Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We seem to be past the busy part of Christmas and are now coasting through to the new year. We spent the 25th with Dale’s family, then went to my parents on the 26th-27th. The kids had lots of fun with all their cousins, and it was nice family time all around. I’ve enjoyed not making a single meal since Christmas Eve, which hardly counts because it was a fondue and actually Dale did everything. I’m optimistic about the rest of the week too; the kids are going to my parents tomorrow for a couple of days and Dale and I are going out for dinner both nights. If no one cooks for me, I just eat chocolate instead. I can’t even believe how much Toblerone I’ve eaten. And the only exercise I’ve done is playing Wii, and yes, that does count because I have been sore for two days since playing some Sword Fighting game. I put my heart and soul into swinging that sword; I am just looking for a chance to use my skills in a real life situation. Anyway, as long as I’m wearing my stretchy pants, there’s really no problem with my lifestyle.

Yesterday Chloe and I spent a couple of hours cleaning her room. Despite removing two tote boxes of clothes, a full garbage bag, a pumpkin, and two squash (not joking), the difference is not visible to the naked eye. However, there are no longer clothes exploding out of the drawers and I am hoping that having a place for everything will encourage her to keep her room tidier. I’m not holding my breath; that girl is a borderline hoarder. She finds it difficult to throw out things like tags from new clothes, cue cards from a speech she did in grade four, and socks with giant holes. It was not easy to convince her that the squash had to go either. It was starting to smell. If they ever do a Junior Hoarders show, she would be a perfect candidate. It seemed to bother her when I suggested she had the makings of a hoarder, so I will use that to my advantage.

After all that cleaning, Chloe and I – along with every single person in Southern Manitoba - went to Polo Park. The lines were long, the deals were unexciting, and my coat was hot, so we didn’t last long. After that, we went to see Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakwel. I actually kind of liked it, but my expectations were very, very low, so don’t take that as a recommendation.

I un-decorated today; the Christmas tree is in the backyard and the totes of decorations are all packed away. I’m always kind of sad to take it all down, but it’s like ripping off a band-aid; you don’t really want to do it, but it’s a relief when it’s over. I’m all into the organizational mode now; Chloe’s gone all day tomorrow, so I might take another crack at her room and then it’s on to the next room.

Here are a few more Christmas pictures.

(trudging across the Tundra to go sliding)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

We just finished our usual Christmas Eve festivities…the children opened their main presents from us and exchanged gifts with each other. The kids seemed pleased with their gifts, but it really wasn’t a banner year for anyone. The iPod and Nintendo DS from last year were hard to top. Santa will be coming shortly to fill the stockings for Christmas morning, so I’m just waiting around hoping to catch a glimpse of him.

Sadly, I haven’t had “that Christmas feeling” this year. I don’t know what it was – the lack of snow, being super busy all month, turning 40, or who knows what – but the Christmas spirit just hasn’t materialized this year. I don’t remember that ever happening before. We’ve done all the usual Christmas-y things like reading Christmas books, going to Christmas concerts and services, listening to Christmas music, spending time with friends and family, plus a few quiet evenings at home. The funny thing is Dale feels the same way, and on the way home from the candlelight service tonight, Spencer said the same thing. Dale and I hadn’t mentioned our lack of Christmas spirit to him at all, but out of the blue he said, “Christmas doesn’t feel special this year; today just feels like Thursday.” (but somehow, he was still very excited about opening presents).

I had a brief flicker of Christmas peace and joy at the candlelight service, but it was difficult with Neve making a scene because she wanted to go home and get different shoes. She wore her boots by mistake; she meant to wear her “pretty shoes.” I had to threaten to phone Santa at the church service. Something about that seemed a bit wrong, but it worked and the fussing stopped. Anyway, the lack of Christmas spirit is disappointing. A friend was telling me how she was stressed out and fighting a cold; she was at Costco buying last minute things for a party she was hosting that night, when suddenly she got the Christmas spirit and her mood totally changed. I kept hoping that would suddenly happen to me. I should have asked her what aisle she was in.

I had this brilliant idea back in November that we would do “12 days of nice things” for other people and I was lamenting today that we hadn’t done one single thing. Spencer, who always tries to make me feel better, said, “Well, I guess that’s not what’s it’s all about, hey?” That probably is exactly the missing piece. Oh well. Spirit or no spirit, there is still a lot of fun to be had and a lot to be thankful for. We’ve got a busy few days ahead with family celebrations followed by some relaxing days at home, which is just the mix I like. I wish you all a very merry Christmas, and hope your hearts are overflowing with joy and peace and love!!

Went on a sleigh ride at Birds Hill this morning in the lightly falling snow, followed by a wiener roast and hot chocolate. If that couldn't get my heart to feel Christmas-y, there's no hope.

And by popular demand, a picture from the birthday party:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

40 and finally finished shopping

I didn’t want to blog again until I could say I was completely done my shopping. I missed my deadline by a week, but it’s all good. Actually it wasn’t that good last night when I spent two hours going to every single store in the Polo Park area, looking for my one last gift with no success. In desperation, five minutes before the stores closed, I found something. It was more than I wanted to spend, but by that point, I would have traded the van for a gift. It’s probably not worth more than $62 anyway. Just kidding, Silhouette, we love you and even though we just spent $700 on you last week, you’re worth every penny. We wish you much health and happiness. Anyway, I was happy with my gift (sorry to be so vague - Christmas secrets …), but I felt rushed by the store guy who kept looking at his watch. As I was paying, I wished I’d chosen a different colour, but I didn’t have the nerve to halt the transaction while someone was standing at the door, waiting to lock it behind me. So I had to run back this morning for a quick exchange. And NOW I am officially done. I'm just waiting for someone to ask me if I am.

And I’m officially 40. Spencer said yesterday, “It’s strange how you can go from being young one day, and then the next day you’re old.” In his mind, 40 is where old starts. Oh well, I feel the same as I did when I was 20, so I don’t really care. It helps that Dale has been 40 for a few years; I’ve gotten used to the sound of it. Dale threw a lovely party for me Saturday night. He had help; my sister and my niece cleaned the house last Thursday night while I was at Spencer’s Christmas concert, which was the best surprise ever; Teresa gave Dale lots of guidance and baked the most amazing birthday cakes ever, Rob organized the drinks and bartending, others brought food and wine and Dale’s mom kept the kids overnight. There’s lots more, but I’ll stop there before I forget someone (forty-year-old minds aren’t the sharpest – don’t believe what you’ve heard about “older and wiser”).

It’s been a nice day so far; the kids and I went bowling this morning, which was very fun (really). Everyone was happy and cooperative, and our hour was up before we knew it. Teresa and her kids came over this afternoon, and tonight Dale and the kids and I are going out for dinner. My mom and sister took me out for lunch yesterday to a new restaurant in Osborne Village called Kawaii Crepe. It was so good that we’re going to go back tonight. I was too full to have a sweet crepe yesterday, so today I’m going to skip the “savoury” crepe and go straight to dessert. When you’re 40, you can do whatever you want.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The stockings were hung....

I'm so excited to finally have someplace to hang stockings!

I see I blogged 21 times in November, and once (before this post) in December. So much for the theory that once you do something 30 days in a row, it becomes a habit. I blame the usual December whirlwind of children’s Christmas concerts (FOUR this year), shopping, baking, Christmas letter-sending, parties, etc. I won’t go into detail about the busy-ness, but please know I haven’t been ignoring anyone on purpose.

