Sunday, July 29, 2007

Still Hot

Today was another perfect hot summer day. This has been the best summer ever. I think part of what makes it so great is that last summer was sacrificed to the renovation gods. I am pretty much (not QUITE...) at the point, though, where I can ALMOST say it was worth it. (Or maybe I've already said it. Whatever).

Anyway, today we spent the afternoon at the Quarry yet again. When we got home I ran out to Toys R Us to stock up on summer toys. Everything was on sale, so I got new shovels and pails, water toys, bubbles, etc., but best of all was a set of water guns. I'm not so crazy about toy guns, but knowing how thrilled Spencer would be, I bought them anyway. I wasn't disappointed. The look on his face was definitely worth it - pure joy and love and all the other beautitudes. Well maybe not peace. We spent the whole evening playing outside. I love summer. I know I'm repeating myself, but it deserves repeating.

First the smiles ...



Took about 30 seconds til someone was crying:


A bouncy thing I also bought today:

Neve playing around:

Loves play dough:

But eventually gets bored:



And here's a video I took the other day. FYI - Jenn, the poppy is actually part of the design of the swimsuit (not a sundress). I'm not nearly creative enough to think of that on my own.

Friday, July 27, 2007

885-1419

I saw this in today's paper and I thought it fit in well with the blog theme (see the small writing at the top that says "Because You're Worth it"). It's unclear to me if the woman is a poster child for having had augmentation (in which case I'd say she didn't get her money's worth) or if she is an example of someone needs drastic surgical intervention. Wouldn't frappucinos and Big Mac combo meals achieve the same result with less money and no anestethic? Never mind the irony that people pay to be plumped up when there are starving children with protruding ribs who don't have enough money to be otherwise. But that's just my opinion; for those of you who feel otherwise, the number again is 885-1419.


PS. We're going to the beach later, so I'm going to get busy making some padded bum inserts from an old gel bike seat. Heads will be turning at the Quarry tonight. Hope the teenagers are impressed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Shopping / Birthday Cows / Croquet

I was looking for a plastic shopping bag to collect my neighbour’s mail in while he’s away and discovered that besides Safeway bags, I had none. I took that as a sign to go shopping tonight. Besides a few tank tops, I have bought myself no clothes this summer. I only go into the office one day a week, but I rotate between two different outfits. Sometimes I mix it up and put last week’s skirt with this week’s top. But that means I’m wearing some of the same clothes two times in a row. I hate shopping for myself; every time I go I end up buying clothes for Neve instead. I was somewhat successful today and came home with a skirt and top for myself, a sundress, two tank tops and a hairband for Neve, and a pair of pants for Spencer. But it wasn’t a pleasant experience. In the first change room I went into, I saw that I had a big pizza sauce stain smack in the middle of my white T-shirt AND one on the front of my pants. After that I had to walk around the whole time with my arm across my shirt. Very awkward. And unless every single change room at Polo Park has installed trick mirrors to make their customers look twice as fat, I’ve got a problem. I guess all those strawberry daiquiris and Hydra coolers have to go somewhere. It was such an unpleasant sight that I actually skipped the frappucino I was going to reward myself with after shopping. Not sure what I was going to reward myself FOR; that may be the root of my chunky problem. I went to Superstore after and I bought a king size Cadbury Fruit & Nut chocolate bar instead, which my dietician said was a better choice than a frappucino. See, I’m already making healthier choices. It’s all baby steps.

This afternoon we celebrated Moo-moo Cow’s 5th birthday. Moo-moo Cow is a big stuffed cow that Chloe got when she was 3 (six years ago; why the cow is only turning 5 is irrelevant) and Chloe has been planning its birthday party for weeks. This cow usually sits deep in the toybox in the basement; why it was suddenly singled out to have a special birthday celebration is also inexplicable. But invitations were sent, games were planned, black & white partyware was purchased, and today was the day. My only role in it was to bake a chocolate cake and clean the house. It has needed cleaning for some time, but in honour of the cow I finally got motivated. The invitation encouraged us to wear black & white, so here we are in our cow-celebrating glory.

