Sunday, August 30, 2009
Here’s another ad I liked. Many ads specifically mention “pet free home” as a selling feature; this one does not. In fact, these people like to place their cat on the chair. I guess it weeds out the calls from people that have allergies. Maybe they did it on purpose, but it seems a little odd.
It’s always nice to find new ways to waste my time. But it’s okay because I was quite productive today. I dealt with a whole stack of papers that had been lying around, got some school forms filled out and school supplies organized, and did some cleaning in the playroom. We also went to a Goldeyes baseball game this afternoon - it was perfect weather for it and a lot of fun. I don’t know if I’ll ever bring Neve again though; she was tired and bored and we spent triple the amount on food than we did on the tickets, just to keep her happy. The weather looks promising this week – I’m hoping to go to the quarry on Tuesday, so anyone interested is welcome to join us. It’s always more fun with more people.
Now I must go and check kijiji again. Someone may have listed a brand new couch set for $100 in the last 15 minutes.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
On Tuesday, the kids and I and went for a bike ride to Fort Whyte and took a snack of freshly-baked blueberry muffins to eat in the treehouse there. It was a long bike ride – almost an hour each way – but the kids did very well with no complaints at all. Well, that’s not entirely true. Neve traveled in style in her royal chariot (bike trailer) looking at books, but suddenly she started screaming as if Cujo the psycho dog was attacking her. But instead, a grasshopper had gotten into the trailer and since she is not very brave when it comes to insects, she was freaking out and it took a long time to calm her down. She was nervous the rest of the way and said she wished she never would have come. I was also nervous at one point when there was a gaggle of big fat geese blocking the bike trail. They grudgingly waddled away when the kids got closer, but I would have preferred if they had been a little less comfortable at the sight of humans. After we got home, Neve napped and Chloe and Spencer spent a long time racing Hot Wheels cars down the slide while I worked on my laptop at the patio table. Then I sent the kids to 7-11 for slurpees, which hasn’t happened since this incident, but their desire for a slurpee trumped their trauma. It was just one of those days when everyone (especially me) was happy and calm and content.
Wednesday was one of the best summer day yet, and we spent it at the quarry with friends we haven’t seen for a long, long time. Jennifer and I met eleven years ago when we were both out walking on Corydon with our baby girls. We started talking and exchanged phone numbers and ended up hanging out a lot when the kids were little. The girls ended up going to the same home daycare, which was run by a friend of Jenn’s who turned out to our Siobhan (well, she was Siobhan all along, but now she’s our Siobhan). A few years later, Spencer and Jenn’s son Jack went to Siobhan’s day care together as well. So I have Jenn to thank for introducing me to Siobhan, as well as to another friend who now happens to lives on my street and has children the same age as mine that my children love playing with. Somewhere along the way, Jenn moved to a different neighbourhood and we all got busy with school and work and kids and we rarely see each other. All that to say it was great seeing them and my kids really enjoyed playing with her kids, and a hot day at the beach was icing on the cake. Another Jenn friend was at the quarry too, so it was a good time all around.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Moving on. We had a lovely surprise visit from Siobhan on Friday morning. It was short but sweet and we were all delighted to see her. (Don’t ask what’s up with Spencer’s bare chest and orphan-like sweats.)
We spent the weekend at the yurts at Spruce Woods. The weather magically cooperated for a change and we had a great time. We went for a hike in the sand dunes, went to the beach, and sat around the campfire. It’s a beautiful campground and the yurt bay was private and heavily treed. The ground was covered with poison ivy, but thankfully no one is itchy so far. It would have been great to have our bikes; if anyone ever invents a bike that can fold down to the size of a pizza box, they’ll be rich. We went with Teresa & Anthony and Doug & Lorie and all the children, so a good time was had all around.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I’ve been trudging along without a dryer for the past week and it hasn’t been easy. There is laundry constantly hanging over the shower rods, dining room chairs, and every other available spot. I’ve hung clothes outside to dry on our cable wire, but I have to keep looking out the window the whole time because even if it’s sunny at the moment, it could start to rain at any second. I’ve had to bring laundry in wetter than it was when I put it outside, which is super unproductive and makes me sour. I’ve also used my neighbours’ and mother-in-law’s dryers, but nothing is convenient, especially when a child throws up in the middle of the night and doesn’t get it all in the bucket. I won’t discuss that further, but I am very thankful that my washing machine still works. I bet my dryer is feeling very smug right now, thinking how important he/she was and all those years of being taken for granted is finally paying off. It’s probably also thinking, “All I need is a new belt! Why are they sending me to be recycled?” (We’re calling it ‘recycled’ to make both us of feel better. Well, actually I think it is being taken to some sort of appliance recycling place. It will probably make lots of new Harvest Gold friends there.)
The kids have only been home one night since Sunday, so it’s been a quiet week. I had plans for a bike ride and picnic yesterday, but the rain smashed those down. I am desperate to get to the Quarry at least one more time this summer, but the weather is not cooperating. Unfortunately my soccer goes on whether there are tornado warnings or not, so I played two games this week in the rain. It wasn’t just drizzling or sprinkling, it was all-out raining. Some people like exercising in the rain. I do not. And we lost both times, which goes without saying.