My goal was, and still is, to be finished my shopping by December 15th. That happens to be today. I am SO close to being done. After I drop Chloe off at gymnastics tonight, I am going to make a few stops and hopefully finish things up completely. I don’t want to be one of those people who say, “Yeah, I’m pretty much done, just a couple of little things to pick up.” I want to say, “YES! I’m 100% finished!” And then I want to stay away from all retail outlets, no matter how tempting their “50% OFF EVERYTHING!!” window signs are.

I’ve done all of my shopping in little snippets – an hour here, an hour there. It’s not as overwhelming as spending a whole day shopping, and if things aren’t going well, I just go home and try again next time. However, I’ve taken Neve with me on some quick stops after I pick her up from school. She obviously doesn’t believe that Santa will bypass her stocking if she’s naughty. Because she’s been Something Else lately. We have at least one good tantrum a day, sometimes more. Yesterday, she kicked and screamed for about ten minutes in the van for no good reason. Well, okay, the reason was that she wouldn’t put on her mitts when I told her to, but then she changed her mind and told me to close my eyes and count to ten and there’d be a surprise. I counted to ten, waited a second, then opened my eyes. She had one mitt on, and was working on the other, and she was FURIOUS that I had looked before she was ready. She sat down in the middle of the parking lot and screamed. I liked that a lot, especially since it was about minus 50 and I had to carry her angry little body to the van while carrying lots of other things. I decided to punish myself further by stopping at Superstore to get a few things. I let her pick a Yop, and she couldn’t decide between raspberry, strawberry or banana. She asked if she could pick two, which was fine, and we started on our way. Suddenly she stops and says, “I want the strawberry instead.” So she runs backs and exchanges it for the raspberry. But it’s still not right. She breaks down and starts crying, “I don’t know which one to choose!” No amount of reasoning helps. That’s happened a few times lately, with clothing choices, etc. and I’m not sure what to do about it. It’s like she’s having an anxiety attack. Anyway, we eventually made it home and I realized she’d lost her hat. I didn’t look too thoroughly; I thought it would show up in the van or in a bag or somewhere. Later that night, I went to Superstore again for something else. I passed the hats & mitts section and thought I may as well pick up a hat for Neve. Even if we found the other one, it’s good to have an extra. And wouldn’t you know, there in the hat section, was Neve’s hat. Not just one like it (we bought it at Superstore last year), but her very hat. It had no tag and was obviously worn, and was the only one like it. It must have gotten lost in the store, and someone put it with the other hats. I explained the situation to the saleslady and she seemed to believe me, so it all worked out. Anyway, as soon as my shopping is finished, I hope to have more patience for tantrums and decision-making issues, and more attention for the children in general (which will probably prevent some of the tantrums).

The van seems to enjoy visiting the mechanic around Christmas, and this year is no exception. I had to take it in today for an emergency brake fluid refill, and Dale’s taking it back in on Thursday to determine where the leak is coming from. This is most inconvenient; it’s hard enough coordinating our schedules these days, never mind with one vehicle. I was just planning to buy the van an air freshener for Christmas; looks like it has something more expensive in mind.

The kids are getting very excited for Christmas. We have a Knight Playmobil advent calendar this year, with little boxes that the children take turns opening. It’s not the most festive thing – some boxes contain spears or other medieval weapons, some contain fire, and some I have no clue what it is. Maybe next year we’ll do the nativity one.

I overheard this conversation between the girls today:

Neve: Chloe, what did you get me for Christmas?

Chloe: I’m not saying.

Neve: Just trick me.

Chloe: Okay, I got you a snake.

Neve: NOOOO! Something else! Like a princess dress.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Costco and the Nice Lady

December 2nd and still no snow on the ground. There are a few flakes falling right now, so that situation could change soon. I went for a run this morning (I guess you can do that in snow too, but I prefer not to), Neve's still riding her bike to school, and we still haven't had to deal with the winter boot crisis that always happens the first snowy day. With three kids in the house, someone is always outgrowing their footwear, no matter how recently they've tried them on.

Our tree is still not decorated. I finally got the lights on it yesterday and after that ordeal I was in no mood to listen to soft Christmas music, sip on apple cider, and reminisce about past Christmases as we tenderly hang our special little ornaments on the tree. I felt like drinking hard liquor, screaming at the top of my lungs and banging my head against a wall (in that order). Okay it wasn't that bad, but I was in a pretty foul mood. So instead I went Christmas shopping, which did nothing to improve my attitude. I have much shopping left to do, and it's all the aimless, no-clue-what-to-buy type of shopping. But something nice happened to me at Costco, so it wasn't all bad. I was about to pay when I realized I didn't have my bank card. Dale often takes my bank card because his doesn't work (so he says) and this time, he forgot to give it back. They don't take Visa, so I was trying to think of what to do, while thinking very bad thoughts about Dale in my head.

Then the woman in line behind me comes right up to me, and quietly says, "I'll get it for you."

I thought she was thinking I didn't have a membership and was offering to put it through under her membership card. I said, "But I don't have any money."

"I know," she said. "But you only have a few things."

I told her I couldn't let her do that, but she seemed disappointed that I didn't accept her offer. It all ended up working out because I remembered I could get a cash advance on my Visa from the ATM (too bad about the interest that is accruing at an astronomical rate as I type this). But I couldn't believe a stranger would really buy me $54 worth of stuff at Costco. When I got home (after he gave me back my bank card), Dale and I were discussing the situation. If it had been him, he wouldn't have let her pay either, but he made a point that fifty bucks isn't a big deal to a lot of people, and it would probably have made the woman feel really good. If I had just needed a dollar, I would have accepted it, but it just seemed wrong to make her pay for chocolate chips, a DS game, and chicken. Maybe if it had been diapers or insulin or any other necessity of life.

What do you think? Would you have let her pay?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Santa 2009

Neve woke up completely cured on Friday morning. That was a nice surprise because the last time she was sick, it took two weeks until she was herself again (and then she got sick again). I had a full day planned since the kids were off school on Friday, but I modified it because I knew Neve would still need her nap and an early bedtime. We made two kinds of cookies, went to parent teacher interviews (I made it to all three within 45 minutes at two different schools), saw Santa at Polo Park, and had a movie night with Chloe and Spencer after putting Neve to bed.

Santa was happy to see us, although I thought he made some promises that he shouldn’t have. Whatever - let him be the bad guy. We always go see Santa early in the season so that we either have time to buy the item the children ask him for, or if that’s not possible, that the children will have forgotten what they asked for.

On Saturday night, we went to see Stomp with Jim and Sabrina. It was a great show with lots of action and stomping going on. We also went to a new restaurant downtown called Hermano’s and to Eva’s for gelati after (chocolate cheesecake flavour …mmmm), so it was a fun night out all around.

We had our first snow yesterday (except for that one in October). There’s still a very thin layer hanging around today, but I’m hoping it will melt. I could be happy with a green Christmas. But the snow was good for nudging my Christmas spirit. I normally don’t decorate until December first, but every year it seems people are decorating earlier and earlier. Since I’m always one to jump on the bandwagon, I got our tree today. It still needs to fully open, but I think it will be okay.

