Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Furnace

I’ve been taking a break from all my usual things: work, blogging, exercising, eating in moderation, cleaning, laundry, showering, personal grooming, and supervising my children. It’s been awesome. I know I have to re-enter civilization eventually, so I thought I’d start with blogging. I have a lot to catch up on, so I’ll aim for a few smaller posts rather than everything at once. By “a lot,” I don’t mean anything particularly exciting, just the usual Christmas festivities.

As I mentioned in the last post, we woke up to no heat last Thursday morning. After the professionals were unable to revive our 19-year-old furnace, it was removed from life support and laid to rest. We (Dale) freaked out at first, but it all worked out as smoothly as possible under the circumstances. We got a couple of quotes on Friday and went with a company who was not the cheapest, but who did all the paperwork for us regarding rebates and financing through Hydro, etc. Most importantly, they could install the furnace for us on Christmas Eve. Even though the weather was (and still is) very mild, it was nice to get it all done before the holidays.

Friday was a crazy day; it was the kids’ first day off school, and three families were coming over for dinner so I was trying to cook and clean between furnace quotes. Things were a little intense, especially when I stabbed Spencer’s balloon with a knife because it kept floating into the kitchen. He steered clear of me after that. As he should. Luckily my mother-in-law appeared in the midst of it all and drove the kids to a friend’s house for the afternoon.

It all worked out in the end and we had a great time that night. Because it was so mild and because there were so many bodies in the house, no one could even tell we had no heat. The next morning the furnace guys came to put in the furnace and by the time we got back from our annual Christmas Eve sleigh ride at Birds Hill, it was all done. Well, except for the payments which won’t be done for another five years. Ever since we did our reno, the second floor never heated properly so I was hoping that a new furnace would be more powerful and we’d notice a big difference. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case and our lives haven’t improved at all. Oh well. I’m thankful we have a house and heat and everything we need and then some.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Thursday was the anniversary of my birth. Thank you to everyone for the birthday cards, texts, emails, and Facebook greetings. Don’t feel bad if you forgot; chances are good that I forgot your birthday too.

These are the good things about my birthday:

  • Dale and the kids made it a special day. The kids all made me cute cards and Chloe gave me a cute heart necklace. Dale gave me a book on Marilyn Monroe and a tripod, which I was very excited about.
  • Going for dim sum at lunch with friends from work
  • Gifts and birthday cards and birthday messages, as mentioned above, plus a little visit from Kristin
  • Picking up the kids from school on their last day before Christmas vacation
  • Going to Sushi Train for dinner. We sat at the counter by the train track and Neve and another girl down the track exchanged notes via train the whole time. The yam tempura was particularly delicious.
  • Lemon pie at home for dessert
  • Walked over to a friend’s house, where four of us girls (if I still qualify as a “girl” at 42) had a great time like we always do.

These are the things I could have done without:

  • Waking up to no heat in the house
  • Having the gas light go on in the van on the way to work. Our gas gauge is not accurate, so I have no trust it in and decided it would waste less time to get gas than to run out of it.
  • My bank card not working when I tried to pay for gas
  • Finding out my bank card was actually my Plum Rewards card
  • Having to leave work right after lunch to meet the Hydro guy, therefore missing our staff Christmas gift exchange
  • The Hydro guy not being able to fix our furnace
  • Having to call another furnace guy who spent three hours trying to fix our furnace. I suspect that was not the favourite part of his day either.
  • Calling more furnace companies to arrange for them to give us quotes the next day.

So to summarize, the pros outweighed the cons. I am thankful for another year of health, happiness, and more wonderful friends and family than I deserve. And my house is now warm - I'll blog about that another day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Neve was so excited when she saw the sky today that she made me go outside and take a picture. It was quite beautiful and a nice start to the day. Neve gets excited about a lot of things. The other morning I woke up to her exclaiming, "WOW! That is SO beautiful! Where did it come from?" She was talking to Dale in the kitchen about a new Christmas Kleenex box I had bought the night before. She ran straight to my room and asked if she could keep the box when the Kleenexes were all gone. I said no. Just kidding, I said yes, now let me go back to sleep.

I am officially done my Christmas shopping. Well... I actually still have to get a Tim Horton's gift card, but that hardly counts. But no more stores for me, and not a moment to soon. It is a blessing to everyone that I don't have a smart phone to tweet or post facebook statuses with because the last week or so I would have been complaining non-stop about long line-ups, unfriendly and incompetent staff, or my latest pet peeve, poor signage about sales or prices. Today at Sears, some items were marked 30% off, but there were no prices on the items whatsoever. 30% off is great, but 30% off what? When I took it to the sales desk to ask what the price was, the grouchy lady said, "Well, whatever they're scanning at is the price they'll be." So helpful. I did try to be friendly and sympathetic to the sales people everywhere; I bet they don't look forward to work this time of year.

Several stores did make me happy though. I'm thinking particularly about Rocky Mountain Soap Company. I always buy their pumpkin soap in winter because it helps with the kids' dry skin. Since I'm registered in their system, I got an email telling me to come in for a free bar of soap during my birthday month. I thought it might be just a sample size, but since I was at the mall tonight, I went to check it out. Not only was it a full size bar, you could choose what kind you wanted. I know Sephora and Starbucks have free birthday gifts too - I love that. It makes me feel very warm and loving towards them.

So it was a good day - shopping done, volunteering in Spencer's class this morning, and a delicious lunch at Shannon's (check out her blog for some organizing inspiration - or better yet, hire her to help). I also helped Chloe make cake pops to give to her friends at school, and Neve hosted a Snowflake party in her room that involved dancing and halloween candy (WHY is that still around??) and spiralled into a candy-throwing fight. Good times.

Neve's new favourite past time - playing Webkinz with her friend Anna while talking on the phone to her. Usually she has the phone on speaker; yesterday Neve brought the phone to the table at mealtime and was planning to keep Anna on the line while she ate until I made her hang up. Today I overheard Anna say she had to go to the bathroom and then after several minutes, she came back. It was nice she didn't take the phone with her; she's a lot more considerate than the people you see in public washrooms talking on their cell phones.

I'm off to bed now and very much looking forward to waking up to a shopping-free day tomorrow. I wish the same for you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Long rambling update

I’ve gone from one blogging extreme to the other – from every day to hardly ever. Well, I guess it could be more extreme. It really hasn’t been that long.