And to further prove everyone in our household is far from normal, here's Neve walking around with a croquet wire thing on her head.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hot

It was supposed to be 37 degrees today, but according to the Weather Network, it’s only 31. I’m kind of disappointed; I wanted to feel what 37 degrees was like. I should be at the beach or the waterslides, but I declared today a home day to clean my house and weed my yard (neither of those has happened yet, but the day’s not over). At any rate, it is definitely hot out there; so hot in fact that I’m doing my computer work inside. I love stepping outside and feeling the muggy heat but it’s not too conducive for getting work done.

We are back into our lazy summer schedule after our holidays. The kids are in swimming lessons this week and last week, so getting up at 9:00 to get ready has been tough. There are no lessons on Mondays, so today we all slept in. Neve slept til 10:30 (and was napping again by 1:30). I took all three kids with me to Superstore this morning. I can’t remember the last time I did that, but I only had to buy 3 things so I thought it couldn’t be too bad. It was. Neve is always trying to get either in or out of the cart, depending on where she’s not. Spencer brings his wallet filled with $2.13 (all in nickels and pennies, maybe one dime) everywhere we go and always wants to buy something with his own money. Plus he always stands right in front of the shopping cart or, if I’m trying to squeeze through a tight spot, right beside it. And Chloe, well she’s actually more help than hindrance. Thank goodness she was there. My theory is that if a person can take 3 kids grocery shopping at Superstore and not completely lose their patience, they should automatically get a teaching degree. I will never be a teacher.

Dale’s back at work today after 2 weeks off. I’m hoping he calms down and gets back to normal. Every night since (and during) our trip, he’s woken up and freaked out in the middle of the night. He always jolts awake (or semi-awake) and bolts upright. One night on our trip, he jumped out of bed and yelled, “HEY!” When I calmed him down, he said he thought someone was coming in the window to steal Neve. Another time I woke up and saw him standing at the open door of our motel in his shorts. Last night he jumped up and freaked out, “Why is the door (to our room) open!?” These episodes scare me to death – I go from a happy deep sleep to terror in a second. My heart beats so hard I feel like I have to throw up. You’d think I’d get used to it, but I don’t. My fear is that he’ll think I’m an intruder and hit me. Thank goodness we’re a non-firearms household. He goes through this phase from time to time; not sure what brings it on. I hope it’s over soon or my heart will give out. I wish he’d have cheery carefree dreams for a change. Kind of like the dream Chloe had last night; she dreamed she was at the river and found baby Moses in an ice cube. She often dreams about ice cubes. Can someone analyze that?

And a little note about Neve. She is still pretty mute, but she says at least one new word a day. On Saturday when the timer was ringing, she came to tell me “ringing!” And today when she was waiting for me to make lunch, she said “ready?” This weekend Chloe & Spencer taught her to say “Lava King,” which I thought was sort of unnecessary when she can’t even say her own name. She’s also asserting her two-year-old independence and I now have to allow an extra 10 minutes when we go anywhere so she can get herself into her car seat. That should be another teacher qualification test.

Out I go for another blast of therapeutic heat.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Trip Pictures

Just posting some trip photos. Things are slowly getting back to normal here. Funny how getting ready for the trip and getting unpacked and back to normal after the trip takes longer than the trip itself. I'm thrilled to say that we were all unpacked, had almost everything put away, and the laundry done by Wednesday. That's unheard of for me. The suitcases were hardly back in place from the Vegas trip in November. But I still feel a little sluggish and wish I was still on holidays. I took Neve to my parents' and Chloe & Spencer to Dale's mom's yesterday, so it's wonderful to have some peace and quiet although I was at work all day. The older two come home tonight and Neve will be returned tomorrow. Part of me wishes they were home though because much to my disdain, when I got home from work and walked into the backyard, there was the hugest robin you've ever seen, sitting in my garden. I knew something was eating my peas but I was hoping it was little worms instead of big fat robins. It hardly bothered to fly away when I rattled my keys. Then to make matters worse, there were two blue jays hanging around the yard, which are even worse than robins in their lack of fear of people. Anyway if the kids were home, I'd send them out to play in the yard and keep the fowl away. I knew there was a reason I had so many kids.




