Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Bagel #3

I saved my favourite for last. The way Dale and Spencer look at the camera at the beginning makes it look staged, but it really wasn’t. If it was, I’d have made Spencer wear a shirt and not play around with his …pyjama pants. Well, I guess it was staged in that we were video-ing it, but Spencer hadn’t seen the bagel before. You know what I mean.

We’re almost halfway through spring break and we have nothing to show for it. I spent the weekend at a retreat with my young moms group (sadly I am not a “young mom”; I am supposed to be the older, wiser mentor – it’s hard to say which category I am worse suited for). I’m not much of a retreat person, but I actually had a good time. It was a fun, relaxed group with many a colourful conversation that you wouldn’t normally have at a Christian retreat. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the weekend flew by.

At home, Dale entertained the kids – he took them to see a play and to friends’ for dinner. Since I got back, we’ve played outside, Chloe and I walked to the mall to do some shopping, went to Toad Hall Toys, had Bella here for the afternoon, and have been getting ready for Spencer’s birthday party on Saturday. Tomorrow I’m planning to go for a run, help someone move, bake cinnamon buns, and have some friends over for dinner. I also need to do some more party prep and, oh yeah, do some work since it’s a regular week of work for me. I hope my boss isn’t reading this. (Hi, Karen!)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Before I had children, I always said I was going to have kids twelve years apart so that the oldest could help raise the next one. I still think it's a great idea, but I must say I'm thankful I don't have a newborn right now. I am pretty happy that I have a twelve-year-old though. For twelve years, we've had to plan our lives around childcare. This birthday opens the door to a whole new world of freedom for Dale and me. We've already left her in charge of the other kids for short periods of time, but now it's all legal and it's going to be awesome.

But enough about me and my new lease on life; Chloe had a great day. Last night she tried to convince me that she should be able to sleep in on her birthday, but I was not receptive to making a special trip to bring her to school later. Then she asked for a "special" breakfast, so I decided that was the lesser of the evils and made some blueberry pancakes. After school, Dale took her to buy her cell phone. Everything went smoothly and Chloe is now the proudest cell phone owner ever. I defy anyone to find me someone more excited about their cell phone than she is. She is probably lying awake in her bed right now with her cheeks and jaw aching from all that beaming. But she'll still be beaming.

She's a great kid; we feel so lucky to have her. Hopefully she's not saving up her trouble for when she's a teenager. Oh well, we can always threaten to confiscate her cell phone.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The cockroach bagel - #1

When we were in Vancouver, we bought this silly little plastic trick bagel with a fake cockroach attached. We thought it would be great fun to scare the children with. And it was.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chloe's birthday party

We had Chloe's birthday party at our house on Saturday. Having a 12-year-old girl birthday party is very low stress compared to what I imagine the 9-year-old boy party will be like in two weeks. We had someone come to our house to do beading with the girls. It was a big success - the girls loved it and it took almost two hours. The necklaces look really cute and everyone was very pleased with them. Shelly, the beading woman, was really good with the girls; very patient and helpful and organized.

Then we had some snacks and cake. My niece Bailey made the cake (of course), and she totally outdid herself. Chloe's been on a mission for the past year or two to get her own cell phone. We told her she had to wait until she was 12 and could use her own money for it, so she can barely wait until Wednesday when her dream will come true. She rarely phones or email her friends now, and since none of her friends have their own phones, she'll have no one to text except Dale and I. But I hope her dream lives up to her expectations. Anyway, that's the story behind the cake (plus she loves Justin Bieber).

They also did a toilet paper dress designer game at the end. Chloe was thrilled with the party and her friends seemed to have fun too. It's always a relief to have these things over with, and always somewhat surprising that we pulled it off. I think I've said this before, but to anyone out there who has any control over their family planning: spread out your kid's birthdays!!

It was a good weekend all around...on Friday we went to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I went for a run on Saturday before the party and had a long nap after the party. Today we went to the Forks after church and had crepes at a new crepe place there. The river was pretty high and the kids were playing at the edge. Spencer was the only one with rubber boots on, so the kids took turns wearing them and putting their feet in the water until Spencer filled it with water and that was the end of that. He squeaked around with one wet foot the rest of the time. We hung around for a while - it was a gorgeous sunny day, although a bit chilly. Later in the afternoon we biked over to a playground and played for a couple of hours. Everyone was in a good mood, and it felt good tucking them all in tonight with no guilt over not having spent enough time time with them this weekend (especially since I'll be away next weekend!).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Two wheels