With less than a week until Christmas, things have been busy. On Thursday, someone I work with had a connection to two Jets tickets (not free, but for substantially less than face value), so Dale & I went. We were supposed to go Christmas shopping since my sister picked the kids up right from school and went to my parents’ for the evening, but it was our first chance to go to a game so I couldn’t pass it up. Dale was delighted that he not only got to go to a game, but he was spared from going Christmas shopping. I think he felt like it was a bit of a Christmas miracle. Anyway, the game was fun but I was a bit disappointed that the Jets not only ended their 5 home game winning streak that game, they didn’t even score a goal. They won again yesterday, so apparently I’m not their good luck charm.

On Friday, I was at my Leadership Winnipeg class all day, so the kids went to Grandma’s (the other one) right from school again. Dale & I went to an awesome concert with our neighbours Friday night. A local band called Quinzy (who I’d never heard of before) puts on a Christmas show every year called Quinzmas. It was great fun – very high energy and festive and a good mix of music. We plan on making that an annual thing.

Continuing on with my weekend of arts and culture, I had tickets to the Messiah at the Concert Hall for Saturday night. However, Neve was falling apart because she was tired and she missed me. Between Wednesday night and Saturday morning, I saw her for a total of about one hour before school. Chloe put the kids to bed two nights in a row and she wasn’t feeling great, so I felt like we should stay home. My mother-in-law had tried to get tickets but it was sold out, so she was more than happy to take them. So it was a relaxed day. Dale worked all day, so I took the kids to their church concert practice and Neve’s gymnastics party. Spencer also had his fencing Christmas party, but we couldn’t fit it in. I also spent a fair amount of time helping Chloe with her Egyptian death mask homework, wrapping presents, baking and cleaning. My neighbour came over for happy hour, and then we went to the little Christmas train out near the park. It was a beautiful, mild evening and all the Christmas lights are amazing. I just wish the old guys working there didn’t make us feel like they hated us. I remembered their surliness from the last time we went three years ago, and it hasn’t gotten any better. I expect in a few years they’ll be blatantly swearing at people and forcefully pushing them to the ground if they don’t get out the train on the correct side. We met friends there and we all went to our house after for apple cider and Christmas goodies. I’m taking a break from counting carbs until mid-January.

Today was a relaxed day – more wrapping, some crocheting, and even a nap. Dale went to the mall, which I thought was insane. He said he just picked empty stores to shop in, so I’m guessing we’re all getting gifts from Hakim Optical this year. Oh well, they have nice things.

The kids had their concert at church tonight – Spencer had a speaking role and Neve was an angel. She chose her role based strictly on wardrobe. Yesterday her friend Anna told her she was wearing making and sparkly hair spray, so that’s what Neve was fixated on all day. I believe the tidings of great joy may have been less important to her than eye shadow and sparkly hair. Must work on that.

And the week ahead brings some shopping, cleaning, and hopefully some time to relax and read some Christmas books or watch some Christmas shows with the kids. It’s on the late side for online shopping, so I’ll have to strategically plan my shopping trips to keep the chaos to a minimum. I’m dreading some returns I have to do at Zellers and Toys R Us – if I ran those stores, I would do things differently. The problem with going to the stores the last week before Christmas is that everything is on sale, so I buy more and/or I see things I’ve already bought for a fraction of the cost I paid.

Sorry, this long update was far from riveting. I’m sorry for taking up prime December minutes. Have a great week; hope it’s calm and happy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

This is why I don't send family photo Christmas cards

Yesterday I got a half decent picture of the whole family in front of the Christmas tree, so I suddenly thought maybe I should send out photo Christmas cards this year. I only send out cards every second or third year, so just when people have given up on us and taken us off their Christmas card list, we surprise them with a card. And then they frantically send us one that arrives on Dec. 27.

Anyway, my eye looked funny in the picture, so I did some photoshopping. Then I didn't like how my bangs were so short and wispy, so I worked on that. Then I thought, "Wouldn't people be impressed if I was thinner?" so I fixed that. One thing led to another and then suddenly I look like this:

My bangs are a little odd, but see how smooth and young my skin looks? Too bad my eye still looks funny. I really wanted to tidy up Spencer's hair and delete the wisps of hair on Neve's neck, but I still have a lot of work left on me. Next year, I'll get a family photo taken in March so I have the rest of the year to edit it. So no cards from us this year. But we love the ones trickling into our mailbox; please don't take us off your list.

Christmas is not even two full weeks away. That freaks me out a little; luckily I know it always comes together in the end. I still have several gifts to buy, but I'm caught up on my wrapping and I did some baking on Saturday. The evenings this week and next are not overly scheduled, so that makes everything less crazy. The kids are getting excited - it's nice their school concerts are done - we just have one more at church next weekend.

Speaking of church, Neve had her coat stolen from there yesterday. After the service, it wasn't where we hung it, so we were wandering around the foyer looking for it. Two other people were doing the same thing - it appears someone took three coats and a pair of boots from three different areas of the foyer. One coat and the boots (belonging to the same person) were found later in the elevator, but Neve's coat and a man's coat have not been seen since. The custodian usually sits in the foyer during the service, so it's all a bit of a mystery. Neve was pretty upset, but if someone needed a coat that badly for their kid, I guess it's all good. It was getting a little on the small side for Neve anyway, but I'm sad about the MEC mitts in the sleeve. Oh well, I guess that kid might need warm mitts too. Or maybe it was all just thrown into a dumpster. I sort of expect it to turn up yet, but in the meantime Neve needs a coat. I was thinking about sneaking into a hospital or women's shelter to steal one, but I bought one at Zellers instead.

On a happier note, 22 Words is my new favourite website - I believe I got the link from Corinna. Here are some picture of Amazon's headquarters - it's insane. It's amazing they can fill so many orders. I guess they must have a system. :)

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Konflicting Kornelsen Khristmas Koncerts

Have I ever mentioned how much I love when people spell "C" words with a "K" just to be cute? No? Oh right, because I hate it.

Last year, each of the three children were in separate Christmas concerts on separate nights. That meant three precious December evenings were spent in crowded school auditoriums/multi-purpose rooms. This year, fate was smiling down on us; all three kids had their concerts tonight. I went to Neve's concert at 6:00, Grandma took Spencer and Neve to their school for 6:30, and as soon as Neve's concert ended, I zipped over to watch them. Dale worked late and went to Neve's 7:00 concert (they have several performances). So it was a busy night, but very nice to have it all condensed into one night. Or should I say Kondensed?

