth, so the chair re-positioning was quite a jolt. Then the dentist came in and recommended that:
a) I get two fillings on teeth that looked like they were going to get cavities (?)
b) have my wisdom teeth removed
c) get a night guard, AND
d) get braces.

He examined my jaw and said smugly and knowingly, "So you get a lot of headaches?" Even if I did, I would have lied. I know my teeth are far from perfect, but they don't bother me at all and I'm not fixing what's not broken. I used to have a dentist that was so great. She only did whatever was necessary to keep my teeth and mouth in good health. But then she got arthritis in her wrists and apparently that hinders her ability to do dentistry. I'd much rather have an arthritic dentist than a greedy one. I know it's a business and I don't begrudge them making a decent living, but it seems they see my 100% dental coverage and get dollar signs in their eyes. Sorry, I don't want braces even if they're free.

I took pictures of the signs on the kids' bedroom doors. I can just feel the love.

This is Chloe’s bedroom door:

This is Spencer’s (he's more specific):

On an unrelated topic, I’m concerned about the smell in our laundry room. It usually smells like raw sewage, but now it’s worse. It smells like there’s a dead rotting animal in there. And not just a little mouse; it smells like something more substantial, like a baboon or a Canada goose. The strange part is that after you’ve been in the room for only about 10 seconds, you can’t smell it anymore. It absorbs into you. Then when you leave the room, the rest of the house smells funny. I dream about a fresh white clean laundry room that smells like Tide, but instead I have a grungy dungeon cell that smells like a dead baboon.

New Things:

I can’t compete with Darla’s pom-pom incident, but I did make naan bread from scratch (with yeast and everything) for the first time ever.
I also played Wii for the first time and I’m embarrassed to say I was sore the next day.

Monday, November 26, 2007

You better not pout, you better not cry...

I forgot to write about taking the kids to see Santa at Polo Park on Friday. I was a little concerned about Neve’s attitude towards Santa so I tried to prepare her in advance by showing her our Santa pictures from previous years – all of the kids sitting together with Santa, every year since they’ve been alive. I kept telling her, “Santa not scary, Santa nice! Santa give Nevie candy cane!” (and I wonder why she doesn’t talk that well). She even practiced saying what she wants for Christmas: “Baby. Baba. Soo-soo” (doll with bottle and soother, to add to her 5 other dolls with bottles and soothers). When we got to the mall and she got a glimpse of Satan, I mean Santa, I knew she hadn't taken my pep talk to heart. She clung to me so hard that I didn’t even have to hold her. It’s kind of handy having my arms free while carrying a child. The closer we got, the tighter she clung. Then the screaming started. I tried everything (because I had my heart set on a picture with all 3 kids), but I could not convince her that sitting with Santa was a good idea. She calmed down every once in a while to take a breath, but when I took a step in Santa’s direction, she started wailing again. “Me NO sit Santa! Me no want cane candy!” Chloe and Spencer had a pleasant time though, asking Santa questions about his reindeer and everything. Some say (you know who you are) the Polo Park Santa looks scary, but I don’t care – he is good. I think he may be the real Santa. Spencer brought his Lego catalogue to show Santa what he wanted (with sticky notes marking the items), and Chloe asked for construction paper. And I ended up with a picture of only Chloe & Spencer with Mr. Claus (and Neve still got a “cane candy”). I haven’t quite given up though – the picture quality looked like I took it myself in our storage room with a Kodak Disc camera, so I went back today to see if they could print out a clearer copy. They couldn’t, so I am taking the children back for another try. I’m planning to go to the mall as often as possible before that so Neve will get used to Santa. I really want that picture.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


It was Dale's birthday on Friday and the celebrations were a little more low-key this year. No surprise Las Vegas trip this year, but we did have some friends over for dinner. The birthday cake was a raspberry cheesecake that was more complicated than any dessert I've ever made, but it turned out respectably and Dale was happy. He even made an exception and ate after 7:00 p.m.

I can't believe it's November 25th already. I really wanted to have most of my Christmas shopping done by December 1st, but it will take a special Christmas miracle for that to happen. And I guess I would actually have to leave the house, unlike today. It seems nothing makes me more exhausted and heavy-headed than not leaving the house all day, so I'm putting myself to bed early tonight. Here's hoping for a productive week.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Elf Dance

This is pretty fun:
You may recognize Spencer's face from the first-day-of-school photo.

Speaking of Spencer, my guilt (and Siobhan’s comments) prodded me to take him with me to Superstore on Monday so he could pick out a toy. I'm glad I did because he told me I rocked. Then I bought ice cream, which further elevated my popularity. It’s all good. I'm pretty sure it will still be that easy to please him in 10 years. People complain about their teenagers, but mine will be different. (Like that’s not going to come back to bite me.)

And I must squeeze in a New Thing for the week: Not high on the excitement radar to anyone but me, but I finally found some strings of purple lights for my Christmas tree. I’ve been looking since last year (I took a few months off in the summer) but there were none to be found. I had almost given up when I found some at Michael’s the other day. I also bought new outside Christmas lights. We had some a few years ago so it's not a totally new thing, but these are multi coloured ones, which is definitely new. It's all about colour this year.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Buying Gifts and Dedicating Babies

Yet another weekend has come and gone and the dreaded M day starts in a few hours. It was a good one though – Friday night we went bowling; Saturday I went to Grand Forks for the day; and today we had Neve dedicated at church.

The trip to Grand Forks was fun – great clear roads for driving (thank goodness the snow held off until today), good deals, and lots of Christmas shopping completed. The border guy was unpleasant though and charged us more duty than I felt was fair, but I’m focusing on the great feeling of getting some shopping done. My best deal was a winter jacket for Spencer – regular price was $70, but I paid $12.80 after tax. With the duty and taxes at the border, it cost $79.50. Okay, I’m exaggerating … oh right, think of the positive. Spencer didn’t really need a jacket, but it was $12.80. Books were another great deal – I bought lots for gifts and Arrogant Border Guy on a Power Trip didn’t charge me duty or GST on those. He was sulky about it though, so that cheered me up a bit.

