Thursday, January 22, 2009
Speaking of lunch, I volunteered in Spencer’s class yesterday at lunchtime. When they were going out for recess, I noticed him chasing a girl and saying “Yummy!” I asked him what he was doing, and one of his friends said, “Oh, he does that all the time.” Tonight when I was putting him to bed, I asked him about it. After much prying, he told me he only does it to three girl classmates. These three girls all happen to be Oriental. I asked him why he chases these specific girls and after some discussion, I concluded it’s because he sort of likes one of them, and the other two are her good friends. He was acting all silly and embarrassed while we were talking, until finally he said, “I’m not comfortable with this conversation.” It’s interesting how he can communicate remarkably well when he wants to. Anyway, I told him he had to stop chasing and pretending to bite the girls because they might not understand he’s just being silly and have hurt feelings. I felt like telling him the other option would be to chase a white girl as well; it just seems wrong to single out one race. I really don’t think that registers with him at all; I think it’s their striking good looks that appeal to him.
Other Spencer talk today:
“Why does Neve speak with a different accent than the rest of us?”
“Can we stop at Tim Horton’s for a doughnut? No pressure. No offence, either.”
Next time I’ll try to share some Chloe tidbits. There is no shortage of material there, but as she gets older, it’s tougher to come up with things that won’t embarrass her. Hey, that can be my new threat: If you don’t clean up your room/be nice to your brother/stop playing that #$&*% recorder, I’ll write about that boy you’re sweet on.
Oh yeah, and ….. MEXICO ….. six more Thursdays. Still thinking about it.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Sometimes I feel bad for Neve and sad for myself that she is growing up so much faster than the other kids. She listens to Chloe’s music, tries to copy Chloe’s outfits, and says Chloe’s words. She’s going to be the girl that her firstborn friends’ mothers won’t want their daughters to hang out with. We went shopping at a little clothing store on Corydon today and the shop girl chatted with Neve while I tried on clothes. They found out they had the same birthday and hit it off. Neve started singing along to Disturbia on the radio, so they had a conversation about which songs they liked. Neve sang Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus songs for her, while wearing a pair of oversized pink sunglasses. It was pretty funny, but I couldn’t help remembering that when Chloe was three, her favourite song was Polly Wolly Doodle. We’re missing a little innocence these days. But by the third child, my tolerance for Fred Penner and the Doodlebops has expired. I’ve created a pop-singing monster. She’s like a little sponge; she picks up the words so quickly. There's a niggling little voice in my head that tells me I could be teaching her something more intelligent.
I’m really enjoying hanging out with Neve these days. She still has tantrums and fits of unreasonableness, but most of the time she’s in a good mood and fun to be with. She’s always singing or talking or saying hi to strangers we pass. She makes me laugh all day. It's nursery school registration time, so I think I'm feeling all sentimental and wishing time would slow down just a little. If I start whining about "I can't believe how fast time goes" or "It seems like just yesterday that we brought her home from the hospital," feel free to give me a cyber kick. Whatever that is.
Two miscellaneous things she said today:
“Where do unicorns sleep?” (she doesn’t know that unicorns are mythical creatures, and somehow it felt mean to tell her the truth, so I just said, “In the woods.”)
She was holding a stuffed animal as she watched Chloe at gymnastics today. “My hands are so hot from holding my Webkinz.”
Spencer has been obsessed with his Indiana Jones Nintendo DS game for weeks. He plays it as he comes downstairs in the morning and he’s back at it the second he gets home from school. In December, his monthly reading minutes were around 500; this month I think he’s up to 100 so far. On Monday I started restricting his DS time to 30 minutes a day. It’s only been two days, but it’s great so far. He hasn’t complained a bit; I think he’s relieved to do something else for a change. He just didn’t have the strength to tear himself away. Unfortunately he hasn’t been reading much, but he’s spent hours playing Lego. Today he built a “pirate island.” He called for me to come upstairs to see his creation. “And bring the camera,” he said. He wanted me to take a picture of it to send to Lego magazine, where they always feature pictures of kids with their creations. He asked if I’d sent in the last picture he made me take, and when I admitted I hadn’t, he said, “Well we have to send this one in, because I think I have a 59% chance of being in the magazine.” Here he is, and off I go to email the picture to Lego. The odds are slightly in our favour.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I was flattered by the comments about ping pong not being sporty enough for us. If only you knew. I gave up on the push-ups quite some time ago and haven’t run since October. Ping pong was quite an exertion for me. But I’m turning over a new leaf. I went for a run on Wednesday night at the U of M while the kids were in swimming lessons and I’m planning to go for another one tomorrow while Neve’s at ballet. I also want to re-start the push-up schedule, so combined with the two runs a week, I hope to be in amazing shape by the time we go to Mexico. I’m still trying to avoid eating after supper, but that’s not been a great success so far. I bought a new swimsuit yesterday, which is a whole new motivation. I’ve never spent that much on a swimsuit before, but apparently it’s the thing to do. I feel sort of sick knowing that I could have paid for a well or something in a third world village with that money, but DAMN I’m going to look hot at the pool. I have to clarify that I’m being sarcastic; not about the price unfortunately, but about looking good at the pool. My body is so past its swimsuit prime that it’s not one bit funny. No swimsuit is going to fix that.