The whole week's been busy ... Neve had a checkup at the doctor's on Monday, the kids all had dentist appointments on Tuesday, and I ended up taking Chloe to the doctor yesterday because she woke up with a big swollen eye (turned out to be nothing). Neve just woke up a few minutes ago crying that her ear hurt, so I am praying it will be better by morning so I don't have to go see the doctor three times in one week. The ironic part is before this week, I hadn't taken Neve to see the doctor since she was three, and Chloe hadn't been since 2008. The doctor was freaking. Neve hadn't even had her four-year-old needle. Oops.

I'm also hoping Neve will be better tomorrow so I can do some Christmas shopping. I have quite a few gifts left to buy, and they're the ones I've put off because I don't know what to buy. Maybe I'll get an epiphany in a dream tonight.

I didn't take any pictures of the big kids' concert; just a few of Neve's. It was a very relaxed and cute concert. It started off with three grade six boys getting the giggles while introducing the first song. The grade five boys accidentally (?) hit a button on the stereo during their song and it jumped to a totally different song and they had to start over. A baby from the crowd toddled over to the music teacher while she was directing the concert and wanted up. The music teacher held her for a while and the baby wasn't pleased when her mom came to retrieve her. The casual atmosphere is still a novelty for me after years of watching Chloe and Spencer's concerts. Their concerts are always very polished and professional, with no mistakes or glitches. It's lovely to watch, but sometimes (okay, often) I wish that someone's timing would be way off on their little Orff instruments, or that someone would sing the wrong words. Oh well, it's all good. All three children were quite pleased with their concerts and it was all very Christmasy and nice.

Okay, I'm off to receive my epiphany.

Neve's the one in the middle with her arm up.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Day 30 - The End

I had one goal today: to decorate the tree and house for Christmas. The bad news is I didn't reach my goal. The good news is that despite that - or probably because of that - it was another stellar day. December's been a good month so far.

I went to Corinna's craft sale and sipped on hot apple cider while I browsed. I got some cute things - I'm particularly excited about the banner I bought - well, not exactly a banner; it's little triangular flags all strung together like a garland. I can't describe it properly - look at the picture on Facebook. I like to put up streamers on birthdays and other special days, but from now on, I'm going to use this.

My friend Kristin came to the sale with me, so when we got home, we sat and talked and crocheted while the kids played. My neighbour and her daughter joined us for a drink later, plus Bella hung out with this afternoon, so it was a fun, busy household. In the past, the half-opened boxes of Christmas decor all over my living room would have hindered my ability to relax and enjoy the afternoon, but it didn't today. I'm not sure if plummeting standards are a good thing or a very bad thing. But I like it.

For dinner tonight, we went to friends' house for a delicious steak BBQ. We had a great night and I fulfilled my goal of eating, relaxing and talking. The decorating can wait for another day.

And that concludes my 30 day challenge. It's been fun and I'll be back. But not tomorrow.

Day 29

I feel like I’ve had a really good week. I felt productive and energetic, neither of which happens very often. I dedicated the day today to getting errands done, and I got almost everything on my list crossed off: Rona, drop-off at Salvation Army, Toys R Us, the LC, Zellers, Superstore, the bank, the store right beside the bank who’s name escapes me .. oh – Small Indulgence, and almost every store in the Polo Park Shopping Centre. Neve came home for lunch today, so I even worked around that.

All that being said, I actually only bought a couple of Christmas presents. In fact, I made more work for myself by re-buying the Barbies that I’d already bought Neve. I found them at Toys R Us for significantly less money, so now I have to return the other ones. I hate when that happens, but they were almost half the price. Oh well, since it’s still early in December, I didn’t feel too stressed or rushed so it’s all good. One cashier asked the customer in front of me, “So are you all ready for the holidays?” Hello?! It’s December 2! Is there any person in the world who’s ready for the holidays yet? Maybe she was talking about Thanksgiving. I got that one under control. I noticed Rona wasn’t quite ready for the holidays either – they had the song “Highway to Hell” playing in the store. I actually never realized that Rona played music over the intercom. But they do. And apparently a 45-year-old heavy metal fan is in charge of the music.

Dale & I just got home from my work Christmas party. We got picked up by a limo service, though unfortunately it was a mini-bus and not a stretch limousine. Chloe thought it was a Fed Ex truck but when it just stayed parked in front of our house, I realized it was our ride. The party was a lovely affair at the Delta. The main party was in a hospitality suite, with a delicious turkey dinner at the Blaze restaurant. It was a lot of fun; a little too much fun for some people. Thank goodness there was no photocopier.

While we were out, the Christmas tree fell down and all the water spilled everywhere. It leaked through the floor and was pouring down into the basement. Luckily our neighbour came over and helped Chloe deal with it all. You’re a star, Karen. We hadn’t started decorating it yet, which was also lucky. When we got home, Dale sawed off the bottom branches while I held up the tree so now it’s nice and solid and tied to a hook in the wall. Our good clothes are all covered in sap and pine needles. I know you artificial tree lovers are smirking right now. But does your house smell like you live in a forest?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Day 28

Funny how I got a head start on this LMNNWM challenge and yet I'm the only one not finished. It's not fair. It was supposed to be just a November thing, so I could say I'm done, but I feel guilty about the few days I missed.

Today was fun for several reasons. It was the first day of the advent calendars, so the kids were all happy this morning. We have a few Playmobil advent calendars which I rotate each year, even though it's a bit anti-climactic when you already know that Santa is in Box #24. I bought a new one this year - the post office. Playmobil has gotten smart; this one is a different style so I can't re-use it like I do the others. I could put the pieces in the little boxes from one of the other sets, but it's tricky matching the box sizes up with the Playmobil pieces. Anyway, the kids take turns opening it. I wrote their names down on the kitchen calendar so no one forgets whose day it is. I also bought cheap chocolate advent calendars, so they each have a piece of chocolate for breakfast every day in December (don't tell Dale). Not every day - I know there are some calendars with "bonus days" that go right til the end of December, but I feel like that's cheating. I always feel kind of sad after Christmas, so you'd think I'd be happy about extra chocolate but instead, it seems depressing.

Wow. A whole long paragraph about advent calendars. I will continue with the other good things about today.

We got our Christmas tree today. This was actually not that much fun for anyone, because instead of the happy family outing where we walk to the tree lot and pull our tree home on the toboggan and have hot chocolate when we get home, I just stopped at the lot on my way home from work and threw a tree into my van. So when I cheerily announced I had gotten the Christmas tree, the children were not happy. I didn't realize this was such a significant tradition to them. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's not. In the past ten years, we've probably done the aforementioned scenario only two or three times. And even on those rare occasions, I can guarantee someone was complaining about being cold or having to walk so far. They just choose to remember it all Thomas Kinkade-like, which is awesome. I'm not going to set that record straight.