This morning we had Neve dedicated at our new church. It was nice; our whole family went up front and they said a prayer for us. Neve did fine though she was very clear about wanting me to hold her the whole time. I was more concerned about Spencer, especially when he was already acting silly as we walked to the front. I whispered/growled that if he stood still, I’d give him something. It worked; that boy was like a statue. As soon as it was over, he asked when we could go buy his new toy. I told him I meant like a Halloween treat or something. I felt bad later; maybe I’ll give him one of his stocking stuffers tomorrow. My parents and Dale’s mom came over for lunch after, and my parents took Neve home with them for a couple of days. So the rest of the day was quiet - I had a long nap, read to the kids, played Snakes & Ladders with Spencer, started our Christmas cards, and even got out some Christmas decorations. You can add me to the freak list now.

And happy birthday wishes go out to Siobhan today. Hope you had a cozy island day in your slippers with sushi and wine and the smell of wood-burning fires in the air.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Thing #? - I've lost count

Tonight we took the kids to see the Bee Movie. It was Neve’s very first movie in a theatre, which definitely counts as a New Thing. Going to a movie on a school night is also pretty much unheard of in these parts. It all went very smoothly – Neve had two “pee comes” moments during the movie which made for two awkward exits, but besides that she sat perfectly through the whole thing and was thrilled with her popcorn. Spencer had a total meltdown when we got home, but nothing makes a kid fall asleep faster than a good hard cry. He was literally sleeping 90 seconds after his head hit his pillow. I am considering ways to incorporate that into our daily bedtime routine, but that tired, whiny crying makes me almost as insane as the sound of a recorder. Seriously, both of those noises make me have chest pains and I feel like I can’t breathe. Is that normal?

And a bonus NT was going to a new cafĂ© last Thursday for lunch – Pastry Castle in the Exchange. It’s a super cute, relatively new place with food that’s just a little bit different. There was a mom eating lunch with her two young kids – that’s going to be my goal for one of the many Fridays the kids are off school this month. We’ll take the bus downtown and go somewhere fun for lunch. It’s never as picture-perfect as it sounds, especially when the kids complain they don’t want cappicola ham and veggies with tangy pesto sauce in a spinach wrap, but that’s their problem.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

That Christmas Feeling

I didn't get out much this weekend, so I really have nothing worth blogging about. Except of course Darla's annual bake exchange party, which is always a great time. There was food, fun and personal details aplenty. My freezer is now filled with delicious baking so if anyone's in the mood for 12 different kinds of sweets, make your way to my house. Shannon may get the award for first person finished their Christmas shopping, but Darla gets the award for earliest Christmas tree set-up. Oh wait, that might be Jenn. You're all a little freakish, but there are no prizes for that.

That being said, at least one miniature member of my household is getting into the Christmas spirit. Neve got out the Christmas wine glass charms this weekend and the charm with the sleigh inspired her to sing this. (It's Jingle Bells with a bit of Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend thrown in)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

First Snow / Frog Birthday / New Things

First Snow (not counting the weird stuff happening on Halloween day)

I’m never ready for snow, except maybe on Christmas Eve. Every single year, the first snow startles and shocks me. You’d think I’d be used to it, but think of old people – they love nothing more than talking about the weather. After 80 years, they still find the weather exciting and newsworthy. Yet another thing to look forward to about being old. But for now, the snow has melted which means there will be another day in the near future when I will again be freaking about the snow. Me, and the personal care home residents.

We had a nice, quiet weekend for the most part. Yesterday was a bit busier since it was Kristy’s first birthday and we had a party. This is Kristy:

Yes, another stuffed animal party. This time the guest of honour was Chloe’s build-a-bear/frog. Chloe loves planning parties. She has been talking about this party for about two months. Kristy technically came into this world last December 30th, but after much thought and deliberation, Chloe decided to have it now since December is so busy. But I think the real reason is that she just literally could not wait that long. She sent out invitations weeks ago (don’t be hurt if you didn’t get one – the guest list was extremely selective) and made follow up calls to everyone to make sure they were coming. The invitations stated “No gifts – only cards.” She planned games and crafts and activities. I have to say I was impressed by her attention to detail. She had laid out every single thing she needed for the crafts, arranged the areas where the games would take place, made up a very specific schedule of events, and did many dry runs before the guests came. I was delegated to make meatballs (WHAT is with the meatballs?! This time I took my boss’ advice and bought them from M&M Meats.) and chocolate cake. All week, she kept asking me if I had done my appointed jobs. She had a hard time falling asleep the two nights before the party. Since Bailey & Tia (nieces) were coming, I invited Bob & Jan too, and Jim & Sabrina, and then my parents called to invite us over so they ended up coming here as well. So it all turned into a big party. And the meatballs (Neve called them eyeballs) were a big hit.
(notice how Spencer's smile matches his frog's smile)

I’m struggling to come up with a New Thing this week. I bought new eyeshadow today, but that’s kind of a stretch. I cleaned out the craft closet in the playroom upstairs, which was a HUGE job, but not exactly a New Thing. I took the kids to Toad Hall Toys* on Saturday – we hadn’t been there for ages, but again, not really a NT. But my goal this week – and this would definitely be a New Thing if I’m successful - is to keep the paper-pile section of the kitchen counter completely clear all week. I spent a couple of hours dealing with all the paper this weekend in honour of Kristy’s party (funny how a frog can motivate me when so little else can) and since we’re having people over next Saturday night, I am dedicating myself to keeping it clear for seven whole days. It’s pretty much a full time job – paper automatically gravitates there and WHY is it so &@%#ng hard to manage?!? If I succeed, I will be writing a book about it. Just don’t look inside the ottoman.

