Friday, February 26, 2010

Why would Joannie email ME?

I have never watched the Olympics as much as I have this year. I could name the recipient and event of every one of Canada’s medals (9 gold, 7 silver, 4 bronze). I’ve been staying up watching TV til midnight every night, and even recording some events if I have to go out. This is not really anything to brag about. I’m even starting to dream about the Olympics. After the women’s figure skating short program on Tuesday, I had a dream that night that I got an email from Joannie Rochette asking me what the standings were. If I’m going to dream about the Olympics, I would prefer to dream about being awesome at something and winning a medal. Oh well, I am pretty awesome at reading my email.

The rest of today’s post is a sampling of kid conversations I’ve written down in the last week or two.

***

Spencer and Neve were bickering.

Neve: If you say that one more time, I’m going to expel you.

Spencer: Neve, do you even know what expel means? It means you get kicked out of school.

(pause)

Neve: Well, when I say it, it means I’m going to spell you with my wand.

***

Neve: Mom, what does overdo mean?

I launch into a long, detailed explanation, complete with an example of a person who is supposed to rest to recover from an illness, but ends up working and exercising and “over-doing” it.

Neve still has a blank look on her face.

Spencer: Neve, do you mean overdue, like a library book?

Turns out she did.

***

When Neve wore her princess dress to school last week, Chloe asked her if the other kids liked it. “It was their nightmare,” Neve said. “But a pretty nightmare.”

I have no idea what that means.

***

Neve got a needle at the doctor’s today. She did not win any medals for bravery. She cried before, during, and after the needle. In the midst of her tears, she sobbed, “Why did he have to do the needle in THIS arm (her left one)? This is the arm I use to hold the phone! Waaaaa!”

Luckily she didn’t receive any important phone calls tonight.

***

HEY! We just got another medal! Make that 10 gold!

Monday, February 22, 2010

More birthday


Today was finally Neve's "real birthday." (and yes, she is wearing the same dress as yesterday). We woke up to her coming down the stairs, squealing, "I'm five! I'm five!" She was beaming all day; there was no crying or fussing for the entire fourteen hours that she was awake. I like five. We'll see what happens tomorrow when there's no cake or presents.


(The little cupcake above looks a little sad, but I draw the line at three birthday cakes.)


The five-year-old also has some attitude; she declined to smile in this picture. Oh well, she smiled enough the rest of the day. I volunteered in her nursery class this morning, which she was very pleased about. She made sure everyone (including the lady at Safeway) knew it was her birthday today. We went to Boston Pizza for dinner and she was trying to catch people's eye so that they'd look at her and she could tell them it was her birthday. That wasn't quite as successful as she would have liked, but nothing could dampen her spirits much. The day seemed to be all she'd dreamed it would be. Tonight she was already talking about what she's going to wear for her half-birthday, and has picked a theme for her next birthday party (My Little Pony).
I'm exhausted after all this celebrating, but Neve's excitement and joy made it all worth it. She has her crazy moments, but she's a fun kid with a spark in her eyes and a skip in her step and we love her to pieces. (That's for Neve to read when she's a moody teenager who thinks no one loves her.)
One month and two days til the next child's birthday; the planning has already begun...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The last day I'll ever have a 4 year old



A year ago, I remember thinking four seemed so much older than three. Now I'm feeling the same way about five. Maybe I'll feel that way every year; maybe it's a last-child thing. I feel sad that Neve's growing up so fast, yet I love how much easier life is getting (in some ways!) as she becomes more independent.

My family (at least those within driving distance) came over tonight to help celebrate. Neve had a great day. She had a hard time falling asleep at naptime, so I told her to rest for 20 more minutes, and then I'd come check on her.

"Is that very short?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"Well, don't check too soon because I don't want to be bossy at my party." (the other day she said if she doesn't have a nap, she's too bossy later on).

When I checked 20 minutes later (okay, it was really 40 minutes), she was fast asleep.

