Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Here I am, the one that you love

Who can identify the song lyric in the title? Best band ever. I am getting all choked up just thinking about their music.

I thought I should post a new update to go with the new blog background. I've been working a lot, but since a couple of projects are now finished, I hope to start paying more attention to my family and housework (and blog) in the near future. So I'll post a few pictures and leave it at that for now.

Neve at ballet with two of her closest friends

Neve & Ghandi at the Forks. She calls him her great grandfather and insists we visit him every time we go to the Forks. Sometimes she calls him Blackie - for obvious reasons - but I always hope no one around us hears her.

Chloe dressed Neve up and got her to dance and "beatbox"

Below is a picture of Chloe on one of the happiest days of her life. Thanks to a connection of Auntie Jenn's, an autographed picture of Justin Bieber arrived in the mail for her. On the back was a handwritten note to Chloe from JB's best friend back home, who is riding alongside JB's wave of fame. It's a smaller wave, of course, but he has appeared in one of Justin's videos and is well known to devoted Bieber fans. The photo just happened to arrive on Chloe's half-birthday (I know, we're geeks), which we celebrated with sushi and cheesecake. Life doesn't get much better than that when you're twelve. Or forty.

And now for a little quiz ... who do you think this doll looks like? The first correct answer gets an autographed Justin Bieber picture if I can pry it from Chloe's hands while she sleeps. Just kidding, there's no prize because there's no right answer - but take a guess anyway.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Last weekend

My weekend update is a little late; it's more like the mid-week report by now.

Dale & I took rare advantage of our live-in babysitter on Friday night. I don't know why we don't go out more often; twelve year old habits die hard. We went shopping for work clothes for Dale, which isn't exactly his idea of a dream date night, but he cooperated nicely so I took him to a movie afterwards (Inception).

One of the things he got was a new tie. He was trying to remember how to do the knot and checked the internet for help. Luckily he found this simple two-step method.

He did eventually figure it out after watching a more helpful video of a man demonstrating step-by-step instructions like it was terribly serious business.

September is already an expensive month with school fees, kids activities, etc., but it seems there's always opportunities for more spending. Last week our oven broke and this week our van had issues. Thankfully our van just needed a new battery - which was still on some sort of weird, pro-rated warranty - and the lower element of the oven just needs to be replaced. Almost everyone I talk to has recently had some unexpected expense, so maybe it's a fall thing.

Mike & Darla came for dinner Saturday night, so we had to make something that didn't require an oven. Actually we did bake an apple crisp, which we half broiled/half baked. The top got burnt, so that didn't work out great, but we'll probably limp along with a half-working oven for another six months or so. The night was a success anyway; we gambled (unfortunately we didn't win enough to fix our oven) and laughed (see below).

I've had "Lower Fort Garry" on my summer bucket list for the last three years, so we finally made it happen on Sunday. It was a gorgeous day and we went on a tour of all the buildings. The guide was very patient with all the kids' questions and we all had more fun than we thought we would. I only took three pictures, and I have no idea why one of those was of a stray cat.

I'm actually putting Lower Fort Garry back on next summer's list, because the people dressed up in character were done for the year, and I think it would be interesting to see them in action. We'll meet you all there next year.
That's all I have the energy to write at this point. Work and school are wearing me out; I have to get to bed so I can deal with Neve and her inevitable wardrobe crises in the morning. I'll have to write about that sometime; all I'll say about that now is that I wish with all my heart that her school had a very strict uniform policy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I love Justin Bieber

Making a poster for the concert (U smile I smile - a line from a song)

(This is written by Chloe, in case you can't tell. My mom doesn't use as many exclamation marks)

One of the best days of my life was September 14. That was the night of JUSTIN BIEBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had soooooooooooooo much fun there! Justin Bieber sang all my favourite songs and played the piano, drums, and guitar. Me and Abbey were screaming, singing and jumping the whole time. My favourite part was when Justin Bieber came on stage for the first time. After the concert, my throat hurt and I couldn’t hear anything, but it was totally worth it!!!! It was definitely one of the BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Back to School 2010

Times are tough - we had to send one kid to school barefoot. It's okay though, that kid didn't officially have school today, just a meet-the-teacher appointment. Spencer's looking as nervous as he does every year; he's always so relieved to get the first day over with. Chloe was as delighted as always, especially with a new haircut and the anticipation of getting her first locker. The kids were all happy at the end of the day, so I guess we'll do it again tomorrow. We treated ourselves to ice cream at Marble Slab for surviving Day One. I'd like to do that again tomorrow as well.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Yurts / the end of summer

In about eight hours, peace will reign in my house once more. I’m always sad to see the end of summer vacation, but it’s time. Even Spencer – who always insists he hates school – agrees. We bought him a new backpack and lunch kit today and as we walked out of the store, he told me, “I’m so happy and excited.” I didn’t think he cared about stuff like that. Now I wish I’d bought him a new outfit. Chloe is the only one who got new school clothes, and that’s because she went shopping herself. Spencer has enough jeans and t-shirts that fit him, and Neve is too difficult to shop for. I don’t dare shop without her because she won’t wear anything I choose, but if I allow her in the store, she gravitates to things like Dora light-up shoes and flouncy formal dresses with velvet bodices. As a result, most of her clothes are either too small or too ugly, and I have no idea what to do about it.

Anyway, going back a few days… we stayed in a yurt at Spruce Woods this weekend. The weather turned out to be much sunnier than expected which was a grand surprise. At night, the temperature dipped pretty low, but we were toasty inside despite forgetting to close the windows. The poor heater must have been working hard. I would rave about how awesome yurts are, but they’re already hard to come by so I’ll just say that sleeping in a warm, dry, place is not that great. And just because there’s electricity, it doesn’t mean you have to bring your electric kettle and griddle and all the other comforts of home. It really kind of sucks.