*If you have never been, or haven’t been for a long time, you must go to Toad Hall. It’s one of my favourite stores of all time. When we walked in, Spencer let out such a genuine, awe-filled “WOW!” that the store employee started laughing. There is so much to look at and explore and the building itself is so cool. There’s free parking right beside the store (on the south side) so it’s very accessible and worth the trip downtown.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

What's a "quinine?"

I meant to post these last night but it’s been a busy week filled with playdates and lunches and work and of course Satan’s birthday. Just kidding, we’re all about smiley pumpkins and cheery spider webs; there are no bloody corpses hanging from our evergreen tree. My children, Chloe in particular, didn’t even want to go to houses that had skeleton decorations. But the lure of candy always swayed her in the end. We went up and down Lindsay – about 2 ½ blocks in total – and the kids got hideous amounts of candy. Despite the snow/sleet that was happening earlier in the day, Halloween evening ended up being quite lovely as far as Halloween weather goes. With the later time change this year, it felt strange trick-or-treating when it was still bright outside. But the kids (and adults) had so much fun. We went with friends, and joined up with some more along the way. I thought Neve would only last a few houses, but she made it to Wellington and part way back before she’d had enough. She was so bundled up that she looked like an obese fairy and she was having a tough time going up and down everyone’s stairs. But she was so delighted with the whole candy situation. Every time she said “trick or treat” it sounded like she was saying “hafta go pee.” After we dropped her off at home, the rest of us made it halfway down the next block before we were all ready to go home and eat candy. And eat candy we did. After the kids went to bed, I went through their bags and filtered out enough candy to fill a Safeway bag to the brim. I told the kids it was for poor children, but I actually just brought it to the staff room at work. And now it’s all over for another year, but it was a super fun night - it’s such a festive atmosphere with lots of people out and the neighbours all friendly, and the kids all hyped up (even before the sugar). As I was removing Spencer’s face paint before bed, he said, “I love Halloween. It’s just too bad it doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus.” You can see the sugar taking effect in the bottom photo.

Chloe has had some serious homework this week. Until now, there’s been spelling and her weekly math/logic problem, but now things are getting intense. She had a French test on Tuesday and had to learn all her numbers up to 60 and how to spell them. After school on Tuesday, she told me it was just the pre-test and the real one was on Thursday. So we had to study them again on Wednesday. She has a map quiz, a Bible presentation (not sure what that is), and her spelling test tomorrow. It was such a busy week with Halloween, etc., that we left the spelling studying to the last minute which was too bad since her words this week include Sequioa and quinine (seriously). In 37 years, I’ve never used either of those words in a sentence; can’t imagine why a nine-year-old would.

And now I am trying to clean the house in preparation for this week’s New Thing. I’ve invited some moms from Spencer’s class over for coffee; two of whom I’ve never really talked to before. I always feel like my house must be spotless for people who’ve never been here before. That’s not going to happen (nor has it ever), especially when I use my time so unwisely. And not just blogging; I find myself organizing the puzzle and game cupboard in the basement. No one is going to look in there. I also used up a precious hour today cleaning Spencer’s closet. Why? Good question. The kitchen floor is sticky, all of the living room surfaces are covered with a half inch layer of dust, and if they bring coats, they will see my front closet crammed with junk when I go to hang them up. I hope it’s a warm day.

PS: Happy Birthday, Bailey!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

One more sleep

Our household has been counting down to Halloween for quite some time. I always try to get our costumes organized early, but someone always changes their mind or we’re missing some props or I realize the costume’s not going to fit over a snowsuit. The kids don’t seem to care what they dress up as, except Spencer was adamant about not wearing the cat costume. I bought him a ninja costume, but he wasn’t as excited as I thought he’d be and it looked so cheap and stupid that I returned it. For the kids, it’s really not about the costume anyway. It’s just a necessary hurdle to get to the candy. So everyone is happy to wear costumes we already had: the girls will be fairies and Spencer will be Superman. Neve has never really gone trick or treating before; last year she was too grumpy to go out, and she probably doesn’t remember the few houses we took her to when she was a baby. I can’t believe this is only the third Halloween that we’ve had her. But this year, she’s starting to catch on. The last two mornings, her first words were: “Me fairy. Me candy!” She’s worn her costume both days; yesterday to a friend’s house and today to the playgroup at the community centre. She got a bag of candy from Jen yesterday and has been carrying it around ever since. I think she thinks that’s it – that’s the candy we’ve all been talking about. And she’s thrilled. Here she is putting face paint on at playgroup today.

And here’s another van conversation from yesterday.

Spencer: I’m hungry as heck.

Spencer: (Fifteen seconds later, after not getting a response) I’m hungry as heck.

Spencer: (Disappointed about the lack of response) Isn’t heck a bad word?

Me: No, not really. It’s just one of those words that are more appropriate coming from an adult than a kid.

Spencer: (satisfied) I’m hungry as heck.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Spencer: never at a loss for words

Here are two conversations took place yesterday; thought I'd write them down while I still remember them. For some reason, it seems easier to record funny conversations on the blog than in a notebook or baby book.

Since the re-implementation of the pee smarties, Neve has suddenly been going to the bathroom a lot. She runs to the bathroom and a minute later we hear the toilet flush, but we have no proof that she actually went. Spencer expressed his doubts first, and I agreed. When Dale came home from work, this is the conversation that took place:

Neve: “Pee comes!” (runs to the bathroom)

Dale: “Good girl, Neve!”

Spencer: “Dad! Me & Mommy are not exactly on the believing side!”

Another conversation:

Neve: “Me hot.”

Spencer: “Yeah, Neve. That’s because there’s insulation.” (in the house)

Funny how these conversations seem cuter to me when I haven't seen my children all day, except for 15 minutes before I left for work this morning. Neve went to my parents' last night and will return tomorrow night, so I have the entire day to myself tomorrow. That makes me purr.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Things

I finally got a minute to play around with the template - I still need to do some more adjusting, including getting Spencer in the picture. We do love Pooh though.