And now I must get some sleep for another busy week ahead. I’m hoping I can find some time to buy some gifts. Every night of the week is filled; my shopping might end up being just one expensive stop at the gift card display at 7-11.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Obsessed with the squirrel

My carefully orchestrated plans for this week all crumbled to dust when Neve was sent home sick from school yesterday. It was busy enough to begin with, never mind with a whimpering sick child who prefers that I never leave her sight. The kids rarely get sick so this has been a bad fall for us. This is the second time Neve’s been sick; both times she’s had all the textbook H1N1 symptoms. So there goes the theory that it’s automatically H1N1 whenever certain symptoms are present; as far as I know you can’t get it twice. It’s probably just the starting-school germs that she’s been protected from until now. Thank goodness it’s not a throwing-up kind of sickness. Those make me cry.

So I’m home from work today, which gave me an excellent opportunity to monitor my neighbour’s dryer vent. This is what I happened to see:

Siobhan, do you think Joan would find that cute? I am both horrified and fascinated by the whole situation. So I video taped it. It’s 45 seconds, but it's worth watching, especially around the 25-second mark. I watched it quite a few times. Obviously my life is lacking some excitement. I hope Neve gets better soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 1 of the rest of my life

Our little Dale turned 43 yesterday. We didn’t do much to celebrate, but he did get two cakes out of the deal. Actually one was a strawberry trifle and one was biscuits with whipped cream and raspberries. I did bake a cake too, but it turned out funny and only Spencer ate it. We bought Dale an iPhone, which he said was his second-best birthday present ever, so I’m happy with that. Neve was with me when we bought it, so I told her not to tell Dale what we got him. She is surprisingly good at keeping secrets, so I wasn’t too worried. But she wanted to trick him and tell him we were getting him a watch. We practiced a little conversation where she loudly whispered in front of Dale, “Mommy, can I tell Daddy we’re getting him a watch?” I pretended to gasp and shush her. It played out perfectly and Dale was sure he was getting a watch (he wasn’t disappointed; he didn’t really want a watch). She’s got a funny little spark to her.

Where do we look and why is Neve under the table?

The kids had swimming lessons in the evening, which is not the ideal way to spend a birthday, but Neve jumped off the low diving board for the first time, Spencer jumped off the high diving board (he did it a few years ago, but had trouble summoning the courage to do it again), and Chloe got her certificate for completing the whole swim program (she’s interested in the lifeguard program, so she’ll probably continue lessons for that in the future). So there was lots of excitement and everyone got a slurpee on the way home, just before bed. The kids wisely pretended to fall asleep quickly in order to improve the chances of this ever happening again.

I spent three hours at a First Aid course tonight. I’ve wanted to take it for years, and a good opportunity presented itself through the Teen Mom group I volunteer with. I got queasy and dizzy just watching people do CPR on dummies, so I suspect I’m in for a treat on Thursday when we learn more gruesome and graphic stuff. I’ve now officially ruled out being a nurse when I grow up.

And a final tidbit of happy news for those who haven’t heard … Corinna had a beautiful baby girl early Sunday morning. I have yet to see baby Anna in person, but the pictures I’ve seen are pretty impressive. Since this is her first daughter after two boys, I’m sure people will be flooding her with pink gifts. I want to think of something more original, but it’s hard to resist the pull of buying tiny pink baby things.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

DAY 30!!

I feel like there should be balloons and fanfare celebrating the end of the 30 day challenge. But alas, there's not. I don't even have a fun or dramatic announcement.

I had a good day today though, and am feeling more optimistic than I have in a while. I went to work for a few hours this morning, then picked up Neve from school and worked from home the rest of the day. Neve had a friend over for lunch, and they played cutely (?) together. This girl got her finger stuck in the door at school a couple of weeks ago and part of it come off. Her medical bandage happened to come off while she was here, so I had to try to bandage up the wound with a My Little Pony bandaid. It was not very successful, but she was a good sport about it.

Tonight I went to my teen moms group at church. We had a car rally, which involved collecting things around the neighbourhood. Our high point was the stealing of a construction pylon (which I made Chloe put back on our way home). Chloe came along to help with childcare for the first time. There were a lot of kids this week and I felt overwhelmed just walking into the babysitting room, but she said it went well. I have no idea where she gets her calmness and patience from. It's good to know kids don't learn by example. All the parenting books are wrong.

Out of the blue today, Neve told me, "You're a star! I love you." That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me all week. Now I feel guilty for calling her a whiny black cloud yesterday. She is VERY excited about four upcoming events and has been talking about them all week: it's her show and tell day tomorrow (she's been bringing Ee-ee to school in her backpack every day for three weeks just in case it's suddenly her show and tell day), we're going to a friend's for lunch tomorrow, we're going to another friends' house for dinner, and she has a playdate at yet another friend's on Saturday. It's disheartening that the four year old has a busier social life than I do, but I guess that's what happens when you're not weighed down by folding laundry or cleaning toilets. I get to tag along on two of the outings, so I can't complain.

And that concludes my 30 days. You either won't hear from me again for a week, or I'll still be in the habit and blog every day. It will be a surprise. Thanks for reading, everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 29

I zipped out to a couple of stores this morning, and in half an hour I was home with FOUR Christmas presents. Sadly, three of them are just partial gifts so I can only cross one name off my list. Nevertheless, buoyed by my success, I went shopping again after dinner and came home with less than I left home with (I did a return). "Oh snap!" I said to myself.

Today is a certain someone's birthday. Unfortunately not Corinna's baby (though he/she still has a couple of hours which could be spent making it so) .... but almost as exciting (probably not to Corinna) : our little Siobhan! Happy Birthday! I hope you had a fantastic day on your magical little coastal island. I bet there are lovely nursing homes overlooking the ocean and the haunted wood.

I don't know if it's still related to having been sick, but Neve has been an angry, unreasonable little black cloud lately. When I woke her up from her nap to go get the kids from school, she was extra irritable. She has recently grown self-conscious about others seeing her blanky, especially kids she wants to impress. This was our conversation all the way to pick the kids (mine plus Shannon's children) up from school today:

Neve: Will Sofi (carpool girl) see my blanket?

Me: Probably.

Neve: But I don't want her to.

Me: Well, put it beside you then.

Neve: But I want to hold it.

Me: Hold it then.

Neve: But then Sofi will see it.

Me: So? She won't care.

Neve: I don't want her to see it. Will she?

Me: No.

Neve: Will she?

Me: Yes.

Neve: I don't want her to. Will she?

Me: No.

Neve: Yes she will.

You have to imagine Neve's part in the whiniest voice ever heard by human ears, and the length of the conversation multiplied by twenty. I know my answers don't really make sense, but Sense was not present. We had to wait for a train and I felt like ramming into it. In the end, Neve held the blanky on her lap and as I suspected, Sofi paid no attention to it whatsoever.

