Friday, February 29, 2008

FM 29 and Final!

Milk delivery day

Happy Leap Year Day! Hope you made the most of your bonus day.

So that’s it. I made it to the end of the month without missing a day. It’s been fun for the most part, and it’s probably good for me to take note of moments I wouldn’t normally stop to appreciate. I’ve loved seeing Dan’s, Siobhan’s and Julie’s daily pictures too; it’s given me a little glimpse into their lives that I’ve never had before, especially since none of them live in Manitoba. Dan and Siobhan are courageously planning to keep the photo challenge going, which I’m thrilled about, but this is the end of the line for me. I found it took up considerable mind space (which is always at a premium) thinking about photo-worthy moments, as well as time – downloading, choosing, and posting the picture every day. Maybe I’ll do it again down the road, but never again in the middle of winter when the only photo inspirations are snow and bored children. But thanks to everyone for humouring me, tolerating my photography, and for all the comments. I will kind of miss it. Maybe I'll just cut back to a weekly or monthly moment. It will be a surprise.

The next month or so is going to be super busy with a gigantic work project, the other two children’s birthday parties, Easter, spring break, the any-day-now arrival of a new nephew/niece, and my New Thing – training for the half marathon. And now that I’ve actually put that in print, there’s no turning back. Running is not something I enjoy, and running a marathon has never been on my list of things to do before I die, but I really really really want to get in shape. So this is Week One of training. Dale (who is also planning to run) found a training schedule on Runner’s World dot com, and it’s fairly civilized. It’s only three runs a week, which is something I think I can commit to. On Monday morning, I did two things I’ve never done before – run outside in the winter (besides between my house and garage), and get up early enough to run before Dale left for work. On Wednesday I ran on the track at the University during the kids’ swimming lessons. Tomorrow is a six mile run, which I’m nervous about. I’m supposed to run to Sobey’s and back. That doesn’t sound humanly possible, especially in Week One of training. I'll be taking the cell phone in case I need a ride home. Wish me luck.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

FM 28

My drive home from work today.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

FM 27

Can you spot the real baby? At first Baby Cate was
tolerant of the photo shoot, but then things turned bad.

"Get me out of this crazy doll hell!" she screamed. It was so cute.
I think this is pretty much her first time crying, ever.

And on a mostly depressing, but kind of interesting note, check this out. Though I suppose that description could apply to both porn or a virus, it's neither of those so it's safe to click.

And the winner is...

Shannon S! The seal was absolutely correct. Darla gets Honourable Mention for guessing a penguin, but it was the wrong carving.

The answers are, from left to right:

- a penguin (by Spencer)
- a princess dress (by Chloe, as requested by Neve)
- a seal (by Chloe)

A new bar of Ivory soap is on its way to Shannon to see what she can come up with. I would ask her to post a picture, but she doesn’t know how to “get pictures on a computer.” But that’s okay; at least she knows her animal shapes. (Jesus? Casper? Wine? I could sort of see Snoopy in the middle one though.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

FM 26

Due to popular demand, I took a picture of the children's soap carvings. Okay the demand wasn't that popular, but I like to tie up loose ends. If anyone can guess what even one of these three objects are, you win an Ivory soap bar to carve as you wish. I should make the prize much more substantial since I seriously doubt you will guess any of them. But I'm not a gambler; I leave that to Dale. I wish I would have done my nails done before taking this picture.

Monday, February 25, 2008

FM 25

This is Neve all teary-eyed when I told her both ee-ee's and her blanky were about to be washed. They may not look dirty on the picture, but in reality they were horrifyingly so. I eventually had to take them away, which I also got a picture of, but it's way too mean to post.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

FM 24

Sometimes it's tough to choose just one photo of the day, so today I didn't try to narrow it down. I'm including pictures from the whole afternoon; though I carried my camera with me all morning, I failed to take a picture of Neve in her first "real" Sunday School class at church (as soon as kids turn three, they are promoted from the babysitting area), or at Cora's, where we went for a delicious brunch with some friends. Or of my nap, which is a shame since I'm sure it would be fun to see me lying in a puddle of drool. So here's our afternoon in pictures.

I was thrilled to get two bunches of tulips on Friday; one from Dale and one from Teresa. Tulips are my favourite flower ever since they represent all that is spring. And the weather today was indeed spring-like. The kids played outside for a long time again this afternoon, which makes me very happy.
After my nap, I made chocolate chip cookies.