We took advantage of the gorgeous weather this week and played outside as much as possible. Neve's training wheels were all wobbly despite many adjustment attempts, so I took them off on Monday. She practiced without them for a while on Monday, but she didn't seem to be getting the whole balancing aspect. But with a little more practicing Tuesday she was riding by herself for short periods, and by Wednesday she was completely on her own - starting, turning, and stopping. There are still some control issues to be worked out (sometimes she drives into trees), but she's doing awesome. I'm very relieved she learned so quickly; my back and thighs did not enjoy running along all bent over holding the bike seat. My neighbours are probably also happy not to see my butt running up and down the sidewalk anymore. Neve and her big proud smile are definitely cuter.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


We got back this afternoon from my birthday trip to Vancouver. We stayed in a beautiful hotel right downtown and had a great time walking around and seeing all the action. Since the Paralympics just started this weekend, there were celebratory things going on and lots of people everywhere. We thought about doing the zip line in Robson Square, but at 2.5 hours, the wait was still too long for us. I feel like we still got a little bit of the Olympic feeling; it was sort of like arriving at a party too late, but the Paralympics stirred things back up a little. When we arrived on Wednesday, the stores had their Olympic souvenirs marked down, but by the weekend they were back up to the regular price.

We did lots of shopping and walking and eating out. Our goal was to not eat at any chain restaurants; however we ended up having lunch at Ikea one day and at Milestones another day. I justified it because we don’t have either of those chains in Winnipeg, but I knew in my heart I was sort of cheating. (We saw Brent Butt at Milestones, but I was too shy to ask for his autograph. If I’d known how much Dan liked him, I would have definitely got one for him. Or not.) We had amazing Indian food and Japanese food and seafood; now I think I will take a break from eating for a while. At least until tomorrow morning.

The only downside was the weather. The gorgeous sunny weather we all saw on TV during the Olympics was gone. We had cool, rainy weather the whole time. The sun made only brief appearances, but after I bought myself some rubber boots and got used to carrying an umbrella at all times, it really didn’t hinder our fun. Especially when there’s scenery like this:

and this:

I love the little spots where these cherry trees are planted: (this is taken from the bridge to Granville Island)

And you can't go to Vancouver these days without getting a shot of this: (I meant to go back once they re-lit the cauldron for the Paralympics, but I didn't get around to it)

Here I am at a mini-blogger’s reunion:

Okay, Dan was badly photoshopped into this picture. Here are me & Siobhan on Bowen Island:

And here are Dan & me in Vancouver. (We had all just been in the hot tub, so I look …. shall we say … relaxed.)

Dan guided us to Ikea, made dinner for us one night, and we went out for sushi last night. Jenn was out of town visiting her mom who’s sick, so we were sad to miss her. Dale & I went over to Bowen Island yesterday to see Siobhan and Derrick. The island is the cutest place ever – very quaint and unique. We had an delicious lunch at a little cafĂ©, had tea at their cozy cottage-like house with a huge deck overlooking the ocean, and got a little tour of the island. This picture was taken on their deck.

With the two hour time difference between Vancouver and here, plus the daylight savings time change, this day has gone by in a flash. We had a happy reunion with the kids (who had a delightful time being spoiled by Grandma), unpacked and did some laundry. I’m about ready to flop into bed, so I’ll end with a terrible bedtime story.
We were inside the Public Market at Granville Island yesterday morning, eating crepes (we had them on three separate occasions on our trip) and watching crazy people feeding the pigeons. A dad and his two little boys were happily scattering whatever it is that pigeons eat, when suddenly a seagull lurking nearby just hopped over and snatched up a pigeon in its beak. The little children (and everyone else) were quite disturbed by this, so the father ran over to the seagull. The seagull flew off somewhere below the dock, which was probably a relief to the dad because I can’t imagine he had any idea of what to do. After that, we couldn’t see the pigeon-eating seagull anymore, but I think the little boys could because they were standing and staring at something for quite a while. I don’t know why the father didn’t distract them and take them to the Kids Market or buy them a crepe, but I guess I wouldn’t understand the thought process of someone who feeds pigeons in the first place. There were several bird incidents, but the one that made my heart stop the longest was the crow that flew VERY close to me on Bowen Island. It’s not easy, this bird phobia. Luckily, it’s not as big a problem in Winnipeg. That’s what I kept telling myself as we flew away from the mountains and ocean and Ikea and friends and family… “At least there are hardly any pigeons and seagulls in Winnipeg…”