The glasses came along.


The Alpine Slide (no bee stings)


At the bottom of the Alpine Slide


The pool was the best part for the kids. Could've saved the gas and spent the week in Steinbach



Cosmos Mystery Area - another favourite


Waiting for our food



This was at Storybook Land in Aberdeen, where we stopped on the way home. It was so cool (and free). The kids loved it.


There's nothing like posed family trip pictures.


Here's Neve, being her grumpy self in the van.


That's not a nice picture to end with, so I'll end with this lovely photo of a town we drove through on our way home. What are the chances???!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

There's Gold in Them Thar Hills

We got home tonight after 7 fun-filled days and nights of family bonding time in the Black Hills (South Dakota). The weather was perfect every single day, the scenery was gorgeous, we did lots of fun things, and the kids had a blast. That is, of course, the sugar coated version, even though it’s all true. The reality is that we’re all a bit sleep-deprived, cranky, over-stimulated and very, very tired of the Dora the Explorer DVD. I know people do it all the time, but traveling with a 2 year old is borderline asylum behaviour. In one of the many tacky T-shirt shops in the Black Hills, we saw a saying on a baby T-shirt that defined Neve perfectly: “I’m the Boss. No arguments, no questions. We’ll just do things my way.” Despite the 50% polyester fabric and the wide ribbing at the neck, I wish we’d bought it. We repeated that phrase many times throughout the trip. I don’t know if I should blame it on the red hair or being the third child, but that girl is a busy stubborn handful. She controlled everything from what movie the kids watched while driving (always Dora) to who pushed her stroller (always me) to what book we read (always The Z was Zapped). Thankfully Chloe and Spencer were very accommodating; mostly because hearing Neve fuss is like being stuck in an outhouse with a class of grade four students blowing into recorders as hard as they can. But luckily as long as she got her way, she was happy and fun and cute. The other kids were great on the trip, especially with all the driving (12 hours each way) and I take full credit for that with my planned activities. We didn’t even do nearly everything I had prepared. The things my kids liked best were Ticket Time, where at the beginning of each day I gave them each one ticket for every half hour of driving, so every 30 minutes I announced “Ticket Time” and they gave me a ticket. Every 4 ticket times or so, they got a little present. I had a bag of wrapped presents (I used different wrapping paper for each child, so I knew which was meant for whom) and the unwrapping was the best part; it didn’t matter that I had just wrapped stones and empty ring boxes. Just kidding, I bought a bunch of cheap stuff at Michael’s. The nice thing about the tickets too is that it gives them some idea of how much longer we’ll be driving for. The other thing that went over well is a pack of Travel Scavenger Hunt cards I got at Scholar’s Choice. And of course, the DVD player with the new Dora video was the hands down winner. I also bought the movie “Fat Albert” as one of the presents, which Neve graciously let the kids watch once. The problem is now Neve keeps saying “fat.” I know with 100% certainty that that’s going to come back to haunt me.

There’s something about being on vacation; it's such a nice break from routine that it's almost surreal. I loved spending time with the kids and watching them discover new things. We saw the nightly lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore, which is a very patriotic event. It wasn’t as meaningful to me as it was to the man behind me who kept shushing any child who dared make a peep, but it was kind of neat. We also went on a tour of a mine, panned for gold, went on the Alpine slides, drove through Deadwood and other towns and scenic routes, went on a tour of Jewel Cave, went to Cosmos Mystery area, went to Wall Drug, swam in the outdoor pool at our hotel every afternoon, walked around Keystone, the town where we stayed, and ate lots of ice cream. There is so much to do and see; it really is fun for all ages. Except two.

And now, even though I’m sad our trip is over, I am very happy to be home. I am happy to brush my teeth in my own sink, happy to sleep in my own bed, happy to have some alone-time, and I am happy that I’m not hearing little cartoon children speaking Spanish.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

What am I forgetting?