Then we went to Jim & Sabrina's for dinner. They made us yummy fancy nachos and we ate until we could eat no more. They're expecting their first baby; the due date is this Wednesday, so we're hoping it'll be an exciting week around here.

Here's a kitty picture for the cat lovers. My children are a bit freaked out by animals, but luckily Jim & Sabrina's cats are very tolerant, especially this one. This is Spencer petting Yoda.

A bit of boxing to burn off the nachos.
And here are the sisters snuggled up together.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

FM 23

I was planning to post a picture today of us at High School Musical on Ice, but I took the picture from a funny angle plus it was very dark, so I felt it wasn't up to my high standard. Which is a shame since I really wanted to post a picture of my beautiful friend Teresa.

But fortunately I took some pictures this morning, so today's picture shows that we have returned to normal winter weather. The kids actually played outside this morning. Since there are no mountains within walking distance, they make do with the deck stairs.

Back to High School Musical, it was a good show and the kids liked it, but the highlight for Spencer was finding $5 on the floor during intermission. The bizarre thing is that he was at Moose game last Sunday with a friend, and he came home all excited because he'd found a $5 bill beside a garbage can on the way out. So in less than a week, at the same arena, he found $10. We're going to start hanging out there more often. I got away with not buying my kids $10 slushies or $20 programs (I know, I'm no fun. But in my defence, I warned them beforehand that if they wanted treats they'd have to buy them with their own money. Somehow their own money is a lot harder to spend on junk than mine is), and then I got a great deal with parking - all the lots near the arena charged $8. I decided to park in the same parkade I park in when I go to work, which is only a block from the arena, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover they only charge $2. And THEN! When I left, the gates were both up, so I didn't have to pay at all. I guess technicially that's dishonest so I shouldn't be bragging about that, but still. In the end, we came out ahead $5. I don't know why this excites me so; I don't think I'm exceptionally frugal or anything, but today I would have made my mother proud. Well, except for the part about leaving the parkade without paying. Or the part where we didn't turn in the $5 to the ticket office. But I bet she'd be beaming at me for not spending $15 on a picture of my children standing beside a cardboard cutout of Zac Efron. Right, Mom? I doubt you're there; you don't quite seem to have mastered 'the email' yet, so you're probably not surfing the 'net.

Friday, February 22, 2008

FM 22

We had a great day today. The kids were off school, and none of us except Dale left the house all day. Chloe & Spencer had some friends over this morning and they all played upstairs the whole time, so it was a quiet morning.

When I was looking through my digital pictures for newborn pictures to post on the blog this morning, Neve was sitting on my lap looking at the pictures with me. The video clip of the C section was on the same disk, so I thought I’d show Neve and see what she’d do. I didn’t really think she’d catch on to what was happening, but she was FREAKING out. She covered her eyes with her hands and said, “Different one! Not that one!” Then she went to hide behind the piano. In the meantime, someone came into the room and was watching as well. I thought it was Chloe, but then I realized it was Chloe’s friend. I think she was a little traumatized. I apologize to her mother, if you’re reading this. She’ll never want to give you a grandchild. Anyway, tonight when I was telling my brother about Neve’s reaction to the video, she said “Never watch that movie again!” I’m guessing she’s not going to be a doctor.

In the afternoon, Chloe and Spencer helped me clean up and then played together the rest of the time. Peace and Harmony were smiling on our household today, and the TV was off the whole day. Neve napped in the afternoon, though I could still hear her talking and playing two hours after she went to bed. I went into her room, and she wanted to get up but she looked so tired that I knew the evening would be a disaster if she didn’t nap. So I threatened to cancel her party if she didn’t sleep, and next thing I knew she was fast asleep. We woke her up just before 6:00 and had sushi for dinner. She was initially uncooperative about changing into her party dress, but Chloe somehow got her to wear it – she is amazing at convincing Neve to do stuff she doesn’t want to do. The dress had matching panties that kept falling down, but she insisted on wearing them. I had bought a little denim jacket to go with the dress, which she refused to wear. I didn’t push it, although without the jacket the dress looks like a cross between an angel costume and a nightgown. Whatever.

We had family and relatives (I guess that’s the same thing) over for cake and a little party in the evening, which was a lot of fun. Neve loved it and went to bed happy and tired, which is just the way it should be.