My computer is painfully slow tonight and it's driving me crazy, so I'm going to find something else to do instead.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 28 - Picture Tuesday

Now that my laptop is set up in the study, I sit and stare out the garden doors at my backyard pretty much all day. Any little flicker of movement distracts me from my work, but that's okay because I have this cheery little fellow to look at. I'm being sarcastic; I am very wary of squirrels and their sharp little teeth and claws. They freak me out ever since we had a problem with them in our attic and Dale had to crawl up there and nail chicken wire over the vents and put out a margarine container lid smeared with poisoned peanut butter that rotted the rodents from the inside out. It was all successful, if you count finding a half-decomposed squirrel lying near the attic access hatch (some time later) successful. I'm sorry if that was too graphic; I'm sure the squirrel died peacefully and painlessly, with maybe a flicker of curiousity about the odd aftertaste of the peanut butter.
Anyway, whenever I see the squirrel I take a picture just for something to do. Notice how tense and unhappy he looks in the last picture. I think he needs a squirrel massage. Or a hug. Or some poison peanut butter.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 27

I'm on the home stretch now! Only three more days! I feel sorry for all of you that I've had nothing interesting to write for 27 whole days. I've felt unmotivated and directionless all month; I would blame it on dreary November days, but the weather has been unseasonably beautiful and sunny. I've been mostly sticking to my set work hours the last two weeks, so being overworked and stressed isn't the problem either. I don't know what my problem is. I'm trying to tell myself I just need a more positive attitude, but it's not working. I am trying to spend more quality time with the kids (because older and wiser people always say that they wish they'd spent more time with their children when they were young), but playing Chinese checkers and reading Harry Potter aloud gets tiresome after a while too. Oh well, at least I've written that down to prove I spent time with them. No regrets here (that I'll admit). I think I just need something exciting to look forward to.

Speaking of looking forward to something, our Corinna is anxiously awaiting the birth of her baby, who was due five days ago. I guess he/she is pretty happy where he/she is, and is in no hurry to make an appearance. I remember being eleven days overdue (with Chloe) like it was yesterday, so I feel for her and her seemingly never-ending pregnancy. But luckily for me, she's passing her time with Word Twist and she is proving the brain-cell-loss-during-pregnancy theory very wrong. She is on fire. Anyway, I hope the baby decides to enter this world very soon and I hope Corinna can access Facebook from the hospital.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 26

Top 3 things about today:
  • A long, deep-sleep nap. I haven't had a nap in weeks, so it felt like Christmas and my birthday all rolled up into one warm, lazy, drooly bundle.
  • Eating salt & vinegar chips while watching Brothers & Sisters
  • Not having to watch the clock and having nothing scheduled all day (except church and dance class, the latter of which went better than usual).

A relaxing day like this always makes me feel like the week ahead is more manageable. I have high hopes for a productive, fun, and non-hectic week ahead.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 25

I missed my third blog post yesterday. But I only have five days to go, so I think I can make it. I was at a course all day yesterday, then went to Darla’s for her annual bake exchange party, so I was away from the computer all day.

Today was another busy day. Chloe hosted Storytime this morning. She ended up having six participants (counting Neve) plus an extra helper, so it turned out great. The kids were all very cooperative and Chloe was pleased with how it went.

I spent a very unproductive afternoon at the mall, desperate for something new to wear. I tried on a bunch of things, but I’m trying to only buy clothes I love and I couldn’t find anything that filled that requirement. I haven’t bought any new clothes for a long, long time. I am considering changing my goal to only buying clothes I don’t hate.

Then we went to watch the Santa Claus parade from the boardroom at my office. It’s not quite the same atmosphere as being out in the streets, but we made up for that by eating ourselves silly and feeling warm. Treehouse was on the big screen TV so Neve and her neighbour friend basically watched that the whole time rather than the parade. But at least they saw Santa arrive. I guess that means it’s officially Christmas.

We sent the children home with Janet and the girls, and Dale and I rushed off to meet friends for dinner at Step’N Out for Lorie’s birthday dinner. Had a great time and the food was amazing. This picture is very similar to one taken this spring. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have something new to wear.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 24


Chloe's next storytime session is this Saturday, Nov. 14th from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. If there are any 2-5 year olds* interested in coming, let Chloe know (by commenting, emailing or phoning).

Cost is $3 per child or $5 for two.

*There is flexibility in the age requirement

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 23

It felt odd having a Sunday right in the middle of the week. It completely threw me off, but I made good use of it. We cleaned the house and raked the yard, plus I got a lot of Chamber work done. It was actually Dale who did most of the cleaning and raking while I sat at the computer. The only fun thing I did today was go for brunch at the Forks with Chloe and some other female relatives in honour of my niece Tia's 13th birthday.

I can't think of one other thing to say about this day. Except that we (my family and I) really need to go do something fun for a change.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 22 - Picture Tuesday

Chloe the gymnast

I would have to be rushed to the hospital (or worse) if I tried this.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Day 21

I spent a very large part of today setting up my new printer. I thought it would just be a matter of plugging in a few cables, but it’s never that easy. Besides installing the software, since it’s a wireless printer, I needed a network security code from MTS. After many hours on hold or waiting for a call-back, I finally got the information I needed and a mere twelve hours later, the printer is now ready to go. I just printed my very first photo and I’m quite pleased with the quality.

I also set up a new workstation in the study today. It will be nice to have the kitchen counter computer-free. My desk/table blocks the garden doors, so this is a cold-weather situation only. I keep threatening to expropriate the craft closet in the playroom to use as my permanent workspace, but so far I haven’t followed through. I really prefer working on the main floor though, and it was pleasant watching our bunny and the squirrels frolicking in the backyard as I waited on hold all day.

Right after school today, the kids and I went to watch a high school volleyball game. My exchange student "niece" from Germany (she lives at my sister’s) is on the team. It was an awesome best-of-5 match. The other team won the first two games, and then we won the next two. At that point, we had to leave for swimming lessons. The games were all close and it was exciting to watch. They ended up winning the last game by two nerve-wracking points, so I was very sorry I couldn’t have stayed to the end. To make matters worse, Neve is still fussy, clingy, and tired all the time because of her sickness, Chloe is still worn out from hers, and Spencer just has a bad attitude, so by the time we zipped home to get our swimming stuff, everyone was in full meltdown mode. Dale worked tonight so I was on my own with getting the kids to swimming lessons, and I’ve been stuffed up and headache-y all day, so I decided to skip swimming lessons for the second week in a row. I hate doing that, but I knew it would all get very ugly. So all three children were bathed and in bed by 7:30. That felt good. Oh right, my point was that if I had known that’s how the evening would have turned out, I would have stayed to watch the last volleyball game. But, as I told Spencer in my attitude-adjustment speech before bed, when things don’t go like you want them to, you just have to get over it and move on (or I’ll confiscate his DS).

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Day 20

Neve goes to a Leisure Guide dance class on Sundays. My friends (whose daughters are also in the class) and I sit there and cringe the whole time. The teacher is awful with kids and has completely unrealistic behavioural expectations for four-year-olds. There are about ten kids in the class and they’re all pretty well-behaved. She does little dance steps with two children at a time, leaving the rest standing in the corner waiting for their turn. If there is ANY fooling around while they wait, she freaks. If she feels the children have listened well during the class, she gives them stickers at the end. She holds this over their heads the whole class. Today was a no-sticker day, despite the fact that they listened quite well, and despite the fact that last week she forgot to bring stickers and told the kids they’d get two stickers the next week. She tells the children that she is “very disappointed” that they didn’t bring their listening ears. She makes the kids play a game in which the kids dance, and then have to freeze when the music stops. It sounds like fun and all, but the way she kicks the kids out of the game if they so much as blink comes across as harsh and mean-spirited. And then she spends a large percentage of the class time fiddling with the CD player, trying to find the perfect song. She ends up picking the same songs each week; why she doesn't burn a CD with only the tracks she wants is not clear.