I went to the passport office to apply for our passports this week; on the coldest morning of the year. I guess everyone else who’d been planning to go stayed in their warm beds instead because the place was deserted and it only took five minutes. I think about our trip at least once every seven seconds. It’s completely consuming. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I guarantee you I’m thinking about Mexico. Is that normal?
Chloe is starting her first ever science fair project. I hate science fairs. I hated them when I was young and I hate them even more now. Most of the work has to be done at home, and although I am a strong believer in kids doing their own projects, there is still a lot of stuff she’ll need help with. Then there’s the parents who do pretty much the whole project themselves, so I feel we need to compete with them. The science fair in on March 18th, so we will be eating and breathing this thing until then. It puts me in a sour mood. Luckily my thoughts quickly return to Mexico.
Dan & Jenn are famous for the unique gifts they give the kids for Christmas. This is one Chloe got this year. It’s a little paper tree that goes from this:
To this (in a few more hours):
We had a lot of fun watching the transformation. I have no idea how it did that. Maybe that could be Chloe’s science fair experiment.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
HINT: Though Dale and I are part of the same league, we never play together.
Monday, January 12, 2009
I almost had another altercation with a front end loader today (for the record, Dale was the one driving when we hit the other one). It was pushing snow around at the end of our back lane, and since I’m now nervous around those things, I made sure it was well out of my way before proceeding. But then it suddenly backed up right towards me and I had to frantically scurry out of his way. My tires were spinning out on the ice and my RPM needle was freaking out, but fortunately I got out of the way and saved my little Versa courtesy car just in time. I wonder if the shop would have provided another courtesy car while they repaired this one. I don't even want to think about the hassle that would have been. Neve was with me and I didn’t think she noticed my moment of panic until she said, “We almost hit one of those things again.” Actually, I’m surprised not everyone in this city has hit or been hit by snow clearing machinery. Those guys are insane. They’re all over the road and don’t care where they’re going; it is entirely up to you to stay out of their way. I’m very grateful that they’re working hard to make our streets driveable, but I’m also very afraid of them. They would probably be pleased to hear that. (PS. though I am excellent at multi-tasking, I did not take this photo while escaping the tractor wheels of death. I got it off the internet.)
Our friend Stephen wants people to make lists of stuff – go humour him and tell him which cities you slept in this last year and what you want to read this next year. I’m planning to read lots of silly books when we’re in Mexico, but I’m trying to come up with an intelligent wish list that I won’t be embarrassed of.
Just to make things interesting, I decided it’s time for another contest. Dale and I have joined a new sports league. The first person to guess WHAT SPORT it is will win the $10 Tim Horton’s gift card that the paper boy didn’t want. You must submit your guess in the comments section, and you are limited to one guess. If no one guesses the correct answer, I will add hints and you can guess again after a new hint has been posted. Any readers or their families who are also in this league are not eligible to guess (you know who you are).
Let the guessing begin.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Today’s feature: before and after photos of my spice cupboard reorganization. I’ve been looking for spice containers for a while, but the only ones I could find came with big wooden rotating stands. Then I saw these at Canadian Tire and I liked the size and shape. I didn’t need magnetic ones, but it’s quite handy when stacking them. Accessing the bottom spice in the back corner might be a bit awkward, but it’s nothing compared to the frustration of searching for a spice. It was so unorganized - the spice could be on one of two shelves, in a bag, in a spice jar, or both. I found four different paprikas. I had to make another trip to Canadian Tire for more spice containers, and I’ll probably make a third to buy some extras. While I was there, I got two sets of clear plastic drawers to organize all of Spencer’s new Lego. That’s going to be next week’s project. In the meantime, here is today’s accomplishment.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
So I bought some stuff yesterday. Even though I haven’t been preaching many anti-stuff sermons lately, my dream of minimalism is still alive and well. Before I tell you about my purchases, let me share some recent anti-stuff victories.