Birthday dinner

Neve's cousin Bailey made the amazing Pink Ee-ee cake, as per Neve's request. It turned out so good!

She was thrilled with her gifts (though she's still a little concerned about the puppy hat she got) and it was a little tough for her to part with them at bedtime. Those eyes were having a tough time of their own trying to stay open.

Me no two?

This morning when Neve woke up, I went into her room and said happy birthday to her. She said, “Me no two?” I said no. “Me three?” Hard to believe, but our baby is three. I’m having some pangs of sadness that she’s growing up and away from the baby stage and on to the kid stage. Of course, other times I wish she was already 22, so it’s a good thing I’m not in control of her age.

In my sentimentality, I was looking at Neve’s baby book this morning. I actually wrote 12 loose-leaf pages while I was in the hospital with her. So instead of showing you the video of her birth (which most of you have already seen anyway!), here are a few excerpts from three years ago on this day:

Woke up at 3:15 this morning. Tried going back to sleep but a million thoughts were going through my head. Is today the right day, or is the C-section scheduled for Thursday? What should we name the baby? Should I paint the molding in the baby’s room? etc. I lay down in Chloe’s bed (she was at her grandma’s) – sometimes a change helps me fall asleep, but not today.

We left for the hospital at 6:00 a.m. It’s a cool crisp morning. It turned into a sunny day with a high of -11. The streets were deserted and we got to the admitting desk by about 6:20.

They inserted the IV and the catheter and did the epidural. It all went okay, but my blood pressure went quite low so they gave me another medication which made my mouth super dry. Turns out Dr. Taylor thought the C section was at 10:00 (was scheduled for 8:00), so we had to wait while she hurried over. Once she arrived, things moved quickly. They lowered the drape right at the end and I got to see the doctor pull out the baby. She tugged hard and I saw the baby’s head emerge. She gave a little cry while the rest of her body was still inside. Then they pulled out the rest of her and held her up.

Once the baby was cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket, they gave her to Dale and he held her next to me. My stomach was so sore and my shoulder was aching badly (?), so I couldn’t enjoy the moment too much. But I kissed her little head and stroked her cheek. She’s a beautiful baby girl. Her head and skin are perfect. She weighed 7 lbs 12 oz and was born at 9:00 a.m.

This is the newborn photo that people usually don't see. Obviously I have no pride to let you see me like this. (I'm lying down, the picture's not sideways)

By the way, when she got dressed this morning, there were no fights whatsoever! That may be because I told her she could wear whatever she wanted, as long as she changes into her party dress for tonight. But I’m sure she’ll be agreeable about that too. Because she’s THREE!!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

FM 21

This is the sight that greeted me when I woke up this morning and stepped out the french doors of our villa. On the terrace, the servants had set the table with fresh exotic fruit, rich chocolately brownies, and beautiful fresh-cut flowers, the likes of which I have never seen in Vancouver. The air was filled with the intoxicating scent of ocean breezes, citrus fruits, and the brownies of course, all mixed together. And then I woke up for real, still trapped in my frozen winter nightmare. On the positive side, people kept saying how much warmer it felt today. It was -22. The city's gone mad. And who can blame us.

Okay, here's my real moment. Kind of brings me back to earth in a hurry. These are the Lego magazines in Spencer's bedside table/crate that he treasures with all of his heart. Half of them feature borderline demonic cartoons involving demented Lego creatures, but he likes them.

I just got home from a movie - Into the Wild. Juno it was not. Two and a half hours of painfully slow-moving scenes of this guy in Alaska, then he dies. Sorry I didn't give a spoiler warning, but believe me, you welcome his death after hours of waiting for something - anything - to happen. Oh well, three bucks at the cheap theater. I've probably wasted three dollars in much worse ways than that, but I can't think of any right now.

Neve will be three in a matter of minutes. I can't wait until tomorrow morning, when she will happily get dressed in the clothes I have chosen for her, even though the outfit does not include the pink pants that she begs to wear every day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

FM 20

Getting a little jump on things today so no one has to send me a reminder. Chloe did soap carving in school today and was quite excited about it. After much pleading, she finally convinced Spencer to join her in carving up the leftover Ivory bars. We had to send two bars to school, and they only came in a 10-pack at Superstore, so there will be more soap-carving days ahead (our skin is all so alligator-dry that we can't use it for bathing).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

FM 19

After seeing other people's outdoor shots, my goal for today was to take a picture of something not inside my house for a change. Surely there must be beauty to be found on a February day in Winnipeg, I thought. This is what I found - the man in my sister's front yard. I thought of trying to take some creative shots from different angles, but I was too freakin' cold so I just took it from the van. I think today was the worst day yet. That's awesome - when you don't think it can get any colder... WRONG. It can.