And lastly, Chloe and I went to my niece Tia's piano recital today. It was short and sweet and Christmasy and I had a nice visit with an old friend whose children played in the recital as well. My parents were there too, and we all went to my sister's after and ate cookies and watched home videos and talked. That's what I want to do more of this month - relaxing and talking and eating.

Happy December, everyone!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 27

I want my head to be on my pillow with my covers all around me, but I really don't want to miss another day in this blog challenge, so I'll make this quick.

Just got back from a fabulous night out with three very good friends. We met six years ago when three of our boys were in nursery school together and have been getting together fairly regularly ever since. We laugh our heads off whenever we get together and I always come away feeling good about life. Tonight we went to someone's house for drinks and appetizers, then to Pizzeria Gusto for pizza and more drinks. Cheers, girls!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 26 - Santa Claus

It was a great day today. I went to school to watch Spencer in a class play, I felt productive at work, took Neve to a successful appointment, bought new mugs to go with my new white dishes, took the kids to see Santa and to Boston Pizza for supper. Santa was especially awesome. He spent lots of time with the kids, and even though Chloe said this might be her last visit to Santa (I told her she has to go until she's 18), they all had a lot of fun.

I always like to visit Santa early so we can coordinate our gifts with him. Spencer asked Santa for a lisp, a British accent, a snake, and Lego. Chloe asked for an elephant, Justin Bieber, and duct tape. Santa didn't quite know what to do with that information. Neve was too shy to talk to him at first, but she eventually told him what she wanted (Barbies).

The elves didn't ban my camera like they did last year, so that was nice. (I bought their picture too, which was actually better than most years).
The rest of the evening was good too - Chloe has taken a 24-hour vow of silence (a We Day thing), so it was nice and quiet. I got our front porch Christmas tree up and lit and hope to get the rest of the decorations out in the next few days. Yay, Christmas!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 25

I had high hopes for today. It was supposed to be an unstructured, relaxing day to catch up on things I'd neglected during the week. Instead, a few things that should have taken minutes ended up taking hours. I get obsessed with stuff like that and it drives me crazy when I can't figure them out. One of those things is Lightroom. I thought since I knew Photoshop and other Adobe programs it would be easy, but I still have a sharp learning curve ahead of me. The importing and exporting and file management part of it isn't as easy as I had hoped. I love the photo-editing part of it though. I just found a Learn Lightroom in a Week website, so that's my new favourite link.

I set up our little Christmas tree that we put on the front porch, but didn't get the lights on yet. Christmas decorating is never as fun as it seems like it will be. We want to get our tree later this week and then I can start wrapping the presents that are taking over my closet. I need to make room for the rest of the gifts I need to buy.

Sunday nights are another thing that aren't that fun. Spencer was lamenting that tomorrow was Day 3, the worst day of the cycle, followed by swimming lessons, the activity he likes least. I was trying to encourage him, but I couldn't think of one nice thing to say about tomorrow either. Chloe overheard us and said Friday, the day they had no school, was Day 3. That brightened Spencer's mood, but mine is still blah. My goal for tomorrow is to come up with something positive to report.

Happy Monday, everyone!

(and yes, I did watch snippets of the Bomber game!)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 24

I woke up this morning to a fresh blanket of snow. Even though I had been so happy that most of our snow had melted, I have to admit the new snow was a beautiful sight this morning. The kids played outside for a bit, and Spencer seized the opportunity to raise some money. He is raising money for a World Vision project for school, so he knocked on doors and told neighbours he'd shovel their walks for a $5 donation. He made $20, so he was pretty happy. He has never shovelled snow before today, but he appears to have done a good job. I hope that money makes it to his charity fund and not his iPod Touch fund.

The basketball net

Chloe and her volleyball team won their final volleyball game this morning, which means they finished 3rd in their division.
Neve and Spencer had gymnastics and fencing at the same time as the game; thankfully we have good neighbours who helped us get everyone where they needed to be. The kids had friends over in the afternoon and then all the friends' moms came for a little Happy Hour, and then we went to friends' in the evening. It was a good day. Tomorrow will be a relaxing day ... I hope to get some things done around the house and maybe even read a little while Dale watches a certain football game.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 23

Have I mentioned how these 30 days seem to go on forever?

Today is supposed to be Food Friday, but the eating wasn't too exciting today. I was at a meeting all day for the Leadership Winnipeg course I'm taking, so they fed me breakfast and lunch. For supper we threw some tortilla chips on a plate and called it nachos. Then I had sour cream and onion chips and Coke Zero while we watched a movie, so my chip quota is full for a while.

My meeting today was at the U of M. There was much talk and panel discussions about innovation and technology and biochemistry, so I smiled and nodded and hoped no one would ask me to repeat what they just said. We toured several buildings and labs, so that was kind of interesting.

The kids had no school today, so the younger two went to Grandma's house after school yesterday already. For the first time ever, Chloe opted out of going to Grandma's and chose to hang around the neighbourhood with a friend. My day was so full and structured I only had time to text her once, but everything seemed to work out okay. I met up with Dale and all the kids at Chloe's volleyball game after my class. They play again tomorrow (fourth game this week) and then the season is over. It's been fun, but the running around and making driving arrangements will not be missed.

Tonight was one of only a few free weekend nights before Christmas, so I thought we should do something fun like to a movie or something. However, one of Neve's more recent anxieties include movies so there was no way we could convince her to go. Anyway, she was exhausted so I put her to bed at 7:00 and the rest of us watched Elf.* Last year was the first time we ever watched it, but Chloe wasn't home so this was her first year. It was every bit as awesome as I remembered. Smiling's my favourite.

*Thank goodness Neve didn't watch Elf with us - there was a scene where Buddy throws up after spinning around in the revolving door. That would have definitely resulted in tears and trauma.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 22 - Thursday Threads #4

Also known as Pose With My Hand On My Hip Day. Today was dress day. And even though those boots look brown in the picture, they're actually black. I couldn't bear to post a picture of my head four weeks in a row.