All that being said, for some mysterious reason the girls actually like going and seem to enjoy themselves immensely. So I suffer in silence and keep my negative thoughts to myself and the entire internet.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Day 19

I started the day with a very aggressive to-do list. As usual, I realize now that it was completely unrealistic, so I'm just going to focus on the things I did do, rather than the things I didn't.

I did:
  • paint the window trim in Neve's room
  • go to a craft sale that one of Chloe's friends was selling things at
  • buy a new printer
  • do three loads of laundry
  • rake the leaves in the front yard
  • help Neve blow her nose at least once every two minutes
  • buy a stocking stuffer
  • go to Elephant & Castle for dinner
  • go to a movie (do NOT go see The Box. Just kidding - please go so we're not the only ones who wasted two hours which could have been better spent working on my to-do list.)
  • post a blog entry

Friday, November 06, 2009

Day 18

Meet our new rabbit. We didn’t choose him; he chose us. He’s constantly in the backyard and doesn’t run away when we come close. I’m pretty sure he wants us to pick him up and make him our house pet. I kind of felt silly taking a picture of it; it’s like I’m a wildlife photographer now. Not that there’s anything wrong with wildlife photographers, it’s just not my thing. I don’t even know if rabbits count as wildlife, especially this one.

Neve finally went back to school today. It was a big day. Her friends were all happy to see her; one little boy told me how happy he was that Neve was back. Even the principal came to talk to her and ask her how she was feeling. I love that school.

The older kids and I went downtown for a cookie (by George) and to Toys R Us, where I bought yet another Christmas present (without the kids seeing! I’m so sly). I think I’m up to five now. Only 72 left. In the afternoon, I cleaned out Neve’s closet and started painting the window trim in her room. Then Spencer went off to a sleepover birthday party, Neve went to the neighbours’ for dinner and a movie, and the remaining three of us ordered sushi and watched “The Devil Wears Prada.” It was a pleasant, calm day.

And now I should go retrieve Neve, which will put an end to the calmness until we get her to bed.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Day 17

I'm starting to feel sorry for all of you reading my drudgery every day. I keep hoping something exciting will happen for a change, but I guess that's not always a good thing.

In case anyone is still interested in my children's sickness, the girls missed yet another day of school today. Tomorrow is an inservice for Chloe and Spencer, so that's it for the week. I'm almost to the point of cutting our losses, pulling them out of school for the rest of the year, and starting fresh next September. But I think it's too late to get our tuition money refunded, so I guess we'll try again next week.

The high point of my day just occurred with the reading of Miss Lonelyhearts' advice column in the Free Press. This is an abridged version:

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts,
I met a woman I love and she's the worst driver in the world. She's almost killed us three times in the last month. I'm afraid for my life! She texts and answers her cell phone and she's a terrible judge of distance and space. Yesterday she was yakking on the cell, and ended up riding the white line. She had to swerve to miss someone. The driver screamed at her to get off her phone but she said he had road rage problems and should be reported. I threw her cell in the backseat and we had a terrible fight and I got out and took the bus home. I love her, and want her back. I don't have my own car and she takes me to school. What do you suggest?

I feel for the guy and all, but I ell-oh-elled (huh - it's even more annoying when it's spelled out). The second last sentence is my favourite.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Day 16

Before you accuse me of skipping Day 15, notice that there are two Day 14s. I don't know how that happened. Things are going crazy. But WOOT! Over halfway finished!

It was nice to see the sun today for a change. If only it was a few degrees warmer, I could have opened the windows and let out some sick air. The girls stayed home again today. Neve had a fever during the night and her heart was beating crazy fast. She seemed better in the morning, but Chloe’s ear and throat were hurting, so Dale took them both to the doctor. (He took a “family day” so I could catch up on work.) The doctor checked them out and declared nothing wrong with them other than the plain old-fashioned flu. I’m hoping everyone has the best sleep ever and we’ll all be 100% back to normal tomorrow. The novelty of spending cozy family time together in our newly decorated living room is quickly wearing off.

Speaking of the living room, I was able to free myself from the confines of the house tonight and go buy some new black curtains, as recommended by Shannon the decorator. They definitely add drama; it’s a big change from wispy white, but I like it. Dale thinks it looks like a funeral home, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Those places usually have pretty well-thought design. I like to think it looks like a cozy funeral home. Watch for that trend in all the magazines.

So I googled my name today and found myself quoted in an article. I’m not sure what’s worse: admitting that I googled my own name, or that I had totally forgotten about being interviewed for this article. Probably admitting that I googled my own name is worse. Whatever. Admit it - you do it too (right??). Thank goodness I didn’t say anything terribly embarrassing, but I did cringe when I read “graphic designer”– real graphic designers get prickly when amateurs like me are put into their category.

Here’s one other work-related link. This is a newsletter I recently did. It was printed and distributed by mail, but this is the first edition that's also available on nxtbook, which is a virtual magazine-like version. I just like how the pages turn. Virtual magazines can ever replace the real thing, but you’ve got to give them credit for trying.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Day 14 - Picture Tuesday

Today's pictures are of my two sick girls. Chloe started off sick first thing this morning, followed closely by Neve, and then Spencer had a diarrhea issue that I think he wished upon himself just so he could stay home too. The girls both had fevers and aches and stayed in bed most of the day. Spencer and I had naps as well, so it was a very calm, quiet day around here. Not as quiet as when they're all in school, but no one was throwing up or anything, so it wasn't too bad. I think I might have to keep the girls home one more day now that I've publicly stated they had H1N1 symptoms. They both want to go to school tomorrow, unlike the boy who told me he'd better stay home another day because he doesn't like going to the bathroom at school. I do sympathize; there's no place like home when it comes to diarrhea.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Day 14

I hope you’re not too startled by the new blog template. It’s a bit much, but I’ve just discovered how to design my own background from scratch. I was concentrating more on the process than the design; now that I’ve got the correct measurements, I can play around with the design another day. I don’t know how to remove the border from around the header and to make the header the whole width of the middle section. My html knowledge is such that I shouldn’t have been messing around in there, but I did anyway and nothing worked. If any of you technical people have easy answers for me, let me know.

I see that I ended yesterday’s post rather abruptly. I really was quite eager to lay my head down on my pillow. Today all of us were a little under the weather. Neve coughed a lot during the night and woke up very stuffed up, so I kept her at home. I’ve got a bit of a head cold or something, so I did only the most pressing work and then snuggled in with Neve to watch The Diamond Castle, which is a quality Barbie production. We both napped in the afternoon, which was lovely.

Monday is our swimming lesson night, but Chloe came home tired and chilled and promptly went to bed, so we decided to have a cozy night at home instead. I made our first fire in our new fireplace, and Spencer, Neve and I played Blokus while Chloe slept on the couch. Laugh if you want, but it was very warm and cozy and peaceful. The fireplace is everything I dreamed it would be. I can’t wait to hang stockings on the mantel. If I was like a certain person who shall remain unnamed, I wouldn’t have to wait. This person has her Christmas trees (yes, plural) up already. They were up before Halloween was over. This same person has Christmas presents bought and wrapped (correct me if I’m wrong) and Christmas baking done. I’m just jealous; I’m not motivated to do much these days. However, I did buy the kids’ Christmas gifts in Grand Forks this weekend, so I feel pretty good about that.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Day 13

I was very tempted to use up all three of my grace days in a row, but I guess I'll save one in case of an emergency. I'm not quite sure what happens if more than three days are missed during the 30 day challenge. If it's instant disqualificiation; count me in. But just in case the punishment is another 30 days of posting, I guess I'll force out a few sentences tonight. I'm hoping to be tucked in bed in 10 minutes, so this will be quick.