And here are Neve's flowers. I fixed most of my mistakes from yesterday, but they're still not perfect, nor will they ever be. Neve is very concerned that the flower on the right only has one leaf. She thinks it should have two. I didn't want everything to be perfectly symmetrical, but it's her room and she has to look at it, so if she keeps mentioning it, I might break down and paint another one. The middle flower looks tiny in relation to its stem and especially its green leaf, but I used the same sponge flower that I used for Chloe's room and one size must fit all. A thought entered my mind today that I should paint a butterfly above the flowers. Luckily I realized that must have come straight from the devil, because I could keep making little changes and adding little caterpillars and changing the colour of the dot in the middle of the flowers for pretty much ever and when I am called to heaven I don't want to tell God that I dedicated most of my life to painting Neve's room. So I took all the paint cans to the basement amd I'm calling that project Done. Except for possibly one more leaf.

And the book hiding place was a success. Tonight I read "All by Myself" (critters book) and a sorry little rhyming Disney Babies book. That one's going to go join its predecessors in their hiding spot.

PS: It seems I made a numbering error - two number 17's. I've jumped to 19.

Monday, February 18, 2008

FM 17 - Happy LR Day

Some people take breathtaking photos of fog on the ocean and artistic shots of cool buildings and creative pictures accompanied by witty stories. I take pictures of my laundry. At least it's clean.

Today we celebrated the new February holiday in Manitoba, Louis Riel day. The day is almost over, yet I still know basically nothing about Louis Riel. I usually try to hide my ignorance, but that gets exhausting sometimes. Many many years ago, Dale & I paid a visit to the Louis Riel heritage homestead in St. Vital and the only thing I remember from that day was a soap-making demonstration. So I’m guessing Louis Riel’s claim to fame is inventing soap. In that case, I think the holiday should be a world-wide one, and not just limited to Manitoba. Though I also seem to remember he was hanged, and it hardly seems logical one would be hanged for inventing soap, so maybe I have my facts wrong. I’m only joking – though putting “I’m only joking” in print goes against everything I stand for: explaining that I’m kidding implies that you aren’t smart enough to tell (which I know you are) and it shows how vain I am that I would be bothered that you think I’m that ignorant. Now I’m making it even worse by explaining all that. I’ll stop. But I still really don’t know the significance of LR.

Anyway, the two older kids spent the night at Dale’s mom’s, which was wonderful because after three days of togetherness (no school on Friday), Fighting, Crying and Whining were running rampant. I’m not a fan of those three. The kids got home just before bedtime, so Dale, Neve & I spent the day together. I did a bunch of work stuff and cleaning and laundry, plus I dabbled around with painting flowers in Neve’s room again (someone please just shoot me already). I’ll try to post pictures of the latest mistake tomorrow. Around 5:00, I was getting a vibe from Louis Riel that he didn’t intend for me to stay in the house all day, so we went to McNally Robinson. But it seems LR told them to close the store for the day, so we went to Safeway instead. We had nachos for supper, then got organized for the week ahead. What an exciting day that was. I can’t wait until next year.

Oh, and tonight I hid Neve's two books behind the curtains in her room, but she found them and made me read them. I know it was a lame hiding spot, but I had to hurry before she saw me. Tomorrow I'm going to hide them in the backyard under two feet of snow.

FM 17

These are the current two books Neve insists that I read before every single nap and bedtime. One time I convinced her to let me read Knuffle Bunny and Knuffle Bunny Too instead, but she freaked when I tried to leave the room without reading the usual two. So I ended up reading four books that time. I am very tired of these, exhausted even, but at least I don't have to read about the &#*$&@% Poky Little Puppy digging a hole under the fence.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

FM 16

I got that book from a Scholastic book order when I was thirteen. Chloe loves it. Sometimes being a packrat pays off.

Friday, February 15, 2008

February Moment 15

Here's Neve getting her Pooh bowl and utensils out of the dishwasher. She insists on having a matching fork & spoon set for every meal. Even if it's just cereal for breakfast, she has to have both. The fork lays beside her bowl. Just another obsessive 2-yr-old habit that will end in 6 days.