Enough about me. Let's talk about you. How's that Christmas shopping coming? My parcel delivery took a sharp downturn after Monday. I think the only other good thing I got in the mail was some gift cards I redeemed with my Royal Bank points. Oh, we're back to talking about me again. For some great stocking stuffer and other gift ideas, I've got two good connections for you:
  1. Teresa and her Epicure products...I just ordered some red pepper jelly to have on hand for an appetizer with cream cheese and crackers. The only problem is that they never last until company comes. They would also make a great teacher gift. There's a sale (it's still on, right Teresa?) on some holiday stuff and other little stocking stuffers - the mulling spice is a must... how many should I put you down for? She also has some great deals if you book a party for January - a delicious Epicure tasting party would be pretty cozy and delightful on a cold winter evening...
  2. Corinna's been sewing up a storm for some upcoming craft sales, including one at her home on Saturday, Dec. 3. She (and/or her partner) use the best fabrics and make beautiful baby blankets, bibs, slings, bags, and my personal favourite: the roll-up shopping bag. They're strong and super cute and a great gift for anyone, especially the person who has everything. Click here to see her Etsy site.
So there. I just helped you with your shopping. You're welcome.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 21 - Dear Photograph #3

Dear Photograph,

I remember when Dale turned 37 and put Chloe in a headlock.

Today he turned 45. We started the celebrations on the weekend - we had some of Dale's family over on Sunday for birthday cake. Tonight we celebrated with sushi and cinnamon buns (his request). Since they're both foods that you roll up, I was tempted to save time and just roll them all up together. Watch for my Cinashi concept in a food court near you.

The kids and I gave Dale a Garmin Forerunner (GPS for running), gloves, and a Joseph Prince book (Dale's hero). Chloe made him a card and a Suduko book, Neve gathered up miscellaneous objects from her room and put them in a gift bag for Dale, and Spencer scribbled Happy Birthday on a piece of scrap paper and called it a card. Good fun for all; thanks on Dale's behalf for the phone calls, cards, texts, and the 6-pack of Heineken on the doorstep this morning.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 20

I just realized I forgot to do my Dear Photograph feature yesterday. Things are just falling apart here. Since I've given up on changing the world on Wednesdays, I'll do the Dear Photograph tomorrow.

I wasn't sure what to write about today, so I'm going to copy Steve and talk about my children. Well, he also goes on to talk about other things too, but he starts with his kids.

It was report card week, and all three kids came home with glowing report cards. I told them to give them back to the kids they stole them from. Turns out they were theirs - this Tiger Mom thing is really paying off. Hmm, that sounds like I'm taking all the credit. Is that wrong? All kidding aside, they did awesome and I'm very proud of them. But there's always room for improvement. Hear me roar.

Chloe's volleyball team had their first playoff game today. Chloe played a great game. She has improved ten thousand fold (don't even know what that is, but it's a LOT) since the beginning of the season and played a great game today. She's a solid, consistent player and most importantly, she's really enjoying it. I loved playing team sports and am happy that she has the chance to do the same. If they win their next game on Thursday, they play on Friday and Saturday and then the season is over.

Tomorrow is WE Day, a big rally for youth that's supposed to inspire global change or something like that. Chloe is one of twenty (I think?) students chosen to go from her school and she's been counting down the hours. Al Gore, Hedley, Mia Farrow, Paul Martin, Rick Hansen, and some other big names will be speaking or performing, so it should be a good time.

Not sure what I can say about the other two... Neve's still having anxiety issues, but we are working on it. She's getting good at telling her teacher when she is anxious about something and thank goodness she has an awesome teacher who handles it perfectly. I bet Miss H. is rolling her eyes on the inside, and I'm hoping she's not waiting until our parent teacher meeting on Thursday to tell me she doesn't want to deal with my kid anymore. I'm going to take a page from Darla's book and bring her a hot Starbucks drink and maybe a new car, just to be safe.

Okay, I think I've filled my writing quota for today. Just like that.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 19

It seems I miss one day of blogging and it’s a slippery slope. Soon my 30 day challenge is going to stretch into a 30 week challenge.

Well, the snow and cold appear to be here to stay. Actually if the forecast is correct, we’re supposed to be getting some above zero temperatures the next few days. That’s a good thing because the other day I noticed the garden hose was still attached to the water tap and now it’s frozen and I can’t get it off. Maybe the milder weather will unfreeze it and then I can use it to water the flowers in the planter that I have yet to pull up. I’m still waiting for Indian summer.

Back to the snow, I’m going to say something nice about it. I like when the sun reflects off of it and it makes everything bright and white, especially in the study where I spend a lot of time. To clarify, there is no snow IN the study, but on the deck right outside that is reflected through the garden doors. It makes me happy. To continue my positive streak, let me tell you about my new leather fur-lined mitts. I’ve always heard when your head is warm, your whole body is warm. But I say when your hands are warm, you don’t even need a hat. With my new mitts, I am so warm that I don’t even have to zip up my coat. My hands sort of have that sweaty mitten smell afterwards, but I don’t care. Between my hot flashes and my mitts, I say BRING ON WINTER. I shouldn’t have shouted that; I don’t completely mean it.

My Christmas shopping is going great. I’ve ordered lots of gifts online, so every time I see a FedEx or Canada Post truck drive down my street, I go stand by the door already. Unfortunately, it seems I’m not the only one on my street who shops online. But so far this morning I’ve already received two separate parcels. It’s so exciting. The delivery guys must think I’m a little crazy because I answer the door with a huge giddy smile. I try to suppress the beaming and just look normal and pleasant, but I think it makes it worse.

Oh, I think I hear a post office truck outside! Gotta run!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 18 - Friday Food #3

Oh man! I can't believe I missed a day. We got home after midnight and I was too tired to post, so now I have to extend my 30 days of posting until December 1st. So even though it's Saturday, we'll pretend it's Food Friday.

I ate nothing interesting all day, so I'll skip right to the awesome part. We had a Spanish tapas theme night at Rob & Gab's. I was looking forward to it for a long time and I was not disappointed. They always go all out when it comes to food (and drink) and it was amazing. Everyone brings something as well; I brought Bread with Mushrooms and Alioli, as found on The Google when I typed in "easy Spanish tapas recipe." I think the others googled "complicated impressive Spanish recipes with hard-to-find ingredients" because they were way out of my league. But it was all delicious, including the almond cake that even had a Spain-related story behind it.

