Friday, May 29, 2009

Chloe's best day ever


The correct answer to the question in the last post is indeed Chloe being told she needs glasses. She was giddy with glee. We picked out new frames right away and they were ready today. We rushed over to pick them up after school today. Not only is it a wondrous novelty to have a new accessory, she is delighted to be able to see faraway things clearly. I've never seen her smile so much in one day.

If you want to make her even happier, ask her if she got glasses the next time you see her.

When the lady was adjusting them, Spencer asked her how long Chloe would have to wear glasses for. The lady said, "I don't know. Probably her whole life."

When we left the office, Spencer was quiet and when I asked him what the matter was, he said, "I want the old Chloe back."

One person's joy is another's sadness.



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Children / Guessing Game

Yesterday's post was for my negativity-loving friends, so today is Positive Day.

Here's the crew I had today:


Actually I only had the whole group for a short time. I had Bella (my niece) all day, but the two neighbour children were only here for an hour. They were all very good (and I'm not just saying that), but I have a whole new appreciation for Siobhan and her home daycare. Bella likes to climb on everything and finds danger in things no one would think to be dangerous, so she had to be watched closely. That still didn't prevent a big cut on the bridge of her nose when she fell while holding a piece of cardboard. It's such a great feeling to send kids home with prominent facial lesions that occur while in your care (or lack thereof). I was hoping it would heal by home time. I hope it's not picture day anytime soon. Sorry, Bella!!

Back to positive-ness. And no, I didn't contain the toddlers in a box (below). The best part of my day* was watching these two play together in the playhouse. Bella was as happy as could be as long as she could be in charge of when and if Reid could exit. He is very good natured and went along with her wishes for the most part. Don't they both have the cutest chubby cheeks ever?! And Bella's wound isn't that visible. You probably didn't even notice it.


Meanwhile, Spencer is playing his DS under the patio table to avoid glare on the screen...


... and Chloe is reading. She wasn't just posing for the camera, either. My children are odd. Must be from their father's side.

* There's actually a two-way tie for 'best part of the day' - the other one was seeing my niece score a goal in her soccer game tonight. Yay, Bailey!
Speaking of good things, see if you can guess what made Chloe very, very happy today. A man told her something this morning that will cause a dream of hers (something she's wanted for several years) to be fulfilled.
There's no prize, but if you're in the neighbourhood you can stop by and pick something from my Canadian Diabetes donation box. That applies to the losers too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bad Day / Bud Watch 5

Here are some things I didn’t like about today:
  • Waking up
  • Neve freaking out when I left her at pre-school. It took the strength of two adults to pry the wailing child off of me. Ten seconds later she was skipping happily around the gym.
  • Noticing new rolls of fat around my waist despite increased exercise
  • Feeling stressed out about a big work project and frustrated about not having enough uninterrupted work time
  • Getting a $190 photo radar ticket in the mail @#&*$%!
  • Dale working late
  • Counting carbs
  • Neve’s inability to decide whether to ride her scooter to the playground or to walk. She eventually decided to walk, but second-guessed her decision the whole way to the park and needed to be held while she cried.
  • We asked a girl down the block who was playing outside if she wanted to come with us and she brought her cat. Her mom wasn’t home, but her grandma (who’s never met us before) said she could come, no questions asked. I was half expecting the police to come looking for us.
  • Having to hold the cat’s leash at the playground while the neighbour girl played. It desperately wanted to run into the bushes so I had to hold it with all my might the whole time. Its leash was all tangled up around itself and the swing set but I don’t really like picking up cats. I was praying no dog would come around. Or no person for that matter; I didn’t particularly want to be seen struggling with a cat on a leash in the middle of the playground.
  • Neve didn’t want to leave the playground and plopped down on the muddy ground refusing to move. The other kids went ahead and crossed a busy street while I was still struggling with carrying an unhappy Neve, Brown Ee-ee, a large awkward water bottle that no one even drank from, and my jacket which I had to take off because I was crazy hot.
  • Spencer kept driving into my ankle with his scooter. That's my favourite thing ever.
  • Having a headache and knowing I have another four hours or so of work ahead of me tonight

And that's the end of the pity party for today. I’m sure life will look cheerier in the morning, once I drag myself out of bed. I definitely won’t be checking the mail tomorrow.

Oh yeah, here are the buds. The wind blew away all the blossoms, so this shrub's days are numbered.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bud Watch 4 / Excitement at the Convenience Store

I am convinced the weather people are predicting the weather with the help of a roulette wheel these days. Although in that case, you’d think they’d occasionally get lucky and get their predictions right. Whatever the case, this was the warmest weekend so far this year and it was even more special because I wasn’t expecting anything great.