I've made it halfway through the challenge. Photo ideas are waning. But I'm having a lot of fun looking at Dan, Siobhan, and Julie's pictures (see links on sidebar), so that's keeping me motivated and inspired.

I was going to add the link to Mobile Maitre'd yesterday, but I forgot. I highly recommend it to anyone who lives within the delivery area.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

FM 14 - Happy Valentines Day!

Only 3 little friends left - they just go down so nice. (Notice how I used the black background trick, Dan?)

Based on the results of my informal Valentines Day survey, it seems most people don’t celebrate Valentines Day. No flowers, no chocolates, nothing. They think it’s too commercial and they don’t want a “made-up holiday” dictating what they do on February 14th. Well, I am bucking that trend. We’ve always done something special on Valentines Day and every year we take our celebrations up a notch. February is such a dismal month, and this year it seems even worse than usual with the inhumane temperatures, so I’m all for taking advantage of any excuse to infuse a little cheer and chocolate into my miserable crossing-off-the-days-til-spring existence. That was a long sentence. My love of Valentines Day started early; my mom would always put a package of cinnamon hearts on everyone’s breakfast plate on V Day. Often she’d send rice krispie squares cut into heart shapes in our lunch kit, and we'd always make Valentines cookies with pink icing and sprinkles and a cinnamon heart in the centre. We’ve started a few of our own traditions, and the kids love Valentines Day as much as I do. I do some decorating at the beginning of February, but the major decorating is done the night before Valentines Day once the kids are asleep. Dale & I hang hearts from the ceiling upstairs outside the kids’ bedroom doors and stick hearts on the walls all the way downstairs to the kitchen. I set the table and sprinkle heart confetti all over and we have chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert (even the dietitian). I always buy the kids chocolate valentines, but this year I set a dangerous new precedent and bought them all gifts too. The kids are on a sugar high by 8:00 a.m. and then we send them off to school. Tonight after we put Neve to bed, the kids watched a movie (they have no school tomorrow) and Dale and I enjoyed a lovely quiet candle-lit dinner. We ordered from Mobile Maitre'd - I wanted to order from Star Grill, but they weren't delivering on Valentines Day so we chose something from Vesuvio. Both our meals were delicious and the kids came through on their promise/bribe not to interrupt us. (When I told them the plan that involved them staying in the basement until the movie was over, they came up with all kinds of scenarios. “But what about if there’s a fire?” “What if the TV tips over and falls on my leg?” What if there’s an earthquake and suddenly the house caves in?” Too bad, I said.)

The valentine spirit continued at work today – we ordered in heart shaped pizza for lunch, everyone wore pink or red, and we had a valentine decorating contest for charity. On a non-valentines note, this afternoon a few co-workers and I took a tour of Versatech Industries, which is a place that employs people with mental disabilities. It was really eye-opening and interesting; they have a plant where the employees assemble all kinds of products from CD covers/cases to camping supplies to vending machine toys. It was really cool to see how happy the workers seemed, and how their job provides purpose and community for people that would be difficult to employ in the regular workforce. I was so moved by the tour; it was really quite amazing.

Anyway, hope everyone had a happy Valentines Day and love and kisses to all of you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

FM 13

It's just the wet swimming lessons stuff hanging up to dry, but I like to pretend that we've just come in for a little break from the sun. The beach in Jamaica can wear a person out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

FM 12

Brown Ee-ee (not the original ee-ee; this one was a Christmas gift) tucked in for the night. He doesn't look sleepy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