PS: Our little Siobhan turned 40 yesterday. Welcome to the club. You know, the club where weight suddenly shows up in places it shouldn't, and wrinkles start appearing, and people start calling you M'am. But it's also the club where you can do whatever you want because you don't care what people think anymore. (or maybe that's just me?) HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 17 - Thursday Threads #3

My pride and good judgement have officially lost out in favour of blog content. I can't believe I'm actually posting these. Chloe and I were being silly - we got the fan out from the back corner of the overcrowded storage room and had ourselves a little photo shoot. Except it looks like I was trying way too hard and taking it seriously in the hopes that a model scout may stumble upon my blog and offer me a job in Paris. I think he/she would be especially impressed with how my hair swings around my face so naturally and beautifully. While I was saucily tossing my head, I imagined my hair to be about two feet longer than it is in real. I was going to add some length in photoshop, but I believe I've wasted enough time already today.

Let's please take the focus off of me now. Chloe has been beside herself with excitement the past couple of days, because of tonight's opening of Breaking Dawn (of the Twilight series). The first showing is at 10:00 tonight, and she's going with her cousins. Tomorrow morning is not going to be pretty.

I have to go put the fan back in the storage room now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 16

I didn't change anyone's world this week either. I don't think it's in my skill set. I'm not exactly sure what my skill set does include. I get a lot of ideas, but they never turn out quite like I imagined, so I abandond most of them. Like the scarves I started crocheting this fall. I was so excited about them and had all kinds of thoughts about making one for every friend, teacher, and mailman. I finished two and partly finished two more. The one I'm working on now has a huge knot that I've spent hours trying to unravel. I'm losing interest and anyway, the scarves turned out really skinny and sort of look like a long string. I am making the latest one thicker, but I'm the kind of person that should always follow a pattern.

But now I have a new project. My neighbour sent this to me and it's the greatest thing ever. All males on my Christmas list will surely be receiving a pair of these from me. I think they'd look good on every body type.

Off I go to search the internet for verigated yellow yarn.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 15

Happiness came to my house today in a white cardboard box.

My sister went to Minneapolis last weekend and brought me two sets of white dishes. I've been wanting plain white dishes for many years, but I couldn't justify it. My existing set of vibrant blue and purple dishes is apparently indestructible; in their 10+ years of service, not one dish has broken. It goes against all of my anti-stuff beliefs, but I finally got tired of wishing and waiting for breakage. I will donate the complete set to someone in need of blue and purple dishes, so it's not really a waste, right??

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 14 - Dear Photograph #2

Dear Photograph,

I remember how hard it was to sneak Spencer's geckie into the wash every once in a while. Oh wait, that happened yesterday too.

* Let's never speak of this to the boy. I don't think forgiveness would be easier than permission in this case.

Version 2:

Dear Photograph,

I remember when Dale used to have no upper body. It was so much easier wrestling the remote away from him then.

This is a poor imitation of the original The photos on that site are lined up much better than mine. It's a lot harder than it looks.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 13

How I love long weekends. We went to the Forks for lunch after church and were happy to find the crepe place open. The service there is never stellar and the prices are high, yet we continue to go. The Groupons I had purchased were the reason for this visit, but I think it will be a while before we go again. The crepes were delicious though.

Other than that, the kids had friends over and I worked on my photo book most of the day. I'm happy to report I am all caught up, and then some. Now I really need to stick to my page-a-day goal. I did some more online Christmas shopping this weekend, so I feel okay about that too.

That's all I have to report; if you're looking for something to do, check this out. I guessed 29 out of 50 movies correctly - see if you can do better (I'm sure you can). The images are not directly from the movies; they're just similar images. I didn't catch onto that until #20 or so.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 12 - Santa Claus is in town

Tonight was the annual Santa Claus parade. We watched it from the boardroom at my office as usual. We miss out on some of the atmosphere of the street, but we were warm and cozy, had lots of good food, and access to a washroom. Best of all, people on the street often look up at us with envy. At least I think it's envy. Maybe it's pity.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 11 - Remembering

Spencer is very fascinated with all things military these days, so I took him on a little field trip to Brookside Cemetery last weekend. I'd never been there, but I knew they had a Field of Honour that he'd find interesting. It was very sobering; the sight of all those headstones made an impact. We spent a while reading the names and ages and which wars they had fought in. We both would have liked to stay longer, but it was chilly and there was a suspicious lone male lingering right near us in the otherwise deserted cemetery.
Today we had a relaxing, yet productive day. We had a lazy morning, then went to the Forks for lunch. I had Groupons for the crepe place, but unfortunately for us it was the one place in the food court that wasn't open today. So the kids had breakfast food and Dale and I had Indian food and everyone was sort of happy. Then a flash mob situation occurred in which many Mennonites all broke into song about Jesus coming soon. I was hurt that they hadn't included me, so I didn't sing. Plus I didn't know the song. Then MCC handed out peace literature.
The Friday blog post is supposed to be my food feature; I'm not doing great with that but I did get a picture of lunch - chick pea curry with noodles. It was delicious. That's really the only interesting thing I ate today.
After that, Spencer went to a birthday party, Neve went to a friend's, and Chloe and I cleaned her room for three and a half hours straight. We went through all her clothes and got rid of two garbage bags worth. That felt so good. Tonight Dale and I went to the movies - we saw Tower Heist, which was good fun.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 10 - Thursday Threads #2

I'm not loving posting a picture of myself every Thursday. I was trying to pose like the Already Pretty girl, but I (and my photographer) fell short. But there I am on my front porch. Maybe one day I will get up the nerve to stand in the middle of the street like her. It's unlikely.

I went shopping this week strictly so I'd have something new to wear for this. It made me realize how very, very long it's been since I bought clothes for myself. Just the skirt is new; everything else is many years old. I got the skirt at Mexx with a gift card I got from Darla this spring. I bought a couple of tops right when I got the card, but I still had enough to get this skirt (it was a generous gift card - thanks, Darla!). I like it - it's a heavier fabric with a good lining, so - weight allowing - there's a good chance you'll see me still wearing it in ten years (not ten years straight - I'll wear other things sometimes when it's in the laundry).

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Day 9 - Changing the world a few words at a time

Evolving from Carolyn’s suggestion, I’ve decided Wednesday will be my “change the world” day. I was thinking about nice things I could do for people, and the list is long and overwhelming. I know lots of people who are in tough situations and could use a meal or a ride or a visit or money. I struggle with how to do all, or even some, of that when I feel like I don’t even spend enough quality time with my own kids. Let me rephrase that: I feel like I spend LOTS of time with Neve, but not the older two. I’m going to keep trying to do some more substantial things for people, but in the meantime I’m going to start small.