Besides the look of the blog, here are some new things:

• Three blog posts in four days
• Spending $470 at Target in 90 minutes
• Buying all three of the kids’ main Christmas gifts before Halloween (absolutely unprecedented)
• And yes, Robyn, thankfully a first and hopefully a last, my child throwing up in a hotel room

This is certainly not a New Thing, but it has become much more intense since she’s been sick. I am referring to Neve getting her way with everything. As an example, when she first started peeing on the toilet, we rewarded her with Smarties. Always three Smarties. Never four or two – three every time. She’s been going on the toilet for quite a while now and we’ve gotten out of the smarties habit; she rarely asks for them anymore and I never offer. But since she’s been sick, every single time: “Me peed! Me candy!” So fine, I still have some left in the pee stash (sounds yummy) so I give her some. Suddenly yesterday, she looks at the three smarties in her hand and says, “No! One!” (as in one more). That girl is stubborn like you wouldn’t believe. I tried reasoning with her, ignoring her, distracting her, and tricking her. Nothing worked. The three smarties were melting away in her hand, but she wouldn’t touch them until she got one more. Finally she broke me. Tears one second, then giggling the next as I gave her the fourth one. And of course, every single pee-time since then, she has insisted (and received) four smarties. Life is a lot easier if we just accept who’s really in charge.

(This was not a posed photo)

Monday, October 22, 2007

the good (as opposed to yesterday's "bad")

I had ten uninterrupted hours of deep sleep last night and it was wonderful. The kids had even more – the girls both slept 14 hours. It’s a dilemma – it’s so much fun going to a hotel, but the nights are so rough (even with no throwing up involved). A suite or an extra room would help a bit; but ideally I’d like a room for each kid, exactly like their room at home so it would all be familiar. Is that too much to ask?

But lest anyone get the impression that the weekend was spoiled, here’s the good part. This is a partial list of what I bought. If you have something more pressing to do than to read my list, I understand.

For me: (this never happens – it’s usually all about the kids)
Dress pants
4 tops

For the kids:
4 pairs of jeans/pants
8 tops
Winter jacket for Chloe

For Dale:
Running shoes

Also: each of the kids’ major Christmas gift and a few smaller ones

I really wanted to buy more house things like pictures and decorative things and a table cloth, but time ran out. I had planned to do more shopping on Sunday, but Chloe was translucent and shaking so I felt too guilty. My truemomconfession: The first thought in my head when I heard the gushing Saturday night was “does this mean I won’t be able to do any more shopping?” (A little disclaimer here: I really don’t like shopping that much, but this is my major annual spending spree and I get totally caught up in it.)

And shopping aside, I really enjoyed just sitting around with my Arbour Mist ($2.97 in the U.S!! Yeah, I know it’s not exactly a fine wine, but $2.97!! That’s cheaper than bottled water! And it tastes like punch!) and reading trashy magazines (to go with my trashy wine) and just hanging out with friends. It really was relaxing and a much-needed break from everyday life. I still feel like shopping though.

And I’ll leave you with a Spencer moment. We were the only ones in the pool and I was holding him, relaxed and floating. He said, “Ahhh. This is the gentlest I’ve ever been in water or on land.”

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weekend Away

We were in Grand Forks this weekend and had a great time. With our dollar better than the U.S. one, the shopping was a success. We went with 3 other families and besides shopping, we spent lots of time just sitting around talking and laughing and eating and drinking. Our family has never mastered the art of shared sleeping arrangements though, so the nights were a bit rough. Neve didn’t nap on Friday, so she went to bed for the night at 6:00. Or so we thought – she re-appeared later that evening and despite repeated attempts to force her to fall asleep, nothing took effect until I finally got into bed with her at 10:30. Even then, she still didn’t fall asleep until midnight. She insisted on sleeping in “Mama-bed” but eventually I moved her to a bed I made up for her on the floor. She woke up at 5:00 a.m. saying, “Me. Fall. Out. Mama-bed.” So back into my bed she came. At 6:00, Spencer started jumping out of bed at half-hour intervals to look out into the courtyard to see if it was time for breakfast.

But that was a good night compared to this last one. It started out well; Neve & Chloe were fast asleep by the time Spencer (he had a nap), Dale & I came to bed. Spencer, Dale & Neve were in one bed, so I went to sleep with Chloe. Then Neve half-woke up, and insisted on sleeping with me instead of in her playpen or on the floor. Ever since she’s been sick (she’s still not totally well), she gets whatever she wants so Dale & I switched places. Then Spencer was sad that he couldn’t sleep with Dale, so he and Chloe switched. After all the commotion, we realized we could have just switched Neve, but no one was thinking that clearly. Eentually everyone settled down, and then I heard the sickening sound of gushing liquid coming from someone in my bed. Turns out it’s Chloe’s turn to be sick. Everyone in the room bolted upright, and then froze, which was too bad, because it would have been nice if we’d gotten Chloe to the bathroom before the next batch came out. Dale & I were running around with no idea what to do, Neve got out of bed and was wandering around dangerously close to the vomit, and Spencer was beside himself with joy to be witnessing something so horrifying. His first question (in a genuinely interested way) was, “Chloe, how much junk food exactly did you eat?” He kept asking if he could help, and was told he was helping the most by staying in bed and not talking. “But I feel so useless!” he said. The housekeeping staff was very gracious in dealing with our situation and after a while everyone was back in bed, except for Neve. I made her sleep on the floor after that, which displeased her. So I lay down with her on the disgusting hotel room floor til she fell asleep. She had potent gas all weekend, and that’s all I could smell as I lay there. Finally she fell asleep and I tried to sneak back into bed. But I stepped on her foot by accident and had to start all over. Just when I did successfully make it back to bed, Chloe went for Round 2. This time she hit the garbage can for the most part, and fortunately the other kids didn’t even wake up. I spent the whole night jumping up with my heart pounding every time Chloe moved. There was also a round 3, but I think that’s more than enough details already. Let’s just say I don’t think Chloe will be wanting sushi or red licorice for a long long time.