On Friday morning, I volunteered in Neve's class for their Dress-Up Day party (not to be confused with a Halloween party). Seeing all the kids in their little costumes was the cutest thing ever. Neve and another girl had the exact same fairy dresses; fortunately at her age that's exciting rather than embarrassing. They carved pumpkins, made spider webs with black paper plates and white yarn, did a jelly bean graph activity and ate black and orange Dress-Up Day snacks. Neve was delighted I was there, and it was all very fun.

Right after that, we left for Grand Forks. We had a great weekend and are all wishing we were still there. The kids swam for hours, I shopped for hours, and we all ate more junk food than we wish we had. On Saturday night, the whole group of us took the kids trick or treating in a nearby neighbourhood. It was a beautiful night, and the kids had fun collecting candy. We weren't in the most vibrant Halloween neighbourhood - there were lots of seniors, lots of dark houses, and not many other trick or treaters. But the children all got way more candy than they'll ever eat, so it was definitely a success.
My ten minutes are now up and I'm off to bed.

making candy necklaces

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 12

It is the eve of our annual fall excursion to Grand Forks. We go with a group of friends every fall, although we’ve never gone for Halloween before. It wasn’t the first choice of weekends, but that’s just how it worked out. Now that I’m over the disappointment of missing out on the neighbourhood fun, I think it will be a good time. The kids are bringing their costumes and we’ll do a little trick-or-treating, and then watch the kids eat candy like there’s no tomorrow back at the hotel. Actually there will be no tomorrow for some of the candy; some of it always vanishes while the children sleep. I always let the kids eat as much as they want on Halloween night, as long as they promise to stop when they feel full. They always eagerly nod and promise they won’t eat to the point of sickness, all the while gleefully thinking what a na├»ve mother they have. I might be a little stricter than usual this year; throwing up at home is one thing, but I would just as soon never experience this again. Chloe still doesn’t eat licorice.

The children are dressing up as Minnie Mouse, Boba Fett, and a fairy. I don’t think I have to clarify who’s who. Spencer hinted that he had never had a store-bought costume before and really wanted to be Boba Fett (from Star Wars, as discussed in a previous post). Since I had a feeling that could turn into a giant blemish on his otherwise happy childhood memories, I waited in line at the crazy Party Stuff store and paid $45 for a thin polyester suit with a plastic mask. Besides Stephen and a few other Star Wars fans, no one will even know what he is. Since the mask greatly hinders his vision, he'll probably wear it for 30 seconds before taking it off and then not even the Star Wars freaks will know what he is. But at least I did my part and can sleep guilt free. Although I never had a store bought costume when I was young and I think my mom sleeps pretty good.

I might be using up a couple of my grace days after this, depending on what the computer access at the hotel is like. Hope your Halloween is sweet and scary!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 11 - Picture Day

This is a new mural on Academy, not from from our house. I should have taken the time to get the whole building in the picture, but I felt shy taking a picture in public. Here's a better view, except for the scaffold obstruction. I love it, even though everyone appears to have severe eating disorders and the bridesmaids look like they're up to no good. I think the bride should have picked her true friends as her attendants, but she just picked ones who would fit into the size zero bridesmaid dresses.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 10 (double digits!)

Today is supposed to be Picture Tuesday, but I forgot to take a picture. We will all have to wait until tomorrow to see what I can come up with.

October has been a soul-suckingly busy month. I have a sick feeling in my stomach almost constantly, knowing there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done that is expected of me. That sounds more dramatic and depressing than I intended, but it’s pretty much true. Every time I feel a glimmer of hope that things are changing for the better, my hopes have been crushed. But this week has been a tiny bit better, and I foresee it going up from here. I’m also working on changing my attitude and putting things in perspective.

I have been fretting about how our family hasn’t done anything fun for a long time because we’ve been too busy and stressed. So tonight, even though we had to squeeze it in around Chloe’s gymnastics and grocery shopping, we all went to Boo at the Zoo for the first time ever. I’ve always heard about how frightening it is for children, so I had no desire to take my kids. But then someone told me about Princess Night (thanks, Lisa!) on Tuesdays. It’s geared more towards younger children and is gentler and milder. We all dressed up; Dale was a pirate and I was a character thrown together by whatever fit me in the dress up box (a black dress and cape, a pink feather boa, and a big wacky pink and black hat). People kept assuming I worked there, so I would do that differently next time. But we all had a great time! There were princesses and fairytale characters, a fire juggler, a dance tent (where Neve danced with the Subway mascot), and all kinds of other fun things. The only scary thing was the haunted house, which we mistakenly convinced the children to enter. We might be paying for that tonight. It was a gorgeous evening, so we didn’t even have to bundle up. I carried Neve’s coat the whole time, which is another thing I’d do differently next time. The kids couldn’t stop talking about it; it was short and sweet, and I felt so much happier and peaceful afterwards. Now if only we’d taken a picture for Picture Day, everything would be perfect.

On a final note, Shannon was over today helping me with my living room re-design and we happened to come across this wall decal on a website.

I thought it sounded a little smug and pretentious. Shannon thought it implied, “But your family? Not so much.” I am SO ordering it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 9

Here's my new favourite joke:

Q: What tops off a ghost's ice cream sundae?

A: Whipped scream.

For some reason, I find that quite funny. This one too:

Q. What do you call a little monster's parents?

A. Mummy and deady

That's all I've got today, but I will just add one little opinion about Halloween decorations. I love Halloween probably a little more than the next person. I don't go all out with the decorations though, partly because I'm lazy, partly because I'm too practical to spend a lot of money on stuff we only use for two weeks, and if I do spend money on decorations, I'd rather spend it on Christmas things. But I throw a few bats into the trees, put spider webs in the bushes, and hang up our pumpkin lights. One year, I made a "person" sitting in a lawn chair holding a baby. That's as creepy as I get.

Then there are other people. Fortunately my neighbours are as lacklustre (one word or two? I'm too tired to check) as I am when it comes to decorating, but we went to another neighbourhood today where the Halloween spirit(s) was very much alive (or dead, depending how you look at it). There were evil ghouls and skeletons and wicked goblins and ghosts hanging from gallows. There were headless dead people, hanging from trees. Is that really necessary? What happened to carving a jack 'o lantern? I admire these people's energy and all, but I'd really rather my kids didn't have to see some of that.

Neve was quite fascinated by all the decorations, and I told her, "I hope you won't have nightmares."

"I already do!" she said happily.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 8

I feel like calling this Day 9 and see if anyone will notice me skipping ahead. This daily posting is tough. I should have changed the rules so that we have Sundays off. I guess I could use my 3 grace days on Sundays, but that will drag this out even longer. I am quite enjoying everyone else's posts though.