I got two emails today in which people said nice things to me. And then on Facebook someone posted the following on their status:

"Appreciation can make a day, even change a life.
Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary."
- Margaret Cousins

It made me think of how getting a compliment can change your whole day. Even giving one can make you feel pretty good. I often think nice thoughts about people that I’m too shy to put into words. So that was my goal today. It was harder than I thought. I said a few nice things to people at school and stuff, but I didn’t want to give compliments just to fulfill my goal. No one loves a fake compliment. When I was out shopping and doing errands, I tried to say something nice to the clerks about the good service or something. I’m pretty sure I didn’t make anyone’s day though. Looks like I’m going to need some practice putting my appreciation into words.

And that's your motivational message for today. You're all awesome! I hope this changed your world :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Day 8 - Can't put down my book

My kids have been obsessed with The Hunger Games series. The books sounded morbid and violent to me, but when I heard their (Christian) school is discussing them at book club, I figured they couldn’t be that bad. I know that trusting the school to make judgements on what’s appropriate for my kids is lazy parenting, but I figure if they black out all the Pokeman and Harry Potter books on the Scholastic book orders with a Sharpie, we’re probably okay.

Anyway, I picked up the first book the other day and I’m hooked. When the kids were reading the second book, they were fighting over it and hiding it from each other and driving me crazy until my niece Tia saved the day and lent us her copy. But now I get it. I can hardly put it down long enough to post this entry. I’m going to make this short.

I’ve been doing okay on my page-a-day photobook, but rather poorly on my Christmas shopping. I bought a few stocking stuffers today though, so I’m counting that. The daily blogging is going better than I expected, thanks to some great suggestions from you. Cousin Carolyn suggested doing some pay-it-forward good deeds; I’ve been mulling it over and looking for opportunities. I did let a car in front of me in traffic today, but that’s not very dramatic. I didn’t yell at my kids today (yet), so I could tell them to pay it forward. I may need to aim a bit higher.

I'm off to read my book. I hope no one hid it on me.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Day 7 - Dear Photograph

Dear Photograph,
I'm so thankful for every minute I spent on the deck this summer.

(I stole the idea from Maybe my new Monday feature?)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Day 6 - Lion

It was a cool, windy, rainy day and I somehow managed to spend a lot of it outside. I went for a run in the morning, to the zoo in the afternoon, and on an outdoor excursion with Spencer (I'll write about that another day).
I hadn't been to the zoo for a couple of years, but this week I went twice. My nephew's friend is doing a university research project and needed volunteers. He's doing research on how the lions react to strollers, and I would say they react pretty strongly. The moment the lion could hear the stroller come around the corner, he jumped up and ran towards it. When I stopped by the plexiglass windows, he stood on his hind legs and pawed at the glass the whole time. Sometimes Neve was in the stroller (she was a bit big, but we squeezed her in), sometimes I pushed an empty stroller, and sometimes we went without the stroller. The lion couldn't care less about me and Neve, but the seal-shaped stroller apparently looked delicious to him.
It was pretty fun; if you want to see more, here's a sort of blurry 10-second video I took.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Day 5

We had friends over tonight so I got out the vacuum cleaner and the Norwex dusting cloth and threw all the stuff I didn't know what to do with into the storage room. The more I cleaned, the more I realize how disorganized my house is. So I'm going to make up a very detailed list of every room, closet, and drawer that I need to deal with and every day I will try to sort through one space. Even if it's just one shelf in one cupboard, it's better than nothing.

Besides my new cleaning/organizing resolution, these are the other things I've vowed to do daily:

- blog
- buy one Christmas gift
- complete one page of a photobook I'm making as a Christmas gift

So far the blog is the only vow I've stuck to. If I wasn't so busy blogging, I might actually have time to do the other things.

Siobhan has joined in the LM NNWM challenge; check it out here.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Day 4 - Friday Food

Keep those suggestions coming! Both Darla and Teresa (in an email) suggested I blog about food, so I'll make Friday my Food day. Like yesterday, this is totally narcissistic, but this girl does it, so I will too. Unfortunately the only meal I remembered to photograph was breakfast, so it's a lame version. I have Cheerios almost every day. Sometimes I have Shreddies. Today I also had a Christmas orange.

The older two kids had no school today, so Neve skipped hers and we picked up Sabrina, Bella & Lexie and went to my parents' for the day. My mom made a delicious turkey casserole, except she called it a chicken casserole so we wouldn't know it was made with leftovers from Thanksgiving (we just had my family Thanksgiving last weekend, so it's not as bad as it sounds). She also made a salad, chicken noodle soup, and I think there was something else that I can't remember.

After lunch, we went to check out the local community sale at the arena; Teresa was there with her Epicure, as well as lots of other home businesses, crafters, bakers, etc. One woman was selling bags made from old jeans, and so my mom helped Chloe whip one up in short order when we got home. I guess the lady would have preferred we buy one from her rather than copy her idea, but that's how it goes. Chloe is very pleased with it.

Things got a bit dicey at supper - we were supposed to go out with friends, but due to various circumstances, we had appetizers at our house instead: taquitos, edamame beans, and Boursin cheese and crackers. Oh, and a few supersonic G & T's. Then us adults left all the kids with Chloe and we went to a concert at the West End Cultural Centre. The guy performing was called Mark Kozeluk and even though I'd never heard of him before, I really enjoyed it. He played guitar and had a great voice and it was a laid back, mellow, fun concert. There were a few people in the crowd that I would have liked to meet in a back alley later (oooh! I'm so tough!), but even that didn't put a damper on it.

And that was the end of my eating day. I may have left out a few afternoon snacks, but I bet that chick who blogs about her food every day does too.

I'll close with a picture of Lexie; she's definitely cute enough to eat. But I didn't.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Day 3 - Thursday threads

Let me be clear: I would never show anyone the inside of my oven, never mind the whole World Wide Web. You would think for an appliance that gets such little use, it would be immaculate. Not so. Hmm, maybe I’ll add that to the kids’ chore charts unless they give me ten mini Kit-Kats each. I’m not great at a lot of things, but I am very fantastic at thinking of ways to use Halloween candy to my advantage.

Instead of disturbing oven pics, I will take a suggestion I got from Teresa and show you what I wore today. Oh man, this sounds seedy. But there are bloggers out there who take pictures of their outfits and post them every single day. Click here to see one girl who likes to stand awkwardly in the middle of the street and gaze upward as she shows off her clothes. Her clothes are unique and fun; mine not so much. I initially laughed at the idea because I’m the very opposite of a fashionista, but after yesterday, you will agree I need all the help I can to fill up thirty days of blogging. So I’m making this my Thursday feature for two reasons: I just got Teresa’s suggestion today and it happens to be Thursday; and secondly, since I go into the office on Thursdays, I put more effort into my looks than the other six days combined. I normally put zero effort into my appearance, so 0 x 6 is still zero, but we won’t dwell on that.