Here's the cake, with my talented cake-decorating niece:



The presents (Auntie Janet made the princess cape):



One more day of celebrating left; I think Neve has pretty high expectations, which I doubt will be met. But we'll try; after all, it's the last time I'll have a child turning five.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Magical


It would have been pretty hard to wipe the smile off Neve’s face last night. We took her and the other kids to the Disney on Ice Princess show. She wore her Cinderella dress, complete with tiara and other jewelry (actually she wears the tiara pretty much every day). The show was good, but the best part was watching Neve. She was completely enraptured at the sight of “real princesses!” (Her doll Mackenzie [formerly known as Kendra] had to come too).

Embarrassing as it is to admit, I was one of the losers taking pictures that didn’t even turn out. Why?? At least I only took a couple; the group of four adults in front of us – with no children – took way more. I actually love Disney on Ice; I’m just glad I have children to take so I don’t look silly. Well I still look silly, but that’s how God made me.

Here Neve is looking either drunk or passing out with excitement. (The other kids were there too but I didn’t take pictures of them because Spencer was pretending to look bored and Chloe was trying to look cool).
The only thing that would have made Neve’s evening more perfect is if we would have bought her overpriced treats and junky Disney merchandise. We went to the food court in Cityplace for supper and told the kids to fill up on cheap fast food instead of buying food at the show. The older kids were fine with that, but Neve was a little envious of all the treats others were having. At one point she looked at the girls behind us with their $10 cotton candy, $10 snow cones, and who-knows-how-much-$ twirly neon light things and whispered to me wistfully, “I wish I was like them.” I felt guilty for a minute, but it was quickly forgotten with the excitement of the show.
Still in a magical princess mindset, Neve wore her Cinderella dress all day today, including to school and the mall. She would have worn it to the doctor’s office too, if I hadn’t forgotten to take her to the appointment I booked three months ago. When I remembered later in the day, I called the doctor’s office and they were going to make me wait another three months. After much apologizing and some begging, they gave me an appointment next Friday. Funny how that works. Neve’s so behind with her vaccinations, it isn’t even funny. I’m going to feel even more guilty if she gets the mumps than I did about not buying her a snow cone.
In other news, my niece Bailey passed her drivers test yesterday. If you live in the south end of the city, BEWARE! Just kidding, she’s responsible and confident and a much better driver than most people out there. Congratulations, Bailey!
On a final note, my brother Dan in Vancouver is volunteering as a driver for the Olympics, and has some great photos and other local Olympic-related stuff on his blog; check it out.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Can you feel the love

Today is one of my favourite days of the year. It’s extra-nice that Valentines Day fell on a Sunday this year, so we could enjoy our chocolate cake and not rush off to school. We probably should have rushed off to church, but we had a relaxing morning instead. Bailey and Tia, my teenage nieces, stayed with us this weekend and the kids had a lot of fun together. A good part of today was spent in pyjamas, eating chocolate, looking at books, playing DS games, and watching the Olympics. We also got in some physical activity by going sliding at the hill across the river.




Dale and I took advantage of the live-in babysitters last night and went out for dinner with Mike & Darla. We went to a little Vietnamese restaurant that we’ve been to several times and have always been very pleased with. Unfortunately, things have deteriorated drastically and it was a bit of a disaster. I should have known when I phoned for reservations and the lady asked me what kind of food I wanted. English was not her first language, and I suspect not even her second one, so I wasn’t sure what to say. I just said, “something from the menu?” Turns out they now offer Vietnamese/Chinese food at lunch, and Ethiopian food for dinner. It was the Ethiopian lady on the phone, so she said she’d call me back. She called me the next day and put the Vietnamese cook on the phone. Her English was not even as good as the Ethiopian lady’s, but somehow we arranged that she would come to the restaurant specially to cook for us.