We are back down to three children; I took Bella to my parents tonight and Jim & Sabrina will pick her up there tomorrow. We were all sad to see her go, but I guess it's nice that she left on a high note before the novelty wore off. Well, maybe it wore off for her; she got pretty mad at me today for taking away her little plastic chair - she kept putting it on the couch and sitting down on it, precariously close to the edge. She thought that was great fun, but eventually I got tired of standing there waiting to catch her. (Bonus: sneak peak at the living room furniture)

I think Spencer's bedtime prayer tonight could apply to everyone, so I'm making it my little wish for all of you: "Please help me to have more fun than usual tomorrow."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 7

Baby Bella toppled off her pedestal of perfection at 6:48 this morning. I tried to explain to her that it was still night time, but she didn’t share my point of view. On the upside, she slept solid from 8:00 last night, so I really can’t complain. This morning she just sat and cuddled with me for about half an hour, so that was nice too.

I’ve never been up that early on a Saturday morning before, so by the time the clock struck noon, I had showered, fed the kids breakfast and lunch, done two loads of laundry (folded and put away), cleaned out three closets, went through all of Neve’s clothes, read the newspaper, and had Bella back down for her nap. But by that time, I needed a nap too so my productivity level declined sharply after that, although Dale and I did get the yard all cleaned up for winter. We still have work ahead of us though because there are still a lot of green leaves on the trees. I don’t ever remember having a green Halloween before. Speaking of Halloween, the kids played together nicely all day, and one of the things they did was take their build-a-bears trick or treating. Each of them decorated the door to their room with Halloween decorations, and the build-a-bears went from door to door saying “trick or treat” and getting candy. Each bear had to go separately so that there would be people at home to hand out candy, but the kids were delighted with the whole activity. Bella didn’t participate (she was outside with me) but they did dress her up as a fairy at some point. The wings annoyed her and I wish I had video-taped her trying to get them off; she was going in circles like a dog chasing its tail. Again, we were laughing with her. Smiley face (that doesn’t really count as one). She was very good again today, but got into baby trouble a few times. She pulled the computer keyboard off the desk, and I said, “No, Bella!” and made her come out of the study. I heard Spencer saying to her, “It’s okay, Bella. Mommy was a little harsh with you.” I thought I had said it fairly nicely . I guess I sound different than I think I do, although she didn't seem upset. She called me Mama all day again, which sort of bothered me because I had a dream last night that Jim was very upset about her calling me mom. If it makes you feel better, Jim, she calls Dale “Bob.”

Thanks for all your comments and haiku regarding my cinnamon buns. Even my dad made his debut comment. Yay, Dad! I’d bake you all some if I could. I’ll keep it in mind the next time I need a contest prize.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 6

The kids had no school today, so we had a nice calm day. Chloe had a doctor’s appointment this morning, and then we picked my niece Bella up from daycare. She’s staying with us for the weekend while Jim & Sabrina are in Minneapolis. Bella’s been a model baby today – she had a nice long nap, played nicely with the kids, pooped in the toilet, said thank you every time we gave her something, and went to sleep perfectly. We all laughed way more than we normally do - with her, not at her :). After about two hours, she was calling me “mom.” I tried correcting her at first, but eventually I gave up. It’s probably partly my fault; instead of saying things like, “Should Auntie give you a snack?”, out of habit, I say “Should Mommy give you a snack?” I guess I could talk like a normal person and just say “I”, but what fun is that.

Not only did I take care of a 19 month old all day, I also baked cinnamon buns from scratch. This is the first time I’ve ever attempted anything that crazy, but they turned out surprisingly well. Actually, they were awesome and I’m not just saying that. I smothered them in cream cheese icing and it was like a gooey sticky piece of heaven. They were really easy to make, but it was an all day process (on and off) so I probably won’t make them often. It’s just as well because I would be 300 lbs in no time if I made them regularly. But now that I’ve been successful with yeast, I might try making bread sometime. It’s so neat to see myself maturing and becoming a sensible, practical middle-aged woman.

(Not sure why the top picture rotated during uploading. Just tilt your head.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 5

I’m starting to think about Christmas. I know some of you crazy people already have gifts wrapped and Christmas cookies baked, but in some circles I’m ahead of the game by even thinking about it. The new mantel has gotten me thinking about hanging stockings and about where we’re going to put the Christmas tree. I’ve even officially started my Christmas shopping. I ordered a book for Spencer from the Scholastic book order, which I’ll probably end up giving him before Christmas because it’s just so hard to wait. I also ordered something online from Disney – I did something I’ve never done before and had it shipped to the US, just across the border. We’re going to Grand Forks next weekend, so we’ll pick it up then and won’t even have to pay duty. The item I ordered (I can’t say what it is in case Neve reads this) was less than half the cost it was here, the shipping was free, and I saved myself a trip to St. Vital. I got all caught up in my joy and started searching the internet for more things to order. But then I remembered my plan to buy gifts in a more purposeful manner this year and keep the buying-on-a-whim to a minimum. The children are probably not going to appreciate that like I will.

Sorry for all the kid anecdotes lately, but I like to write them down so that when the children are grown, they can read the archives and get a warm feeling in their heart about how cute they were and how clever their mother thought they were.

Chloe, Neve and I were in Costco on Sunday and we stopped to look at the cellular phone kiosk (Chloe is determined to get her own cell phone when she turns twelve). We talked with the sales rep for a while, and later on the way home, Neve was quiet for a while and then she asked, “You know how our phones are for our ears? Is the iPhone for our eyes?”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 4

Remember this?

If not, here’s the story. Ignore the hideous mug shot on top.

I am very happy to inform you that we finally have a fireplace! You can’t actually build a fire in it, but it looks like you could, and that’s what matters.

The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it looks great in real. Inspired by a friend’s faux fireplace, I found a mantel on kijiji at the beginning of September. That in itself is a good story, but I won’t go into it for the sake of protecting the identity of the somewhat innocent. I will just say we ended up knowing the people who were selling it and it was all very interesting.

It was just a bare, hollow mantel, and I wasn’t sure quite what to do with it. So naturally, I brought it to my dad because he can do anything. He added a black metal insert - on the picture, it appears like a solid black piece, but there’s actually a square inset where I will place candles. We need to paint it and attach it to the wall yet, but it already transforms the room.

I am still in the process of decorating the living room; I will post pictures of the whole room in the near future.

* * *
If you are concerned that Siobhan is not living up to her blogging goals, click here. She’s the brilliant one among us who is actually making some money off this.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 3 - Picture Day

It’s so nice to have company in this 30 day challenge. Dan, Stephen, and Siobhan have all taken up the challenge and I see Corinna has updated her blog even though she’s not officially participating. Now all we need is Julie. Without these partners-in-blogging (their links are on the sidebar too), I probably would have quit by now.

Today is picture day - I’m posting three photos from the weekend. In fact, maybe I’ll make every Tuesday Picture Day. This week’s theme is Spencer.

Here’s a Neve story to finish up the day.

She fell on the playground after school today and hurt her hand. She just needed a kiss and some sympathy, so I said, “Poor Neve!” She said indignantly, “I’m not poor! I don’t have to beg for food!”

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 2

I thought this week was going to be a lot more relaxing than last week, but it’s not looking promising after all. I promise I will stop whining soon, but I haven’t been able to stick to my work hours lately and have been spending way too much time hunched over my computer. I woke up this morning all stuffed up and on the verge of a head cold. If I was smart I would have taken Cold F/X. I’ve never tried it, but everyone seems to think it’s the greatest invention ever.