War of the stripes

In eleven days, Neve will be three. I am hoping with all my heart that on the morning of February 22nd, she will wake up magically transformed into a logical, reasonable girl. Because she’s wearing me out. Our biggest problems involve clothes. If we’re staying home or just running errands, I just look the other way and let her wear whatever she wants. But sometimes she decides she doesn’t want to wear pants (no skirt or tights either – just bare legs). When my opinion fails to change her mind, things get ugly. As tempted as I am to just let her go outside in -30 C weather (not sure what that is in Farenheit) with bare legs, I’m scared someone will report me and I’ll be charged with failure to provide the necessities of life. After listening to her scream for five minutes straight, it’s my best interests I’m more concerned about than hers. There have been several mornings where I’ve had to forcibly put pants on her. One morning she fought so hard that Spencer and Chloe each had to hold one of her arms so I could get her dressed. We’ve started choosing her clothes the night before to avoid morning battles, which seems to help a bit. But this evening she chose a blue striped shirt and pink striped pants and purple polka dot socks. It was a bad bad combination. Even Chloe said “Oh dear!” when she came into Neve’s room to see what the fuss was about. Since we have playgroup in the morning, I told her she could wear either the pants OR the shirt with a different partner. That wasn’t at all what she had in mind. After ten minutes of negotiating and crying and trying to find other clothing options, she finally agreed to compromise (the outfit is still a bit scary) when I told her she could change into head-to-toe stripes as soon as we got home. Then suddenly she was happy and crawled into bed. “Me all done pyin’,” she said. (pying=crying). I’m gearing up for the footwear battle in the morning. And though she has three cute winter jackets in the closet, she has insisted on wearing the exact same one every single day of the entire (endless) winter. By the time we’re that close to getting out the door, I’ve got no energy left for the jacket issue. The silver one is fine. I can handle it for eleven more days.

FM 11

We would have been on time for school if it hadn't been for this. It was my carpool morning too - sorry, Shannon.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

FM 10

This is what I woke up to this morning.

I was so determined to ignore the weather and make no mention of it, but I failed. I will continue my failing streak by posting a second shot. Here's Dale after a pleasant evening stroll. And we don't even have a dog. He's pretty much in the same category as the people who ride their bicycles in this weather. I don't know whether to admire them or run them over.

FM 9

Chloe writing out her Valentine cards.

Friday, February 08, 2008

FM #8

We had a fun-filled day today, full of activities like storytime at the bookstore, visiting Chloe's class at lunch to be the guest reader, a trip to the Childen's Museum with friends after school, followed by McDonald's and a stop at Toys R Us. And the picture of the day is Neve in the bathroom at the Children's Museum. I had my camera with me everywhere, but this is the only time I thought of taking a picture. I regret not taking one at the Toys R Us bathroom. Spencer suddenly needed a bathroom desperately, but since I had Neve and unpaid merchandise in my cart, I didn't want to go in with him. So he decided to use the male bathroom, which I'm sort of uncomfortable with at the best of places, never mind at Toys R Us, where is the first place I would go if I was a pedophile. But the store was basically deserted and I was right beside the bathroom door, so I thought it would be fine. A minute after Spencer goes in, two roughish-looking boys about 13 years old go into the washroom. Then one of them comes out. Then he goes back in. Then the other one comes out. He says to me, "The boy in there is teasing the other boy. He's telling him to use the girls bathroom." I'm already feeling very uncomfortable about the whole situation, so I open the door and ask Spencer if he's okay. He says yeah, and he sounds totally fine. Then the teenager goes back in. I want to go running in there to see what's going on, but I don't want to leave Neve because maybe the whole situation is a ploy to distract me so someone can kidnap her. I'm about to start screaming for a staff member when Spencer comes out, all fine and happy. I asked what went on in there, and he tells me HE was the one who told the teenager to go use the girls bathroom because both stalls were taken. I thought that was funny, but there was still something odd about those boys. We saw them in the store later and there was definitely suspicious behaviour going on. Maybe they were just shoplifting, or more likely, maybe they were just being normal teenagers and I'm a paranoid, nervous mother who watches too much Law & Order.

I put links on the sidebar to some other blogs who are meeting the photo-a-day challenge, plus a few others that I read. The Livesay blog is a family from Minnesota who lives in Haiti, doing mission work. They are amazing and Tara, who writes the blog, is my hero. I've never met them, but I'm pretty sure they really do exist. If you want to be added or subtracted from the Links list, let me know.