We spent most of the weekend doing yard work. We got fresh soil delivered so we moved the dirt from our garden to low spots around the house and put the new soil in the garden. My garden never amounts to anything; every year I vow I won’t plant one again, but each spring I am filled with new hope. We’re making it smaller this year so that if it fails, it will be less of a disappointment. We didn’t have time to plant the garden this weekend, but I hope to do that in the next day or two.


Spencer digging a hole for a time capsule.
He wanted to dig ten feet down, but when I told him the ceiling in our house was eight feet high, he modified his plan. He dug about 18 inches down and then went to collect things to put in the capsule. I asked him what he had in mind, and he said, “A DVD and some food.” That should be interesting to dig up in 50 years.

The kids had so much fun this weekend riding their bikes and running through the sprinkler and playing outside with friends. Dale took the two older kids to the carnival at the community centre. They had a midway so the kids went on the ferris wheel and bumper cars and were quite delighted by all of it.

They had a less delightful incident on Saturday. We had friends coming for dinner and I needed pop, so I sent Chloe and Spencer to 7-11 to get some. Chloe has walked to the store with friends quite a few times, but Spencer has never gone without an adult before. But Chloe is very responsible and they were excited about going, so I sent them off with the cell phone. A little while later, Dale answers the phone and it’s Chloe, asking for someone to come pick them up from 7-11. She told him that while they were at the counter, some drunk guys came into the store and made a scene. The guys had left the store, but were still hanging around outside and she was scared to leave. Dale handed me the phone and went to get them. While I was on the phone with her, the guys came back into the store and were knocking things over and getting crazy. A man in line behind the kids was yelling “GET OUT! GET OUT!” and physically shoved the guys out of the store. I could hear him yelling over the phone and I didn’t know what was going on; I was imagining the store being robbed and weapons being involved and thinking we didn’t need Sprite that badly. Thankfully Dale got there quickly and the lady at the counter was keeping an eye on the kids and everyone made it home safely. Chloe was pretty shaken up; Spencer said it was “awesome” but Chloe said he was not as confident as he made it sound while the situation was happening. I’m very relieved he didn’t try fighting them. (That reminds me of something he told two younger boys who were following him around and bugging him at a playground the other day: “I’m eight and I know a little bit of karate.” Unfortunately they didn’t stop chasing him, so he went to tell their moms, just like any good karate master would do. When he told me about it later, I suggested leaving out the “little bit” part next time for maximum impact.) Anyway, I’ve never had anything like that happen to me at 7-11, and I feel bad that the kids had to experience it unsupervised. I don’t think Chloe will be asking to go again anytime soon.

I took these bud shots yesterday. Here's hoping for a warm, sunny week that will transform these buds into full blown leaves.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Bud Watch 3



Finally someone’s asking for the buds. The idea was to take a photo of the exact same buds each time, but I don’t think that’s happening.

I noticed lots of dead branches on both shrubs today, so I got out the clippers. I think I was a little overzealous because they seem very sparse now. The pink blossoming one is being cut down soon anyway since it’s half dead and in an awkward spot. I always feel guilty for getting rid of growing things though, which is why we still have two enormous, pine needle shedding, light blocking, ground sucking evergreens in front of our house. I could put up with one tree, but two of them mean we have no front yard and you can never walk barefoot without getting pine needles stuck in your foot.

Since I just spent a whole paragraph talking about shrubs and trees, obviously nothing very interesting is going on over here. I’ve been spending a lot of time on a big work project and doing the bare minimum around the house. The weather’s been cool, but we’ve been acting like it’s summer and trying to get outside every day. Dale and I went for an hour-long bike ride yesterday while the kids were at Grandma’s, and it was actually a very pleasant night. So we’re going to stop whining about the weather and be thankful we don’t have to wear socks and that no one's sliding through intersections.