So as soon as Desperate Housewives is over, I am off to bed in hopes I will have a good long solid sleep.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sick Girl / New Thing

I keep forgetting to change the look of this page – it’s so ugly. When I do think of it, I don’t have the time or energy to work with it. I’ve been working pretty much all weekend, although I did fit in a round of bowling with the kids, raking leaves, and a fondue dinner at Rob & Gab’s. And about 5 loads of vomit laundry. When I went to get Neve up this morning, I saw she was covered in dried puke. A few posts back, I believe I said waking up on a deflated air mattress is the worst way to wake up; I was wrong. If hearing about throwing up makes you want to, you might want to skip to the next paragraph. This is gross, but it looks like she threw up shrimp peel. There was shrimp on the table last night, and I didn’t notice her taking one, but I could have been distracted with trying not to lose my meat chunk in the fondue oil. I will spare you the details, but it looks like she ate a LOT of shrimp peel. Very strange. Later this morning she threw up water, so I told everyone not to feed her. Dale decided to give her 3 raspberries, which was great fun to clean up 45 minutes later (Dale wasn't #$%&#* home). Poor girl, she is whiter than my shirt was before she threw up on it. She has been nice and cuddly though, and despite the endless stack of poorly written Pooh books I had to read to her, it was sort of cozy. Fortunately Neve still doesn’t have a bed, so I just threw her mattress down the stairs (I was carrying her so my arms were full) and made up her bed in the living room. Life can be easier when you live simply.

It’s safe to read again.

That’s about all I have to say, except I may as well write my New Thing for the week before I forget. On Saturday morning, I participated in my first-ever walk for charity (AIDS in Africa). It was a gorgeous day; I took the kids and did a loop around St. Vital Park. It was only 2.5 km; I actually wished it was longer because it was so beautiful. Although next time I will not wear the jeans with the hem that drags on the ground and gets saturated in duck poop. Who am I kidding – those are my only jeans and will probably still be next year. I don’t think my sentence structure would win a prize today, but I’ll blame it on the vomit. Off to bed I go.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Things I get tired of hearing / New Thing

Every single time we get into the van, before Neve will climb into her car seat, she points to the seat beside her car seat and says, “Me older. Me sit there.” (when I’m older, I’ll sit there). She doesn’t EVER forget to say it.

A few weeks ago, a friend was over with her newborn boy. He was lying on the couch and when Neve went to look at him up close, his little fist happened to grab some of her hair. It wasn’t a big deal; she just said, “Baby. Pull mine hair!” It wasn’t mentioned again until a few nights later, when I checked on her before going to bed. In her sleep, she said, “Baby Sammy. Pull mine hair.” Now she mentions it several times a day, and resentment seems to be growing against poor baby Sammy.

One last recurring Neve quote – every single time we put her shoes on: “Socks. No work. Flops.” (Flip-flops don’t work when you’re wearing socks.)

They say kids love repetition and learn from it. I don't love it so much and I don't learn anything that is printable here.

And Spencer’s in a violent phase. He is always saying stuff like this:

Me: How was school today, Spencer?
Spencer: Bad. There was a bomb and everyone was killed.

Or this:

(when looking at the Sears Wish Book): I want all the dangerous and bad stuff.

Or this:

If you send me carrots in my lunch again, I’m going to scratch your face.

This kind of talk does not make me feel kind and loving towards him, so I can only imagine how people who did not know him when he was a sweet mute little baby feel about his violent boy-talk. He says he doesn’t say stuff like that at school or at friends’ houses, but I’m scared it’s becoming a habit. So today when he told Chloe he was going to punch her face, I told him it was time for a Chart. Charts are not happy, positive reinforcement, sticker-collecting things in our house. Five X’s on the “Violent Talking Chart” results in some huge unspecified punishment. I didn’t exactly read this in a parenting book; I suspect the negativity and unknown punishment aren’t recommended techniques. (Who has time to read parenting books anyway when you’re busy with little kids? If I want to read, I’ll read something fun. I suspect most “child experts” have grown children and lots of time to reflect on nice little theories and principles.) Anyway, Spencer was quite upset about the whole Chart idea so hopefully that works out okay.

And now for my New Thing. I had to wait til tonight to post this, because I just came back from my first Norwex party. Our very own CoJu was the hostess. I thought she did a great job; very relaxed and casual and though she obviously believes in the products, isn’t one bit pushy. She even loaned me her super duper mop and I’ve already washed my floor. It’s shiny and clean and the mop was way more fun than my old one. There are a lot of great products; if anyone’s interested in ordering something, let her know.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Halloween costumes

Spencer wants to be an army guy for Halloween. He saw it in the Party Stuff flyer among all the pornographic costumes (my favourite one is the sleazy Dr. Anita Lay. You can’t tell me inventing costumes wouldn’t be a fun job.) Anyway, the costume is just a guy wearing army fatigues and carrying a huge assault rifle. I said no. Then he wanted to be “Death Eater” which is as stupid as it sounds. Now he wants to be a witch. I’m trying to convince him to wear the cat costume, but the negotiations aren’t going well. Chloe has decided that she, Neve, Pink Ee-ee and several of her dolls will all be fairies. She has been busy making wings for everyone out of paper and rubber bands.

And here’s another van conversation:

Neve: Me. Button. Out. Mama drives. Fun!
Chloe: (without skipping a beat) You want to press the button (to the automatic sliding van door) and get out of the van while Mama’s driving?”
Neve: Yeah!