Dale was very kind tonight and insisted I stay home while he took the kids to swimming lessons. We usually both go so that I can take the girls into the change room and he takes the boy. Fortunately Chloe is responsible enough to take Neve on her own and helps her get showered and dressed afterward. So I stayed home and finished up some work, got my pyjamas on and went to watch TV in bed. Why is it that on the rare occasion that I actually want to watch something on TV, there is never anything interesting on our hundred channels? I ended up watching Trailer Park Boys, which was okay but I really wasn’t in the mood for Bubbles. That might be part of the problem; I wasn’t really in the mood for anything. I think I’ll just curl up and go to sleep. It seems sort of wrong to go to bed this early though.

I am very much hoping I can come up with something more interesting to write tomorrow or this is going to be a long 30 days for everyone.

Day 1

I guess this is my first official post as part of the 30 day challenge. It’s not like anyone was beating down my door to join in the challenge, but Dan and Siobhan expressed some interest, so I am holding them to it. Siobhan, send me your link (if you’re sharing your writing with the public). As for the rest of the bloggers who remained silent, let’s call this 30 Days of Guilt. And don’t think giving birth is a valid excuse, Corinna. Actually it is. The only reason I kept having children was to get out of doing things I didn’t want to do. Believe it or not, there are a lot of things I like doing less than changing maconium-filled diapers.

It was a busy, but fun weekend. I spent a good portion of the weekend working on a new newsletter design for work. I actually enjoyed it, which is not something I can say very often about work these days. That was an awkward sentence, but I’m too tired to fix it. Besides that, these were the highlights:

  • Going to Sushi Train on Friday night. We got a seat at a high table right beside the train track and the children could not get enough of the train. We were also right by the sushi masters, who I think were quite relieved when we left. But everything was delicious, especially the yam tempura (thought of you, Siobhan).
  • Going to the Keg Saturday night to celebrate our friend Anthony’s 40th birthday. The Keg isn’t my top restaurant, but I must say my meal was the best one I’ve ever had there (Thai chicken). And the birthday cake was the best dessert I’ve ever had there, but Teresa made it so I can’t order it next time. I never knew they allowed people to bring their own cakes. Next time we’re bringing our own liquor.
  • Jim & Sabrina and Bob & Jan and all the children came over tonight (Sunday) for appetizers and cards. There was lots of good food (I can say that because I didn’t make it all) and I even won at Rook. The kids were getting into the Halloween spirit and got all dressed up. If anyone can guess what Spencer is (on the right), I’ll … well, I’m not going to do anything but I’m just curious if anyone knows who he is supposed to be.

I’m a little concerned that all of my highlights involved food. I have felt bloated and fat for the past week or two. Rather than eat less or exercise, I am waiting for the “bloating” to recede on its own. On that note, I am off to bed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I lied about not posting til the weekend

I’ve been sitting at my computer the entire day, trying to meet some unrealistic deadlines. My computer is about as happy about this as I am and is now coming up with startling error messages that I don't know how to address, so before I put it to bed for the night, I thought I may as well share a couple of kid conversations while they’re still in my head.

I was very eager to get Neve and Spencer to bed quickly tonight, so I told them whoever was in bed first would get a special snuggle. I know, it’s completely lame and I didn’t expect it to motivate them in the least, but I guess they were just looking for something to compete for / fight about, so it worked. Spencer won, so I made a big production of hugging him and cuddling him while Neve watched from the doorway, in no hurry to get into her bed (this is probably a parenting technique you won’t find in any book. I’m going to write my own some day). Spencer made a big show of it all, trying to make Neve jealous.

But she said, “I don’t care, because Mommy will still snuggle me too.”

Spencer said, “Neve! That’s not the right spirit.”

I don’t know that he had the right one either, but Neve definitely has the wrong spirit most of the time.

At the playground this week, after much prodding, Spencer played with a boy who had no one to play with. On the way home after, I told him, “I’m proud of you for playing with him. I know you didn’t want to, but you did anyway. You were thinking about his feelings instead of your own.”

He said, “Actually I was thinking about how you forced me to play with him.”

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thankfulness 2009

In preparation for my somewhat annual “What I’m Thankful For” list. I looked up my previous lists (2006 and 2008; apparently we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving in 2007) to make sure I didn’t repeat myself. But then I got distracted reading posts from last October, when Stephen and I had a daily posting challenge going on. This fall has been so busy that I haven’t posted often, and I miss it. I’ll probably regret this in the morning, but I think I’m going to try the 30-day challenge again. This is an official invitation / challenge to any other bloggers to do the same. It can be a daily picture or a post – I’ll probably do some of each. BUT I’m not going to start until next weekend because I have a few work projects I need to concentrate on first. By then, I probably won’t think this is such a great idea, so it’s your job to make me follow through.

Now it's gotten late and I don't really have time to think of things I'm thankful for. But I don't want to appear as unthankful as I did in 2007, so here are a few things off the top of my head:

I am thankful that Dale got our new garage door opener installed this week. We haven’t had a working garage door opener for over a year, so I am very pleased I can just sit in my warm van and press a button instead of doing all that manual labour. Technology is so often my enemy, but this I embrace. I like to think it would hug me back if it could.

I am thankful that my parents' 50th anniversary went well (see last post) and that some of my valuable mind space is now freed up to think about other things. I’m thankful I got to spend lots of time with my family this weekend.

I am thankful for Neve’s nursery school. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love the teacher, the kids, the activities they do, and the other parents. And I love being able to get my work hours in while Neve’s having fun in school.

I am thankful that Neve has been sleeping in her room ever since we started the bedtime chart.

I am thankful that our fruit fly problem has gone away.

I am thankful that most of the snow that arrived Friday night has been absorbed into the earth.

I am thankful that Dale’s in charge of getting the children to school tomorrow. The Tuesday morning after a long weekend is never pretty.

Here's hoping your Tuesday morning is better than ours. Although if we have to endure a rough one, it comforts me somewhat to know that there are others in the same boat.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fifty years

We’ve been having a busy long weekend. Yesterday was my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, so we had a big celebration at my parents’ church with about 200 people. Happily, my contributions were behind the scenes and I didn’t have to stand up in front of the crowd at all. The evening went very well and everyone appeared to have fun, so I think it was a success. My brother and sister-in-law came from Vancouver and my adopted siblings came from Edmonton; we all stayed over at my parents from Saturday until tonight. It’s been over two years since we’ve all been together and the kids had a blast with their cousins, so a good time was had by all. Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad – you’ve done good.

The kids occupying themselves while sitting at the guest book:

Uncle Dan giving rides:

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Jenna vs. Rice Krispies

Here's the story I promised the other day. It's a cautionary tale about buying things at bake sales, courtesy of my co-worker Jenna. She's not so much the domestic type, but she put in a good effort for a good cause.

So I had to make something for a bake sale.... I thought making Rice Krispie Squares would be easy. I followed all the directions, except for when I accidentally dumped the entire box of rice krispies in the bowl. The bowl overflowed so I decide to use my hands to smush the marshmallows into the rice krispies....

This is what my counter looked like....

Bunny was trying to help by eating all the rice krispies falling on the ground.

Somehow I thought I could just sweep them up.

Aunty Sue said just cover it in candy and no one will know.

Epilogue: The squares looked tasty and sold briskly. The odd kitten hair wasn't a deterrent.

Go, Jenna! Aunty Sue must be proud. I know I am.