And finally, here are two links my brother sent me recently which I’ve been finding entertaining:

Awkward Family Photos
Odd pictures from real estate listings

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bud Watch 2 / Fargo

I see no one’s been begging for a Bud update. I guess your lives are more interesting than I give you credit for. But here they are anyway:



My lapse in bud updates is due to a spur of the moment trip to Fargo. We left Sunday morning and came home last night. Dale was lured there by the weather; he is fascinated by how much warmer it often is just a few hours south of here. He, and the rest of us, were not disappointed – it was sunny and 26 degrees there yesterday afternoon. I’m not sure what the high was in Winnipeg, but it was about 6 degrees when we got home. Dale could barely contain his glee. Spending most of our time at the pool and in the mall did not take full advantage of the lovely warm sun, but we did spend some time outside and had a picnic. Even though it was short, it had the feel of a real holiday – eating Pringles and M&Ms for supper, swimming until the kids’ skin was red and itchy, and watching TV in bed. Dale also took Neve and Spencer on the ferris wheel at Scheel’s while Chloe and I shopped at Target. The kids had a great time, and Neve said several times, “This is the best thing in my life.” No one was happy to go back to school or work today, but we did anyway. At least it’s a short week.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bud Watch

It’s been a busy week; it seems the buildup to June, the Crazy Month has begun. For those of you without school aged children, this is when the schools try to squeeze in as many field trips, spring concerts, special chapels, track & field days and other special events as possible. Chloe has two field trips coming up: one to Lower Fort Garry and one to Pan Am pool. The educational benefit of the swimming pool trip is not clear to me, but it’s undoubtedly more educational than my junior high field trips to Saints Roller Rink where we skated in circles and tried to look cool. Come to think of it, looking cool is a pretty useful thing to learn. Sadly, I am a slow learner in that area.

I had my first soccer game on Tuesday night. We lost so badly that no one even spoke of the score, but I didn’t really care because I was just happy that I wasn’t in pain afterward. I haven’t been running much and was dreading the first game, but things went a lot better than I expected. That probably means I wasn’t playing hard enough. Be that as it may.
On Wednesday evening, I went to a Tupperware party which was basically the highlight of my week. I can't wait for my FridgeSmart containers to arrive. Tupperware has totally improved the quality of my life. Some day I will post a picture of all my Tupperware. Except I wish I had Modular Mates like Darla does.

Thursday night was Chloe’s spring concert (okay, so the school does spread things out a little). She’s now in “Middle Years,” and these concerts are much more enjoyable than the “Early Years” concerts. The only downside is they’re longer, so Neve and Spencer got pretty restless by the end. Spencer entertained himself by taking pictures of Neve (below), Neve’s naked paper dolls, and his friend who was sitting a few rows back.

I know four people whose birthday falls on this very day, including my dear friend Teresa who celebrated by drinking mojitos in a parking lot.

We had a lovely dinner out tonight at La Fiesta, an El Salvadorian restaurant, followed by drinks at Earl’s. Not only did Dale and I not get the memo about wearing black, I am the loser drinking tea. I’m just holding Doug’s beer to look cool, which I wouldn’t have had to do if I’d learned coolness in school. Anyway, happy birthday TLT, the true queen of cool.


On a totally different note, I’m starting a new feature called Bud Watch. Every day (that I remember) I’m going to take a picture of the buds on two different shrubs in our backyard and together we can watch them grow. It’ll be like a webcam, only different.


Hope the rest of your long weekend is happy and warm.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother of the year

I had two odd dreams on Saturday night. In the first one, Dale & I had gone on a driving trip to South Carolina and while we were there, someone told me about a great nanny job in the next state. Dale flew home, but I took the van and checked out the job opportunity. I stayed with the family for a couple of days, getting to know the parents and playing with their three children. I hit it off with the kids and I really wanted the job. The parents seemed to like me as well, and they praised me for buying canned pears – their kids had never liked pears before, but they loved the brand I had bought. I commented that my husband had bought some for our kids, and they liked them as well. They were surprised to hear that I had a husband, and I was forced to admit that I had a husband and family back in Canada, and I really couldn’t accept the job. I was kind of relieved to finally be honest, but at the same time quite disappointed that this wasn’t going to work out.

Then I dreamed that I took my newborn and toddler to the bar one night. I knew it wasn’t a great decision, but I did it anyway. Then the dream ended (it was short).

When I woke up, my children gave me hugs, kisses, home-made cards, pictures and crafts. I felt very guilty about my awful dreams. Which is sort of what Mother’s Day is all about anyway. The kids feel guilty for not being nicer the other 364 days of the year, the mothers feel guilty for not being more loving and patient, and the husbands feel guilty about not doing enough to make their wives and mothers feel special. I suppressed my guilt for the most part and had a nice day anyway. Dale’s family came over for brunch and then I took Neve to ballet. When I got home, Chloe had baked brownies for me all by herself and had arranged them in a special bowl she bought for me at my neighbour’s garage sale. That was the sweetest part of the day. (I'd already dug into them by the time this picture was taken).