I'm sorry

If I was energetic enough to have a cause, I would start the Apology movement. As I say over and over and over (Dale would agree, with a bit of eye-rolling), the world would be a better place if people would just say sorry. I’m not talking about the Canadian politeness gene that makes us automatically apologize when someone bumps into us, although I believe there's nothing wrong with that. My cause would focus primarily on people in the service industry, who could make everyone’s life more pleasant by just saying those two little syllables. As an example, the kids had dress-as-your-favourite-book-character day the other day. It’s like the Christian Halloween. Spencer wanted to be Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean (liberties were taken with the “book” part). We pulled together most of his costume from the dress up box, but he wanted the Jack Sparrow hair/bandana look. I called Party Stuff and asked if they had any pirate hair or wigs. “Oh yes,” I was told. “We have several different styles, ranging from $20-$30. (side note: this is more than I really wanted to spend on pirate hair, but my kids often have the lamest costumes and I thought maybe they would love me more if I tried harder). So we piled into the van and drove to Party Stuff. There is no pirate hair to be found. I ask a staff person. She says, no, they’re all out of stock. To make a long, seemingly pointless story short, she doesn’t care. ALL SHE NEEDED TO DO WAS TO SAY, “OH, I’M SORRY!” and I would have shrugged my shoulders and said “That’s okay, I like this $4.99 bandana-like hat better anyway.” But instead, I argued with her and kept telling her what the person had just told me on the phone, and just generally acted pouty and childish. She could have avoided the whole situation if she’d just apologized for the inconvenience. And this holds true for so many situations. I can forgive almost anything if I get a seemingly genuine apology. I’m going to start a customer service training company, and this will be my only lesson: Even if you don’t mean it, even if it’s not your fault, even if the customer is totally ignorant and wrong, just pretend you’re sorry and say it like you mean it. I’m trying to teach this to my kids too, but I read somewhere they learn by example. If only those customer service people did a better job. Because none of this applies to me.

But what got me on this topic in the first place was this great article I read in today’s paper. While it's more regarding the legal aspect of apologizing, it validates a lot of things I believe. In the second last paragraph it says: Apologies go a long way in helping grieving patients and families understand what happened. In some instances, an apology can also reduce or eliminate a wrongful death claim.

If an apology can go so far as to eliminate a wrongful death claim, imagine what it could have done for me and my feelings toward the Party Stuff lady.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

FM #7

This is where I spend my Thursdays.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

FM #6

They're not the classic chocolate chip ones, but they did the job as today's after-school snack.

This picture-a-day thing is harder than I thought. Some days it's hard to pick just one, and other days it's hard to find anything worth posting. But it saves me from having to write anything intelligent and it's kind of fun. I challenge those of you who have blogs (secret or public) to try it. I'd love to see your shots.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

FM #5

This photo is reflective of how we all feel around here. Winter boredom and stir-craziness have set in and we're cursing ourselves and our finances for not planning a winter vacation. I felt so smug that we'd made it through January with our sanity intact, but how could I have forgotten about February?

Monday, February 04, 2008

FM # 4

The after school trudge from the garage to the house

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Feb. Moment #3

Spencer watching video clips on

I'm pleased to report that I do have real friend(s); Darla & I are going to see Juno tonight. If you want to join us, let me know.

And after feeling like I was swallowing razor blades for four long days, my sore throat is finally better today and I can speak audibly. Neve is relieved; the last few days she kept asking me, "You happy, Mommy?" She thinks I'm mad when I'm quiet. If noise equals happiness, I'm not going to feel bad about yelling at the kids anymore.

February Moment #2

Thought it's not exactly an everyday kind of moment, today's* picture is of Dale making apple crisp.

*I know technically it's already Sunday, but the picture was taken on Saturday, so that counts.

Friday, February 01, 2008

February Moment #1

Neve's room - almost done



My painted flower is still on the wall (above - look closely). I thought I’d get some more opinions on it before I paint over it (one leaf hasn’t been filled in yet). I am 99.9% leaning towards painting over it, but please tell me what you think. And you can be totally honest because you know how I really feel.

While I’m photographing room d├ęcor, I thought I’d show you some of the artwork in Spencer’s room. First is his new door sign (front and back) which Chloe put up one day when Spencer would not cooperate with her plans. And the green one is a lovely gun that Spencer drew. If anyone covets this picture, I’m sure he’d be pleased to draw more.

I’m going to try a new thing for February. Not the New Thing, which has fallen by the wayside, but something else. I’m copying this idea from another blogger, who copied it from another blogger. They call it 30 Tiny Moments, and the idea is to post a photo every day for 30 days. It’s supposed to be an un-staged, un-Photoshopped, ordinary moment of your day. So I’m going to give it a shot for all of February. We’ll see how that goes. I apologize in advance for my terrible photography skills (especially to the professional photographer blog readers); I’m sure the person who started this did it because she takes beautiful, insightful photos. I’m a hack in pretty much every way, so bear with me. Now I just need a natural unscripted moment to capture. Hopefully my quest won't fail on the very first day.