Another anti-stuff success was fixing our shower caddy (where we put shampoo, etc). The part where our shower caddy attaches to the shower head broke and it kept slipping off the shower head. So instead of throwing it in the landfill and buying a new one, I went to Canadian Tire to buy a zip tie. When I saw new shower caddies were only $6.99 and a package of zip ties was $2.49, I wavered. But chances are the new shower caddy would end up slipping too, so I stood firm. It’s all fixed now and the slippage has been eliminated.
I was going to cite my slippers as another example, but it’s not a good one. Let’s just say I tried fixing them with duct tape (kind of embarrassed about that), but it was completely ineffective. They’re only a year old, but sadly they are going in the garbage.
I know I will be mocked for my anti-stuff efforts (the slipper duct-taping sort of begs for it), but having less stuff is so freeing. I have a long long way to go, but I carry on.
And now for the stuff I bought.
- Twelve new glasses. We've had a lot of breakage lately and there have been occasions when we’ve ended up serving guests cold drinks in mugs. The mismatched old glasses are on their way out. Except for one glass Teresa bought me twenty years ago when I moved into my first apartment (she gave me a set but only one remains). I remember trying to sell it at our yard sale when we left Charlottetown. No one bought it, so I kept it. Since then it's had a special place in our lives.
- A basket to put in our front closet with all our extra winter mitts and hats. We each have a basket by the back door for this too, but they were crammed with way too much stuff. Now they contain one pair of mitts and one hat, and the rest goes into the basket. Neve dumped it all out this morning and pulled her Webkinz around in it. New things really are a novelty around here.
- Spice containers. In the near future, I will show you a before and after picture of my spice cupboard. I am excited to tackle this project. For now, the spice jars are providing cheap entertainment for the children. Maybe I'll put some in their stockings next year.
- Two clear bins on wheels. They are the perfect size for my laundry room shelves. One contains our rollerblades and sports stuff is in the other. They have wheels at the bottom, which make them easy to roll out, like drawers. The result isn’t quite as stunning as I hoped, but it feels more organized (before and after photos below). We’re hoping to begin a transformation of our laundry room soon, so it’s a work in progress. (I also cleaned out another cupboard and moved the beverages to this one.)
Finally, here’s my favourite new thing which is worth every penny of the $1.50 I spent on it. It’s my new mouse pad. It does bother me that it will be completely useless in one year, but for now, the calendar printed on it has greatly improved the quality of my life. It’s handy when someone emails me about a certain date, or when I need to check a date for work events, etc. It probably ranks in the top ten ideas ever. I haven’t gotten around to inserting a photo – but yes! It is also a picture frame. And it’s an m&m advertisement. Some stuff is just so worth it. Anyone else have any great new stuff stories to share?
Monday, January 05, 2009
We were unsuccessful the first night we tried to make it to the lights thing because we got stuck behind emergency vehicles on the bridge on the west Perimeter. We sat there for 45 minutes, unable to move in any direction, watching a man get removed from his truck (which was sideways against the guard rail) by the jaws of life. By the time they wheeled him to the ambulance (he was alive), we were late for our next engagement. We took a different route the next night which got us to our destination, but I’m not sure how much of the lights the kids saw sunk down in the back seat with the windows iced up from five people breathing in a space meant for two. We bought them mini-donuts out of pity so everyone was happy in the end.
And now regularly scheduled life has resumed. I loved having the kids home, but there are definite advantages to having the house to myself again during the day. The three-year-old is around too, but she naps in the afternoons so peace and quietness abound between 12:30 and 3:00 p.m. Work has resumed as well but the break has put things more in perspective and I am newly motivated. I might feel differently by the end of the week. My annual organizing senses have kicked in and this morning I cleaned out the shelves by the back door, emptied out the fridge, and organized the pen and scissor drawer. Dale and I also cleaned out the basement freezer tonight, but that was more of an emergency. The plug is sensitive and occasionally someone gets something from the freezer and notices things are slushy. Luckily we never have meat in there; it’s mainly just cookies and empty cartons of ice cream that needed to be cleaned out anyway. But in a perfect world, I probably would not have chosen to clean it out in the middle of dinner.
I didn’t make any New Years resolutions for myself, but I do have lots of suggestions for others. One thing I am trying to do is to join Dale in not eating anything after 7:00 p.m. I’m only doing this until the Mexico trip, which is kind of silly. When I’m sitting in my lounge chair in the scorching sun thinking of the inhumane winter I’ve endured, you wouldn’t think I’d care what people think of me in a swimsuit. No one can accuse me of humility.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
In other news, it is now 2009. Dale’s mom, his sister and her family came over for New Years Eve. Since they live in Florida, we never get to spend New Years with them, so that was nice.
Wishing you all a happy new year and may all your dreams come true…