My side of the family got together at my sister’s for dinner. Dale got me a bike for Mother’s Day, so Chloe and I rode our bikes there and back (not sure how far it is – I’d estimate four or five miles each way). The bike is awesome; nice and light and easy to ride, but sitting on that bike seat today is going to hurt.

It’s a beautiful sunny day today - hope everyone enjoys it to the fullest! XOXO

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Popsicle season

For lack of anything intelligent to say, here are pictures and kid talk instead. We had the first home-made popsicles of the season earlier this week. It was not snowing then like it did today, but I'm only going to say positive things about the weather and ignore the bad, so as not to encourage it. I believe Bad Weather feels very smug when I mention it in my blog. Anyway, Chloe made these 3-flavour blended-fruit popsicles herself. They looked very impressive:


But pictures aren't always what they seem, sort of like family pictures where it looks like everyone's happy but really the parents are threatening the children under their breath if they don't sit still. Since we don't have a strainer, Chloe couldn't strain out the kiwi and strawberry seeds like the recipe said. So they were seedy and not particularly sweet. Spencer hates all things fruit, so this is how he really felt:

Neve loves fruit and she ate it all, but she didn't ask for another one.


Chloe seemed pleased with hers and didn't notice that no one else was too crazy about them.

I can't remember if I've written this before, but I found it on a scrap piece of paper when I was cleaning up today. It's something Spencer said a while back and I wrote it down: "Is it wrong to mutter curses under your breath?"

Spencer and I were playing a game today and when I made a good move that he wasn't anticipating, he said, "Oh man! I thought the cup of happiness was on my lips." He told me he got that from The Pirates of Penzance. (Dale's mom took him and Chloe to see the play last night.)

Neve (after gymnastics): “Did you see me marching? While I was marching, I said, “This is brilliant!”

Neve and I were out for a walk on Wednesday and she was chattering away. Then she changed the subject and said something totally unrelated. After a pause, she said, "That was really random."

I will close with a clip of Neve from tonight. She's pretending to talk to her friend on the phone. It drags on a bit, so don't feel obligated to watch it.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Twenty


My productivity level plummeted after Neve got home; I haven’t blogged for five days. It was great to get her back home and I have been cutting myself a lot of slack since then. It was eye opening to realize how much of my time is spent on her. At four years old, she is so much easier physically than a baby or toddler, so I am often disappointed in myself by how little I get done in a day. But when I’m in the middle of cleaning up paper piles from the kitchen counter and I have to pause to put a dress on a Polly Pocket, it takes a while to get my focus back to my original job. At that’s if I even remember what I was doing before I was interrupted. All those little interruptions add up and it’s actually more surprising when I do get anything done. Parents should have very low expectations when it comes to accomplishing anything until their children are in school full days. I vow not to be one of those parents of older children who tell parents with young children, “Just wait until they’re teenagers. Things are so much easier when the kids are little.” Even if my teenagers are selling drugs behind Mac’s in Osborne Village, I will still not say it. I’ll just use that time to organize my digital photos. And then when they come home, I’ll show them pictures of how cute and little they used to be and how much they loved their mommy and how we took them to the Ex every year.

Here’s some of this week’s highlights (with a flower theme).


It was our wedding anniversary on Wednesday. I’m not sharing that to make anyone feel bad for not remembering – I don’t remember other people's anniversaries. I hesitate to write how many years we’ve been married since it makes me feel very middle-aged. However, since it is a miraculous accomplishment, here it is: twenty years!! That was one of the reasons for our Mexico trip in March, plus we went out last Saturday to celebrate, so the actually anniversary slipped by quietly. Dale brought me a big bunch of lovely tulips (my favourite).



My parents, who were the only ones who remembered our anniversary – probably because they paid for the wedding – brought us a hydrangea plant.



Yesterday I went to a birthday brunch for my mom. She turned 70 in February, but since she was in Florida until recently, we celebrated with my aunts and sisters yesterday. The aunts' faces are obscured; I didn't know if they'd be happy about having their picture on the “world wide email thing.” Who am I kidding – some of them are more techie than I am with their facebook and blog feeds and photo editing.

The neighbours let us freeload off their garage sale again this year, so Chloe set up a couple of tables over there yesterday. She made a tidy sum of money, especially considering that the biggest ticket item was $5.00. She plans to donate the majority of proceeds to a project at church involving sending school kits to poor countries.

Today was a beautiful sunny day; I'm officially putting the winter clothes away tomorrow and declaring it summer!