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sick / Squirrels / Bella

It’s been a stellar weekend. Spencer threw up Thursday night, Chloe and Dale threw up last night, I’ve been nauseous since Saturday afternoon, and Neve’s still waiting for her turn.* I won’t go into much detail, but I think I’ve mentioned before how my kids are not good at predicting when they are going to throw up. In some families, the only clean up required is a flush of the toilet and a face-washing. Not so with us. We had to throw out the large jute rug in our bedroom, our mattress will ever be the same again, and our washing machine has been busy all weekend. Spencer threw up late in the evening when Dale and I were watching TV in the basement. He had come to our room (in his sleep, he says) and threw up ALL over our bed - pillows, comforter, sheets, mattress pad, mattress. And he was crouching right in the middle of it. His feet were covered in barf, so I picked him up and carried him to the bathroom. I thought he might need to throw up more, so I opened the seat and lid of the toilet and set him in front of it. We were both kind of freaking out, and he looked up at me with a horrified look on his face and said, “I am NOT putting my feet in that!”

Anyway, I already went into way more detail than I said I would. It’s making me queasy again. On the positive side, our bedroom is thoroughly sanitized and fresh as a daisy. Everything’s been washed (some things three times) and/or aired out outside. I get nervous putting things out on the porch though; the local squirrels are a constant presence out there. I have to open the door a crack, make a loud noise, and then proceed. The other time a squirrel came running toward the door when I was opening it. I didn’t like that. It (they? Can’t tell if it’s always the same one. I’ll have to study its markings sometime.) likes to sit on the railing and eat pinecones. It makes a huge mess – there is pinecone residue everywhere. I also spotted it in my neighbour’s dryer vent again. Siobhan’s mom Joan would be in her glory. I have a lot of pictures of that squirrel(s). I'm not sure if that's something I should admit to. I might have to start a daily squirrel photo section.

We had to miss out on several things this weekend because of our ill health, however the three healthiest family members made a brief appearance at Bella’s birthday party. I can’t believe she’s TWO! Jim and Sabrina went all out with the party – the decorating and food looked amazing (I’m sure it tasted good too; sadly I didn’t have any. except for the odd streamer - mmmm) and Bella was the cutest birthday girl ever. Bailey made the cake; she’s a busy girl this time of year.

*As I was about to post this, Neve’s turn came. It all went into the garbage can. Miracles do happen. I very much apologize if we passed the bug on to anyone. Spencer was quarantined during Storytime Saturday morning, and no one else was sick until that afternoon. As for Bella’s party…I just hope Neve didn’t double-dip. SORRY!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I promise I will stop talking about the Olympics soon

Spencer is still trying to decide between pursuing fencing or luge. Dale told him he could do both since one was a summer event and one was in the winter games.

Spencer said, “No. I just really want to stay focused on one thing.”

He says it so seriously and passionately. He is feeling a lot of pressure to make a decision soon.

His earnest bedtime prayer tonight: “Please help me to decide which event I should do in the Olympics. Help me to train hard. Help me to be focused. Help me to get a medal by the second time.” (I believe he means by his second Olympics)

Please help me not to laugh while he’s praying.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Practicing to become Olympians

We finally decided to get off the couch on Saturday and go skiing. Those over-achieving Olympians were making me feel lazy. We left Neve with Jim & Sabrina, and went to Holiday Mountain for the day. It was the kids' first time skiing; Dale and I have only been once or twice in the last 20 years, so it was a bit of the blind leading the blind. The children did very well - way better than I thought they would. We did three runs down the bunny hill, then took the chair lift to the higher hill. There was lots of this:

but it progressed to this:

I don't think the kids ever made it down without falling at least once, but they improved 100%. They only had to stop the chair lift twice for Spencer. But it all worked out, and we all had a lot of fun. The weather was perfect, although it would have been nice to see the sun. Here we are - I am a vision in mismatched browns with a splash of red (neckwarmer) so people wouldn't mistake me for the FedEx guy. It really was a great day; the children loved it and it felt so good being out in the fresh air. We'll definitely do it again, but probably not until next year. It will probably take until then for my calves to get back to normal.
Now that the Olympics are over, I guess regularly-scheduled life will resume. We are all sad and lonely now. Spencer has decided (like everyone else in Canada) that he wants to be in the Olympics. He hasn't picked his sport yet, but he says it's between fencing and luge. When he went to bed last night, he prayed, "Please help the next two years to go by quickly." That's probably the same prayer that the TV networks and advertising salespeople said.