I’m multi-tasking and watching Brothers & Sisters right now. I’ve got to say, Rob Lowe is ageing very well.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Thing #3

This week’s New Thing is again not very imaginative, but since I’m under pressure, here I go. This is turning into a list of things-I’ve-been-procrastinating-about, but I feel good about it and that’s what counts. It’s all about me feeling good. I finally painted the trim around our front windows. It was a dull peeling gray, now it’s bright white. I also painted the lamp post; now I just have to put up new house numbers and a new mailbox and we’re done. Oh, except for the botched stucco job. I passed the stucco guy’s number on to Clay, our project manager, and asked him to try his luck. He can be quite persuasive, but apparently he’s no match for the stucco guy.

Shannon’s comment to the last post almost convinced me to run to the basement and get the crib up again, but I resisted. I took the car bed out of Neve’s room because it loses air during the night and I know from personal camping experience what a horrible way that is to wake up. So now she’s sleeping on her crib mattress. Or, sometimes beside her crib mattress. The whole sleeping arrangement looks like a third world situation. An old flannel sheet on the window, mattress thrown in the corner of the room, mismatched bedding and junk on the floor. All we need is a big aggressive rat to complete the scene. Now that Spencer’s room is pretty much done, Neve’s room is next on my list. I guess I won’t be putting up any bead curtains.

Here she is tonight:

And a little closer view. Another one she’ll hate me for posting. Sorry, Neve.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

assorted topics

About the new look - it’s quite dull but I haven’t had the time or inspiration to fix it up. There are not a lot of template options; I was thinking of returning to my original one. I’ll save that for my New Thing some week. I see I’ve done a great job of motivating everyone to try something new. Surely someone could take a new route to work or something. Maybe it was just an off week and you’re gearing up for something astonishing next week.

If every fall day could be like today, I might jump on the same bandwagon that everyone else seems to be on. How many times must I hear: “Fall is actually my favourite season. I just love sweater weather.” Now that I think about it, the best part about today was that it was tank top weather. So there, I’m not getting on the wagon just yet.

I was determined to paint the outside window trims today. It took way longer than I thought (the prep gets me every time) and it’s still not quite finished. Besides working on that, I watched a bit of my niece’s soccer game, Teresa and the kids came for a little visit, and I went for a massage. I hadn’t been for one for ages and I had a new girl, whom I loved. I was fighting back tears for part of it, but I even liked that because the pain made me feel like I was contributing to my physical well-being rather than just being indulgent. She said I should tell her if the pressure was too much, but I wouldn’t want her to think I’m a fragile little china doll. No idea why, I guess there’s a pride issue I should work on. Anyway, it was a gorgeous day and it was so nice to spend most of it outside. The ice cream truck even came by, which was a dream come true for my children. It was right at dinnertime, so that was an easy meal.

Here’s a scary dream Spencer had the other night (this is the condensed version): “We were putting nails and pennies on the railroad tracks, then we walked to Academy and got a frappucino (not scary yet), and then we got the trucks and pails from the sandbox and were playing with them on the railroad tracks. Suddenly we saw a train coming, so we quickly gathered our toys up. But Neve kept going near the tracks and the train was coming closer and closer…” Luckily the dream ended there. The bad news is I’ve scarred my boy. The good news is that he cares about his sister.

And the sister is now crib-less. I decided to leave Chloe in her bed for now, and dug out Spencer’s inflatable car bed instead. Neve was excited to sleep in it last night, but it was not a smooth night. She woke up sobbing twice during the night, both times crying, “Pee comes!” She still wears a diaper at night, and until last night, it was always wet in the morning. But now she has decided she wants to pee in the toilet at night, which is great, but it’s a bit of an interruption in my night. We can’t have that, so we put the potty in her room tonight and told her she could go by herself in the night. She thought that was a very bad idea and insisted we take it out of her room. So I’ll probably be up again tonight. Funny how Dale doesn’t hear her; it’s just like when we had a newborn. But back to the crib, when Dale took it apart and took it out of her room today, Neve cried. With the Ee-ee fiasco, I was getting concerned about her lack of emotion; I’m sort of relieved that she’s at least sentimental about her crib. I was sad to see it go too; we’ve reached the end of our crib road. One step closer to metallic furniture in black-painted rooms with heavy metal blaring and demented rock star posters on the wall. That’s it, I’m putting the crib back up.

The ice cream man's job satisfaction level doesn't seem high

Spencer's new dresser (shelf placement services provided by our own talented Shannon)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Thing Week 2

I’m happy to report the water was back on at 6:00 p.m. Monday and I haven’t appreciated running water so much since the renovation. When I picked the kids up from school and broke the news to Chloe that there would be no meatballs for supper, she was very disappointed (by the way, about two weeks ago she announced she was now a vegetarian. Not sure what happened to that). I told her we could go out for dinner or order in, but she was not happy about the situation. After I dropped her off at art class, I phoned Dale to tell him to stop at Safeway on his way home from work and buy some frozen meatballs. (And that was even before I saw Robyn’s comment – they really were good. After I read it, I quickly put the packaging into the recycling bin so Dale wouldn’t see the nutritional information.). Chloe was so happy when she got home and I told her what we were having. We ended up having a wonderful meal of spaghetti & meatballs, salad, garlic bread, and brownies with ice cream for dessert. That is the most extensive meal I have made in 3 months and I’m not exaggerating. And the meatballs and salad weren’t even homemade. I should cook more, but it’s a lot of work and I just don’t enjoy it. I am convinced it would be no more expensive to eat out every single meal than to buy groceries and keep the cupboards stocked. Some day I am going to test that theory. But for now, I’ll just wait for Darla to deliver those meatball trays.

I sometimes feel like I am losing my mind. Or maybe I have Mad Cow disease, as Denny Crane refers to his decreasing brain function on Boston Legal (season premiere last night!). It was probably from the meatballs.