We brought some bikes this time and even though it took Dale a very long time to get our new bike carrier set up and loaded, it was Worth It. Spruce Woods is a really nice campground, but the store, restaurant and beach are a fair distance from the yurts so biking was the perfect solution. Everyone went on a hike to the sand dunes on Saturday, but I selflessly volunteered to stay back with Neve while she napped. Since I was stuck with nothing to do, I thought I may as well read The Girl Who Played with Fire. All I do is give, give, give.

On Sunday after checkout, we had the best lunch ever at the restaurant and then went on a shorter hike into the sand dunes. My picture-taking was sparse, but I did seem to take a bunch of food pictures, so I’ll let that be the theme. We were there with friends, but there is no evidence whatsoever to prove that.

We had a Summer List of fun things to do, but somehow we managed to accomplish less than half of the items. One of the items was Thunder Rapids, so we squeezed in a trip on Monday. It was windy and on the cool side, but we had a great time mini-golfing and go-karting. I’m going to try to check off a few more things in the next couple of weeks. Actually I could just go throw away the list right now and start fresh next year.

One other fun thing we did this weekend was see my new great-nephew. I know! I’m a great-aunt at 40! But then again, some people have great-nephews or –nieces that are older than they are. Oh wait, maybe that’s just regular nieces and nephews. Sounds like I need to go back to school myself. But baby Cruz is adorable. My children were fighting over who got to hold him and he just slept and let us pass him around. When he eventually got squirmy, my nephew held him in this funny, arm’s length position and he just flopped back to sleep. Before we were off the driveway, Spencer said, “I miss Cruz already.” I told him maybe when Cruz was a bit older and drank from a bottle, we could babysit him. I guess Spencer thought that was too far off, because after a pause he asked hopefully, “Do you still have breast milk?” I guess if I really was as giving as I claim to be, I’d give Spencer a brother.

So that was our summer. Now the school bags are all packed and waiting at the door. Even though I long for the peace and quiet, I admit I’ll miss those kids. Especially the babysitting-aged one; I got very used to running out whenever I felt like it. I still have Neve with me for a few more days, and after that she’s only in school half days, so there’s little chance of me getting too lonely.

I was hoping to be in bed a long time ago, but I guess it’s not happening by magic. Getting up early concerns me. That’s a giant downside of school. Clock-watching is another. I seem to have lost my watch; I wonder how many days that will work as an excuse for being late for school.

Tomorrow: the annual back-to-school photo

Friday, September 03, 2010

The first post of September

It’s been a sick week around here. And I don’t mean sick in a cool way (if there even is such a thing; I have no idea what the cool kids are saying). Neve got sick Sunday night, I got sick in the middle of an all-day staff meeting on Tuesday (my co-workers who were stuck there all day were jealous), Chloe and Spencer got sick Tuesday night, and Dale finally took his turn yesterday. Thankfully, it was a very quick bug and in all cases except one, there was enough advance warning to make it to a toilet or garbage can. That’s a new record. Turns out throwing up is really not a big deal when it doesn’t involve multiple loads of laundry in the middle of the night, scrubbing floors, and changing pyjamas. In fact, it’s kind of handy; no one’s been hungry all week so I haven’t had to make any meals.

There’s only six more days until school starts. Or as Chloe would say, school starts six days before the Justin Bieber concert. All time is measured in relation to the JB concert. Because of our illness, we have been wasting away the days. We just lie around all day doing nothing. The most fun thing we’ve done is play multiple games of Pengolo, which is a lame pre-school game. And believe me, it’s not that fun. The good part about having no fun is that we’re all looking forward to school. The males in the family would deny that – Dale, because the only difference he notices between school and summer is that he doesn’t have to make lunches, and Spencer because he would never publicly admit to enjoying school. But we’re all ready for a change of scenery. The house is a disaster from top to bottom - except for the playroom closet - and I’m not going to waste time cleaning it until the kids are in school. If I was a better mother, I would have trained the children to do all their laundry, clean the storage room, and prepare meals for the freezer, but now I’m stuck doing it all myself. Well, actually no one’s doing any of that. But that’s going to change in fall. For the last three months, I’ve prefaced every sentence with “in the fall.” In the fall, the kids are going to have specific chores, we’re going to plan our meals ahead of time, stock up on groceries when they’re on sale, do nice things for our neighbours, stick to a budget, read to the kids more, go on regular date nights, organize our entire house, exercise, and go to bed earlier. I can’t tell you how much I am dreading fall. Except for the back-to-school part.

There actually were a few moments of fun for me – I not only went to a movie with Teresa on Tuesday (Eat Pray Love on a nauseous stomach wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but I was very sad about abstaining from the free popcorn), but Darla came over tonight for a walk and wine (not at the same time). I have had very few (actually none that I can think of) nights out with girl friends this summer, and I’ve really missed it. In the fall, I’ll have to do that more regularly. I’m looking more forward to fall already. I should revise my goals: in the fall, I plan to cook less, watch more TV, go for regular massages, and hire a maid.

Chloe’s skin issues are improving, although her eyes are still a bit puffy and red. My allergies are also calming down – must be all this rain. I don’t mind the odd rainy day, but this is getting silly. I’d really like another beach day or three, especially now that my tummy is less convex than it has been all summer (yay, flu! There really is very little downside.).

We are off to the yurts tomorrow for the weekend. I’m hoping the weather defies all predictions and turns out to be sweltering and sunny. I hope you all have a fun, sunny, September long weekend (also known as the second last weekend before the Justin Bieber concert).