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.

Story time

Chloe started a new enterprise this weekend: storytime for the neighbour kids. She made up flyers, planned a theme, and organized activities. She read them fish/mermaid stories, they coloured fish pictures, and did an “underwater” treasure hunt for gold chocolate coins. Two kids (besides mine) came – one of them was only 13 months old so he played with Little People the whole time, but it went well and everyone seemed happy. Chloe hired Spencer to help her set up the activities and stuff, so he got a cut of the proceeds (he brought his own book). They had everything under control, so the 13-month-old’s mother and I had tea and a nice visit. Chloe was thrilled. She’s hoping to make this a bi-weekly event and is already planning the next one.