But whatever it is, you’d think I would have learned from all my past parenting mistakes and would be perfect by now and never do things I’d regret. It seems not. Two days ago, Neve was having a tough time falling asleep at naptime, which is very rare. I could hear her playing in her crib, and eventually she started calling. When it got to the point where responding was less stressful than ignoring it, I went to her room. She told me she wanted to sleep in my bed. (“Me. Sleep. Mama. Bed.” She carefully thinks out each word before she says it.). I said no. Then she asked to sleep in Chloe’s room. I said yes. THAT was my mistake. She was delighted. She rearranged Chloe’s dolls and took Chloe’s Build-a-frog out of its cradle and put Pink Ee-ee in its place. After I got her all settled and tucked in, I could hear her walking around for quite some time, doing who knows what. But eventually she fell asleep. The next day at naptime, she didn’t even start off in her crib – it was straight to Chloe’s bed. She fell asleep pretty quickly. Then tonight, she cried and cried after I put her to bed. When I went to see her, guess what she wanted. I tried to calm her down and explain she could only sleep there at naptime. That didn’t work, so I told her she could have Chloe’s bed soon; we’d move it into her room on the weekend. This pleased her greatly (“Ki-ki bed. My room. Funny!”) and now I’m kicking myself. We have talked about this (getting Chloe a new bed and giving Neve her old one), but I know exactly what kind of bed I want to get Chloe and it’s going to take me a while to save up some money or to find a less expensive version. I was hoping Neve’s tiny brain would forget about it and not have a concept of what a weekend is. (She’s smart though; I was testing her yesterday by naming each person we know and asking her if they were a girl or a boy. She got every one right, even the ones I’m not always sure of. Pink Ee-ee is a girl, Brown Ee-ee is/was a boy. There’s probably more useful things I could teach her, but this was quite entertaining.) Anyway, as I suspected, her tiny brain is a lot more functional than my adult brain and when I went to check on her around midnight before I went to bed, she half-woke up, smiled, and said, “My. Own. Bed.”

And now for this week’s New Thing. After years of talking about it and feeling guilty for not doing it, Dale & I went to see the lawyer today, and we got a will made. Neither of us ever had one before and I always worried about it, especially just before the plane would take off on one of Dale’s & my rare childless vacations. I always vowed if we make it back home alive, we’d go straight to the lawyer and get a will done. And now, it’s done and I feel relieved and responsible. All thanks to the New Thing Challenge (NTC). I’m all about the acronyms now.

Looking forward to hearing your New Things…

Monday, September 24, 2007


I have been comforted by everyone’s comments and support in my time of loss. It’s still a mystery. I left another message today at the store. I know the lady there thinks I’m a lunatic, but she obviously doesn’t have children and never was one herself. But I’m trying to bravely carry on.

It’s been raining all morning, but ironically I have no running water in the house. There’s a water main break somewhere on our street and apparently that makes water stop coming out of my tap. According to the City Water Department (which I have phoned about as frequently as the store we lost Ee-ee in), we will probably not have water until tomorrow at the earliest. I was freaking out a bit on the phone and I asked the woman what we were supposed to do and where I was supposed to shower and bathe my children. She said, “Well, not at your house.” That ‘How to be Helpful’ seminar was a waste. I promised Chloe I’d make meatballs for her half-birthday meal today, but I either have to find rubber gloves to wear, or we will have to postpone the birthday meal. I hate touching meat at the best of times, never mind when I only have a baby wipe to clean my hands with after. Plus I won’t be able to wash dishes and scrubbing greasy 2-day-old raw meat utensils isn’t on my list for tomorrow. Maybe Chloe will be happy with a can of Chef Boyardee spaghetti & meatballs.

What a gorgeous weekend it was. For our second weekly Friday Family Activity Night (FFAN), we had a soccer game in the back park. The kids lost interest quickly, but Dale & I were quite competitive. I won. He thinks he did. On Saturday I went to Lac du Bonnet with my female co-workers. We went for lunch at Christy’s (BEST burgers in the world), then to my boss’s cabin for the night. The weather was amazing, and we had a great time. We sat around the fire til 3:30 in the morning, which I am way too old to do but was too embarrassed to be the first one in bed. I wasn’t the first one, but I certainly wasn’t the last either. And my lovely boss (who deserves a medal for putting up with all of us and cleaning out sink drains clogged with …. I won’t even go there) assigned me a room to myself, which is a coveted luxury, and instructed me not to get up before noon. So it was a great break from hearing “MOM!!!” fifty times a day and cleaning up pee puddles.

The Helpful Water Lady told me there was a water tank somewhere on our block where we could fill buckets, so off I go to find some. I still don’t think I can do the meatballs though.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


The unthinkable has happened. It’s been a dark day. I am more devastated by far than Neve. She seems unfazed. I’ve felt like throwing up all day.

Neve and I went to three stores on Corydon today. The last one we went into had breakable things on display and I realized right away it wasn’t a good idea to shop here with Neve. She wedged herself between a couch and a precarious stack of boxes with a heavy ceramic lamp on the top. The lamp looked expensive and I knew I had to get her out fast. So I put everything I was holding down on the floor: my purse, a bag from the first store we went to, and Ee-ee. Then I grabbed Neve, picked up my things and carried her out. We walked to our van, parked on Corydon about a block away. I buckled her into her car seat, gave her her blanket and looked for Ee-ee. No where. So I unbuckled her and retraced our steps. Just as we were about to enter the store, a couple came out, carrying a toddler. And the toddler was carrying an ee-ee.

I said, “Oh, did you just find that in here?”

They said, “No, this is her favourite toy. She carries it everywhere.”

I said, “My daughter just lost hers.”

They sympathized with me and told me they had two other ee-ee’s at home (I think they used the word ‘monkey’) as back-ups.