I was already dressed when I got Teresa’s email this morning, so if I knew my outfit would be scrutinized, I would have chosen something else.

My Thursday outfits usually revolve around the shoes I want to wear. I always wear heels, but some heels are more comfortable than others. I rarely stray from black, but I decided to be all crazy today and wear my brown boots. So, out came the brown pants from the back of the closet and the old brown corduroy jacket to (sort of) match. I threw on a white top, a bit of jewellery and topped it off with my brown coat. With my brown laptop bag, I looked like a big lump of melting chocolate walking down the street.

Lazy Man’s NaNoWriMo update: Daniel and Stephen have joined the challenge, so go see what they have to say.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Swimming - Day 2

The kids just started a new session of swimming lessons last week. We've always done lessons at the U of M but for the first time ever, we are trying the Rady Centre. I'm not sure why we didn't think of this sooner: unlike the U of M, it's a three minute drive from our house, the water is warm, and there's a family change room. Unfortunately, the family change room was crowded and all the lockers were taken when we got there, so we ended up using the regular locker rooms. That was even better; they were clean and spacious and had a little spinner for wet swimsuits. It took a little persuading to get Spencer to go into an unfamiliar mens changeroom by himself, but it worked out well. Chloe is starting her lifeguarding classes, and it's such a treat that we can just drop her off and zip back home instead of hanging out somewhere for two and a half hours, waiting for her.

Chloe's having a very busy fall, but she seems to be keeping it together. She has two to three volleyball practices plus one game each week. That ends in a few weeks, and then she'll just have youth, swimming, and piano. Oh, and her daily 25-minute French horn practice and other homework. And babysitting. Oh well, it keeps her from hanging out at 7-11 and selling drugs.

Speaking of Chloe, a Facebook comment I saw today reminded me of her duct tape phase this summer. She and her cousin Sarah spent many an hour making duct tape everything: sunglasses, bags, flip flops and wallets.

This post-a-day thing is going to be harder than I thought. It's only Day 2 and I'm struggling. Come back tomorrow for riveting photos of the inside of our oven.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Bailey / November Challenge Day 1

(Bailey in the middle)

We’re still recovering from the excitement of Halloween, but it was time for another party tonight. My niece Bailey turned 18 today. I clearly remember the day she was born. My sister had gone to be induced that morning and I waited for a phone call all day. How times have changed – in this day and age, we could have been texting all day. But with limited technology, I didn’t hear a word all day, so I zipped straight to the hospital after work. I met Bob coming off the elevator – there he was in his light blue denim shirt saying, “We had a girl!”

At the time, my sister and I lived only a few blocks apart, so I got to see baby Bailey a lot in her first two months of life. Then Dale & I went to Japan and didn’t move back to Winnipeg until she was about to start Kindergarten. I’ve always been sad I missed most of her first five years, but we wrote lots of letters and talked on the phone and visited a few times a year. The reason we moved back to Winnipeg was to be near family and I try not to take it for granted (but I do). My kids are so lucky that their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins play such a big part in their lives. I’m getting off topic, but to sum it up: Happy birthday, Bailey; you’re awesome and we love you to pieces!

Anyway – we all got to bed so late last night, and then I spent way too long in the shower trying to wash out the black hairspray. That stuff is horrific (I put an old pillowcase over my good one for night, but surprisingly it didn’t even get dirty). The kids were still asleep when I was done so I thought I’d do them a favour and let them sleep in, but Spencer was not pleased with me. He used to beg me almost every day to let him stay home from school; I don’t know if it’s because he loves his ex-babysitter teacher so much, but it’s very different this year. Anyway, it seems today was Day 4, which means he has gym first thing in the morning and for a kid who is not a big fan of sports or physical activity, MAN does he love gym. He was frantic as I quickly pulled clothes on a floppy Neve who would not wake up. I drove to school as fast as I could; Spencer had his face to the window the whole time so I wouldn’t see him blinking back tears (he’d love me for writing this), and we arrived about seven minutes late. I hope his gym class was worth the stress.

So here’s my goal for November … no, not a moustache … daily blog posts! I’ve been feeling blah lately and I thought maybe a challenge would help. November is National Novel Writing Month and since I’m not ambitious/crazy enough to do that at this point in my life, I’ll call this my Lazy Man’s NaNoWriMo. So if anyone wants to join the challenge, climb aboard the LMNNWM train. Until tomorrow …

Monday, October 31, 2011


Back: Ninja, Harry Potter
Front: Las Vegas cowgirl, Justin Bieber, generic princess, Selena Gomez

The excitement of Halloween is only a tiny step down from Christmas at our house. It was an awesome Halloween. The children look grim in this picture, but they were just keeping in character. They kept their excitement in check.

If my memory serves me correctly, the weather's been pretty mild the last couple of years, but this year topped them all. No snow pants, boots, or mitts required. Most of our gang didn't even wear jackets. The kids had a great time as always, and even us adults dressed up and had a blast. Well not Dale, he just stayed home and handed out candy.

Neve was a princess. I tried to convince her to be something more creative, but she would have none of it. The upside is that it only took one trip to the basement to get her whole outfit together. She said everyone at school asked her if she was Cinderella, so she always had to explain that she was "just a princess." She told me that eventually she got tired of answering, so she just stayed quiet and didn't say anything. Probably not the greatest way to deal with things, but I'm guessing she learned that from me.

Spencer went as Harry Potter. That only took one trip to our friends' house to borrow the costume.

And Chloe dressed up as her beloved Justin Bieber. That took at least five trips to Salvation Army and Value Village, as well as one to Rona for the purple spray paint (for the shoes). It wasn't that cheap either - I had to pay $6.99 for old no-name high tops that were so dirty and worn that I could hardly bear to touch them. I shook them out of the bag straight into the washing machine, which helped a lot. But if you're ever wondering if anyone would even want your old worn-out runners, apparently Value Village and I do.

We went with a feline theme for our pumpkin-carving this year. Neither of them turned out exactly like I imagined, but perfection is boring.

I spray-painted my hair black for my witch costume. It feels disgusting and I know I should wash it out before I go to bed, but I'm not going to.

Happy Halloween, everyone!