At the restaurant, the menus were another bad sign: on the front was a picture of a happy face made of fried eggs and bacon. Inside were mostly menu items like pancakes and tuna melts, along with a few Chinese and Ethiopian options. Dale had an Ethiopian dish, which was pretty good, but our Chinese dishes were bland and boring. The rice wasn’t even fresh. And much to Darla’s (and my) chagrin, they didn’t have a liquor license anymore (but are getting one in March). They were supposed to be open until 9:00, but at 8:00, the door was locked and the “open” sign was unplugged. We were sitting by the window and didn’t know what to do when a guy started knocking at the window. The workers didn’t seem to hear him, so Mike had to go tell them. It was all strange and unorganized and disappointing (except for the lovely company we were with!). Afterward, we went to the Inn at the Forks for drinks and dessert. That part was really nice and they even had live music.


One of Dale’s clients gave him a doll yesterday (the reason for that is unclear - he gets some interesting gifts), which Neve is raising as her own. Unlike Chloe, Neve has never had much interest in baby dolls – she prefers stuffed animals and Barbies – but she is enamoured with this one. She has named her Kendra and is taking exceptional care of her. It’s nice to see her being so maternal and gentle. Like any proud mother, she loves taking pictures of her baby. (I took the one on the top left; she took the rest, as well as about 20 others I deleted).


Tomorrow is a completely blank slate. We talked about doing a few different things, but have made no decisions, so we’ll probably sit around in our pyjamas again and eat more chocolate and watch more Olympics. It doesn’t sound so bad to me. Happy Valentines Day, everyone! I love you all!!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Party #1

How can it be Monday again?! Since Christmas, the weeks seem to be vanishing into thin air. I can’t believe we’re well into February already. Soon it will be summer, then it will be Christmas, and then suddenly the kids will be moving out on their own. I wish time would slow down a little. Or I wish that I could train myself to slow down and enjoy the little things. I’m not sure what little things I should be enjoying. Taking out the recycling? Changing the toilet paper roll? Clipping the kids’ fingernails? I’d rather enjoy bigger things, like going on trips. Speaking of trips, I’m going to start a facebook group called If one more person posts their Mexico pictures on Facebook, I’m going to un-friend them. Tomorrow I’m getting some pictures taken of me in the tropical house at the zoo in my swimsuit, holding a bottle of tequila. I’ll add a photoshop tan and make it my new profile pic. That will show them.


We celebrated Neve’s birthday yesterday with party #1. She came to terms with the advance party / “real” birthday once it finally sank into her little red head that she’d be getting two parties and two cakes. She wanted a heart theme – not very original for a February birthday, but very convenient. I made a cake which turned out well considering my cake decorating limitations, but Neve and her friends didn’t seem quite as impressed as last year. I’m definitely getting Bailey to make the cake for the family party. Besides that, she was happy with her party and thrilled with her presents, which is what it's really all about when you're (almost) five. Or any age, really.


opening presents


playing pin the bow on Hello Kitty




My niece Bella spent the weekend with us while her parents are on vacation. She was a little ray of sunshine, toddling around and making us laugh. The kids loved having her here, although Neve was a little displeased about not being the baby. Luckily she is very fond of Bella and always pointed out the cute things she did. The last time Bella stayed with us, she called me Mommy the whole time. This time she called me “Auntie” until Sunday, and then I became “Mommy” despite my (half-hearted) protests.
With the party preparations and other busy-ness, the kids’ valentines have been completely neglected. Spencer begs to stay home from school every day, and his argument tonight was that he would have more time to a) write out his valentines; and b) accumulate reading minutes for I Love to Read month. He already has hundreds of minutes logged since Feb. 1 so that’s not a great reason, but the writing-out-valentines swayed me. Also, I’m hoping if I let him stay home tomorrow, he won’t ask to stay home again this week. I could be wrong. He feels school is a “complete waste of time” and wishes with all his heart that he could be home-schooled so he could learn about things that really interest him. If anyone’s interested in taking that on, let me know.
Speaking of reading, here’s a little plug for my favourite toy store of all time, Toad Hall. I was there last week, and was again reminded of what an amazing children’s book section they have. The woman who chooses the books is passionate about children’s books, and I wish I could buy every single book there. There are no lame “Dora Saves the Magic Kingdom” books; every single book is clever and appealing. I bought a couple of books last week that the kids are really enjoying; I am making it my mission to go and buy at least one new book a month from there. I’ve started buying hardcover books (if I love a book enough to buy it, I want it to last), so it’s not cheap but with the amount of time my kids spend reading, it’s worth it. This sounds like an ad for “I Love to Read” month, but I was just trying to encourage you to go to Toad Hall. You don’t even have to buy anything, just go look!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Auf Wiedersehen, Annika