I could see its ear was a little unstitched, and I have no reason to believe they would lie about that, so I really don’t think it was Ee-ee. I’ve come across 3 or 4 other children who are attached to the exact same ee-ee. But it’s the weirdest coincidence ever. Our ee-ee was not in the store, nor on the sidewalk anywhere. I was starting to panic, but Neve seemed totally calm. She said “Buy new ee-ee. Pink ee-ee, baby Elle.” We bought baby Elle a pink monkey (identical to Neve’s brown one, only pink) about a month ago, and Neve has always been a bit sad that we gave it away. So I think she saw this as her chance to get the ee-ee of her dreams. She probably lost brown Ee-ee on purpose. When I ran out of places to look, we got back in the van and drove straight to Grant Park to A Child’s Place and went to the ee-ee section. Thank goodness it’s a mass-produced, still-available toy. She immediately took the pink monkey and hugged it. I showed her the brown one and asked if she wanted it, but there was no wavering. In my motherly wisdom, I secretly bought the brown one too, in case she suddenly starts missing her old one. Then I will pull out the new ee-ee, rough him up a bit, and say, “Look what Mommy found!!” But so far she is thrilled with the pink one, and I am the only one who is sad that poor beloved Ee-ee, who has slept in Neve’s warm crib almost every night of his life, is lying somewhere, cold, abandoned, and lonely. They say the first 24 hours are the most critical, so I haven’t given up hope yet.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Children of the Corn

I’ve been delaying writing anything because I wanted to share an awe-inspiring first New Thing. I did do a couple of new things; but sadly there’s no awe involved. Especially after reading some of yours. I’m so impressed! Illegal substances, suicidal motorcycling, groups joined, courses taught, and cooking a roast – how can I possibly be expected to compete with that?! You’ve put me all to shame and it was MY idea. The bar has been raised and the challenge has been accepted.

I did go to some furniture stores that I’d never been to before, one of them being the Palliser warehouse in the middle of NOWHERE. I really wished I’d looked at a map before trying to find it. Ended up spending lots of time and gas in my quest, and didn’t buy anything. They had a loft bed for $79 (!!!) that Chloe would have LOVED and I would have bought, but they were sold out and weren’t getting any more. Even the floor model was sold, nevertheless it was still on display. They must have taken a page from Home Depot’s sadistic customer relations manual. So that just made me mad. In a happier story, I also went to the furniture clearance centre on King Street and found a dresser I liked for Spencer’s room. I’ve been wanting to get him a dresser ever since we finished the renovation, because he was using the big ugly white particle-board armoire that the kids used to have in their shared room and it totally overpowered his new room. So I saw this dresser, and it wasn’t a bad price ($220) but thought I’d check out a few other stores first. I went to United Furniture Warehouse, and there was the exact same dresser. For $600!! Turns out it’s a Hot Wheels dresser, but in a good subtle way, because I couldn’t even tell at the first store. At UFW, it was part of a whole Hot Wheels display suite. Dale & I went back to King Street to buy it on Saturday, and to our shock, just for asking if they were flexible on the price, the manager took another $30 off. We felt so proud of ourselves. Maybe a little cheap, but proud.

But back to the New Thing, besides the new furniture stores and bartering successfully, I guess my official New Thing would be starting a Friday Family Activity Night. Since we’ve enrolled the kids in basically no extra-curricular activities this fall, we’ve decided to dedicate every Friday night (or an alternate if we’re busy on Friday) to doing something active. So this last Friday we went to the Corn Maze and walked around for an hour or two. It was quite fun, even though it was a little chillier than we had dressed for. They have a little petting zoo too, with tiny little Shetland ponies scampering all over the place. They also had a mini-golf course which looked like something from a war-torn undeveloped nation, and the most fun of all, a barrel hanging from a tree that you could climb into and swing around. You had to be careful that it didn’t swing into the tree trunk, and it also scraped the ground sometimes, but it was enough to make Spencer happy. So that’s my New Thing. I will strive to improve on that next week. Does anyone have a pink tutu and a hang glider I can borrow?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Something New

The nail and penny experiment was a raging success. To you joyless critics, I do recall hearing that playing on the train tracks is not a brilliant idea. In fact, they drill this into little school children’s heads quite forcefully. I’ve been wanting to put nails on the tracks for ages (ever since about 1979 when my sister got a flattened nail that looked like a sword from a boy in school who lived near the tracks), but Spencer was very nervous about it and begged me not to do it. “In Train Safety, we learned that a train could go off the track if it drives over something.” Finally I caught him in a weak moment and my dream was fulfilled.

TT (toilet training) Update: first & second day in underwear: dry. Third day (today): 2 accidents on the floor, a wet Pull-up at naptime, plus one incident when she was peeing on the toilet and her pee went horizontal instead of vertical (thought that only happened with boys) and got her underwear and jeans wet. That should make you smile on the inside, Shannon. Not only that, the redhead had at least four tantrums, one of which lasted ten full minutes. It started when I got her up from her nap and continued til we got to school to pick up the kids. All just because I wouldn’t give her candy. I was very much wishing I had just given her some, but after it escalated to a certain point, I couldn’t give in. Well that, plus I didn’t have any treats with me in the van.

I read an article in the paper last week about how September is the real New Years. So true. Everything starts up again, it’s a whole new year. Everyone makes unofficial resolutions, usually having to do with organizing their house and exercising. I have been in a nesting phase, trying to clean and declutter every room in my house. I don’t have a system; I just jump from room to room – here a drawer, there a box, here a cupboard, etc. Even with my lack of structure, I’ve gotten rid of two garbage bags of stuff this week. It feels SO good. I’m trying to take advantage of it quickly, before I lose momentum.

And there’s one more resolution I’m making and I’m challenging everyone to join me. Every week, I’m going to try and do one thing I’ve never done before. It can be anything, for example
- going to a restaurant you’ve never been to before,
- talking with a neighbour you’ve never really talked to before
- trying a new recipe
- going for a walk in a neighbourhood you’ve never been in before
- shopping at a new store
- read a new book to your kids

Your imagination is the limit. I’m going to force myself to do this by posting my “new thing” every week. And I’d love to hear your new things too… What do you think? Anyone interested?