I should be doing a million things besides sitting at the computer. We’re getting ready to go on a little vacation on Tuesday and I realize I should have started preparing months ago. I’m starting to get that panicky feeling that not everything’s going to get done and I’ll forget to bring important things. I have a feeling that I’m not using my time as wisely as possible (besides the blogging). I was up til 1:00 last night, printing out games and activities to keep the kids happy. Today I made a new mix CD to listen to on the way. (actually that is a valuable use of my time; I will go crazy if I hear High School Musical one more time. I thought it was sort of funny when Spencer started singing along with every song, but now even Neve joins in now and then. Not funny anymore). In my defence, I am also doing load after load of laundry, cleaning the house, and starting a pile of things to take. Dale is reading a book. This afternoon he made a comment about leaving tomorrow afternoon rather than Tuesday morning if we hurry and get everything ready. I can’t repeat my reply here. One problem is that I feel everything has to be immaculate before we go away. The yard has to be perfect, the house must be spotless and there can't even be one dirty spoon in the dishwasher. This really isn't like me; I'm so not a perfectionist, but I do love coming home to a clean house. I am trying to control myself - I found myself about to clean out the garage when there is much more urgent things to attend to.

Anyway, I’m excited about the trip but I am a little worried about spending so much together time. The kids are out of control after one week of summer holidays. They’ve been going to bed crazy late and still not falling asleep for ages. They do sleep in, which is the only reason I haven’t shipped them off to camp. They’re fussy and whiny and constantly fighting. Neve is the exception; she’s been going to bed around 8:00 and sleeps til 10:00 or 10:30 in the morning, plus she naps in the afternoon. I love her a lot. Today we went to the Quarry and even with being out in the sun and skipping his nap, Spencer went to bed at 7:00 but didn’t fall asleep til 9:30. It’s driving me crazy now, never mind when all five of us will be stuck in one room at the Travelodge.

It was such a gorgeous weekend – I'd say perfect in fact. We went to the Quarry on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday we only made it there around 5 pm, but it was still scorching and it wasn’t too full. It was pretty much us and lots of teenagers fornicating in the water (we were just watching). Today we went earlier and the indecent exposure was limited to a 45 yr old woman with breast implants. She seemed thrilled with them and I have to admit I snuck more than a few awe-filled glances. Another sad age indicator is that I now check out the women at the beach way more than the men.

I must go clean out old food from the fridge and deal with the laundry. Dale’s watching Seinfeld now.

Somthing to be Thankful For

One year ago (July 7):




Today:




Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Summer Fun (is there any other kind?)

I can’t believe a week ago the kids were still in school. It seems like forever, but in a good way. We’ve been making the most of summer so far - here are a few pictures.



Canada Day


Strawberry picking in Altona




Lac du Bonnet - the glasses are still popular



The Quarry


I took the kids to the Quarry today. I couldn’t find anyone to come with me, so since there was no one I was trying to impress I took the opportunity to wear my bikini (unlike my usual impressive Sears swimsuit). It wasn’t a pretty sight. My roll (all the little ones merged to form a monstrous one) sagged over the top of my bottoms and the sunspot/mass of freckles on my stomach was exposed to the world. But so what, I’ve borne 3 children and I’m pushing 40. I’m just scared I won’t know when to stop. I don’t want to be like the 70 yr old lady one blanket over who was leather skinned with bleach blonde hair and much more exposed than I was. She had other issues though; she was building a sandcastle with her grandson (or possibly her great-grandson) and I heard her say, “If you knock this down, we’re going home!” Don’t lose your perspective, great grandma. That being said, I could kind of relate to her threat. My goal every summer is to spend a day at the beach without the kids. I could build the sandcastle my way, I could read a book, I wouldn’t be pestered all day to buy giant freezies, but best of all, I could nap in the sun. This is probably one of those goals to file under “Things I wish I had never wished because now my children are all grown up and don’t want to be seen with me fully dressed, never mind in a bikini.” The low point of my day was when the kids were finding shapes in my freckle mass. Spencer said it looked like a tambourine and Chloe thought it looked like an elephant running. They found this much funnier than I did. Besides that, I did have lots of fun today. The weather was great and the kids played nicely. There were a couple of times I wished I had an equal number of eyes and children, but it really wasn’t too bad watching all 3 of them by myself. I bought a seasons pass, so we’ll be out there every chance we get. I’ll be wearing my Sears suit.