Tonight the girls and I went to Rainbow Stage (great show!), and tomorrow we’re off to Spruce Woods for the weekend. Hope you all have a great weekend – I’m fully optimistic that it’s going to be hot and sunny, so make sure you cram in all your summer goals and dreams!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Before our trip is a distant memory, I guess I should write down what I enjoyed most about our vacation. There was actually very little that I didn’t enjoy, but I’ll try to narrow it down.
This is pretty general, but I loved Toronto. I loved it when we lived there, but I wondered if it would be all that I remembered it was. It was. I loved downtown, I loved the Beaches, the restaurants, the subway, the shops – all of it. The kids loved it too; Chloe is determined to live there when she’s older. It helps that we were in vacation mode and no one had to work or go to school or pay a Toronto mortgage, but I do love that city.
We visited two sets of friends while we were in Toronto. The first was a couple that we knew from Winnipeg, and we eventually followed them to Toronto. We had our first babies three months apart and hung out with them a lot. Now those babies are eleven, and didn’t remember each other at all. The kids (except Neve) all slept in a tent in their backyard, and the next day we all went to Casa Loma. We went to another friend’s for dinner one night. I worked with her at Bell Canada, and we’ve kept in touch since then. She has a 15 year old daughter whom the kids loved, and we all had a really nice time. It was great seeing people we knew, not to mention what a treat it was to have a break from restaurant food.
In Chicago, we stayed at the best hotel. It was right downtown, within a couple of blocks of the shops on Magnificent Mile in one direction, and a short walk to Navy Pier and the lake in the other direction. It was hip and cute and different than other chains we stayed at. Everyone - staff and guests – were helpful and friendly. By the time we got to Chicago the novelty of being a tourist had largely worn off, so the best part was the outdoor pool on the 5th floor. It was hot and humid the whole time we were there so we spent lots of time at the pool. The kids swam both evenings too and it was so cool sitting there in the muggy night air, surrounded by skyscrapers. I could have done with a few less sirens and honking, but it was still pretty much my best memory of the trip.
One of the things I look forward to most about vacations is having time to read. I read two great books, some magazines, plus another two novels that I read aloud to the kids. I bought another book that I didn’t get a chance to start, but at least I have something to look forward to for my next vacation.
And even though personal space and time was in short supply, I have to say I loved spending time with the family without any of the usual distractions. If only we could afford household staff and a life of leisure, my life could be like that all the time. I’d have so much more patience with the kids and we could do craft projects with pipe cleaners and craft foam and do scavenger hunts and plan mystery dinners. Oh well, I tell myself the children will grow up to have more character by not having a childhood just filled with fun and games.
My final happy memory involves shopping. I did very little throughout the trip, but we stayed in Minneapolis the last night, so Chloe and I went to Ikea in the morning. I bought a shelving unit for the living room, and a few other things. However, my favourite purchase ever was made at The Container Store in Chicago. It’s a junk drawer organizer. I don’t have a ‘Before’ picture, but just imagine a chaotic, unorganized mess. Here’s the ‘After’. It pleases me every time I open the drawer.
I’m in an organizing mood and have a few other projects on the go, but will have to get to that another day. I leave you with one of my favourite pictures from the trip.
Friday, August 14, 2009
We had an awesome trip and I’m so sad it’s over. We spent time in Toronto, Niagara Falls, and Chicago. We saw friends that we hadn’t seen in years. We were stereotypical tourists, doing all the attractions and making the kids pose awkwardly for pictures everywhere we went. All that was missing was a fanny pack. We all got along and the kids traveled amazingly. The only thing that didn’t go as planned was getting stuck at the border from Ontario to Michigan on our way home. Apparently they were “tagging minivans” so we had to park and the whole family had to go stand in a long, slow line. When we finally got to the counter, all we had to do was fill out a form and then the customs agent did a quick vehicle inspection. I thought they could have at least interrogated us separately or done a thorough vehicle inspection to make it worth our while, but it was just a long, useless process that set us back more than two hours. I really can't complain if that's the worst thing that happened on the whole trip; however, if more things had gone wrong, I'd be happier to be home. On the positive side, it was a treat not to have to use a single public washroom today.
Once I organize my trip photos, I will invite everyone over and make you sit through a long, elaborate slide show set to music. Until then, here’s a list of eleven things that the kids really enjoyed, in the order in which they occurred (the captions are below the photos; the spacing in Blogger is not co-operating):
Going up the CN Tower – this is what the kids were looking forward to seeing most, and they felt it met all their expectations.
That’s all for today. I'm going to compile my top picks in the next post.
Friday, August 07, 2009
We've visited more tourist attractions than I can name, eaten more fries than any dietitian's family should eat, and done more walking than I would have thought possible with three children (although Neve has been on Dale's shoulders for a large portion of the trip). My legs and feet are chronically fatigued and I've had the back of my flip flops stepped on more times than I can count. But we've been having a lot of fun. The kids have done so good with the travelling and have kept the whining and fighting to a minimum. They've loved pretty much all the attractions we've seen and their excitement is contagious.
I am feeling pressure to step away from the public-access hotel computer - people are starting to hover and glare at me. Tomorrow we'll be in Chicago for a few days, then heading home. See you then! (some of you)