Congratulations to Stephen for finally finishing his 30 day challenge (which some of us finished in November). Just for that, I will summon up a blog post myself.

I’m feeling cheerier than last week. I guess the sun really does make a difference. The fact that I feel happier in -30 degree temperatures than I do in zero degree weather defies all logic, and actually concerns me. What if I am ever forced to choose between living in Nunavut or Vancouver? Fortunately, I don’t think that’s a decision many people have had to make, but it never hurts to think ahead and be prepared for hypothetical situations.

I’m thankful that yet another January is behind us. The weather in February is no better, but it’s one month closer to spring, and there are more diversions to keep me occupied. One of those diversions is Neve’s birthday. It’s not until later this month, but she made up her guest list in the summer and has not wavered from it. I suggested inviting some friends from school and elsewhere, but for some reason she is very set on inviting only three people (our neighbour girl, a friend, and Bella). Our neighbour girl will be out of town on and around Neve’s birthday, so we’re going to have a little party with these three friends this weekend. This is causing much stress and anxiety. Here is a sample paragraph that takes place every single day.

Neve: My birthday is this weekend!

Spencer: No, it’s not. Just your party is this weekend.

Neve: But it’s my real birthday because Tegan will be there.

(This is where I try to jump in and agree with her and change the subject. Usually it’s not that easy).

Spencer: No, Tegan will be away when it’s your real birthday.

Neve: MOM! Tegan’s not going to be at my birthday?!?

Me: Yes, she’ll be at your party.

Neve: But that’s not my real birthday!

Me: She’ll be away on your birthday. That’s why we’re having your party early.

Neve: But I want her to come to my real birthday.

Me: The party is your real birthday.

Spencer: No, it’s not.

(repeat 10 times)

I try very hard to avoid any mention of her birthday or her party, but I have a feeling there are problems ahead. If I was smart, I would just pretend Sunday is her real birthday and not celebrate on the “real” date at all. But that seems wrong. This irrational conversation isn’t that fun either, so I’m not sure which is worse.

Today was the day that registration opened for Manitoba campgrounds. You would think camping would not be on most people’s minds on February first, but you would be wrong. We were trying to book yurts with two other families, so we were all at our computers at 7:30 a.m. sharp when the reservation system opened. After a flurry of registrations and phone calls and emails, between the three of us, we ended up with two yurts on our first-choice weekend, and two yurts on our second-choice weekend. Everything else was taken. So it was basically useless as far as going camping together, unless we set up our tent in the poison ivy between our friends’ yurts. Who are all these hyper-organized, control freak, Type A people that plan their summers in February?? Besides us, of course.

Annika, the foreign student who was living with my sister and her family went back home to Germany this weekend. We were all sad to see her go; she is a sweet, fun girl. I tried to get a nice picture of her and the kids, but this is the best shot I got.


But it’s better than the next one. Spencer is trying to compensate for Bella's sadness.

Then it got even worse so I gave up. I'm especially fond of Neve's eyes. I'd like to blow this up and make it into one of those giant photo blankets. (Who orders those? Probably the same people who book campsites in February. Besides me.)

Anyway, Annika looks perfect in all of them. Not sure if you’re reading this, Annika, but I hope your adjustment to being back home is going smoothly. Don’t forget us!