Saturday, March 19, 2011

March Photo #30 - Final one!

Must. Finish. 30 day. Photo. Challenge. That was a struggle. Stephen's almost done his next 30-day feature.

And now I will take a break.

Neve packed her own bag. No underwear, but at least there's an extra tiara.

Friday, March 18, 2011

March Photo #29 - Bring on the chocolate

The 30-day fair trade challenge has finally ended. I have been dying for an Easter creme egg. When I went to bed last night, I found the Easter rabbit had laid an egg under my pillow. So I got my fix this afternoon (I would have eaten it this morning, but I was doing errands and forgot about it). Next on my chocolate list: a mocha frappucino. I have a feeling the purpose of the fair trade challenge was not about gorging on non-fair trade chocolate the day the challenge ends. I am honestly all for fair trade. I think we'll continue to buy the fair trade coffee and tea and maybe cocoa. However, the chocolate chips at $6 for a small bag ... not likely. Sadly, there are limits to my global ethics.

As Steve commented at the beginning of this challenge, I have definitely consumed less chocolate during these 30 days. The hardest part was being at someone else's house and not eating dessert. It felt silly and rude not to eat it, but since Chloe was given extra marks for each family member that participated, I felt like I should try my best. If I kept it up for myself, I would definitely make exceptions in such situations. I feel for those of you with food allergies; I'm sure you get used to the restrictions, but it must still suck sometimes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March Photo #27

Obviously I didn't take these pictures myself, but these are my pictures for the day today in honour of Japan. I know there are so many pictures and videos out there (the Japanese have always loved their cameras!), but these struck me today. These buildings were people's homes. Someone cleaned them and made sushi in them and put their children to bed in them. Everything they owned was in them. I think of how much time, effort and money I put into my house - painting, fixing, cleaning, decorating - and I'm sure these people did the same. Of course, material things are nothing in comparision to human life; if the occupants of these houses were lucky enough to survive, chances are some people close to them did not. In the middle of all that trauma and grief, I can't imagine how they will even start to rebuild their lives.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Photo #26 - After

I realize this probably isn't nearly as exciting to you as it is to me. I also realize it's kind of lame to take pictures of a room before and after a plain old cleaning. It's not like we redecorated or even rearranged the furniture. But it just feels so good and productive.
Speaking of room transformations, Shannon is coming over tomorrow to help me with the study. You may remember that we started working on it shortly after Christmas. It's been a slow process (entirely because of me, not Shannon), but as Johnny Cash would say, "The pace is not what matters, it's the direction that you go." And I like the direction it's going.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March Photo #25 - Before

On the to-do list for today was going through Spencer's summer clothes to make sure he had clothes for Florida that fit. His room's been a mess for a while, so while we were in there, I helped him clean it. Or vice versa. Check back tomorrow for the After pic. You won't be disappointed. I even moved his bed to vacuum underneath it, which I'm pretty positive has not been done since our reno almost five years ago. There were things under there that I wish my eyes had not seen. But the adrenaline rush I got from the successful cleanup was worth it.

Today was another good day, ending with a delicious dinner at Mike & Darla's. The kids played together so well and we had a relaxing and fun evening. Thanks, guys!

Friday, March 11, 2011

March Photo #24

Just what you wanted to see - a nice close-up of my toes. I didn't even resize today's photo, so if you click on it, you should be able to see each pore and cell of my skin in great detail. Feel free to enlarge it and blockmount it if you like.

Today was the best day I’ve had in a long time. I spent it at the Clarion spa. I got a gift card from my sister and brother for my birthday last year, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect week to use it. All my stress and anxiety is gone and I’m trying to keep it that way. I relaxed in and around the mineral pool, had a rose-hip wrap and a pedicure, and ate lunch in the “relaxation room.” Then I came home and had a blissful nap before retrieving all the children. When Dale got home from work, we went to our friends' house for pizza and hung out with them all evening.

And now there's a blizzard outside.

Happy Friday, everyone...thanks for reading and commenting; you're all awesome!

And happy birthday, Jim - you've finally caught up to Mr. Vogt.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March Photo #23 - It's hard to stop at 15

Spencer has an awesome teacher. Despite the anti-school phase he's been in this year, she has totally won him over with her fun teaching style and creative ideas. Maybe these are an essential component of the Manitoba curriculum, but I've got to say that the sugar pyramid was not her best idea. Spencer would disagree.

His class made these yesterday morning during the judging of the fair (the kids were called out individually to meet with the judges.) With all the busy-ness of "helping" the kids with their projects, we also had to send a box of sugar cubes and icing to school. The icing recipe we received called for 4 cups of icing sugar, so it made a huge batch. At the end of the day, Spencer came home with a stomach ache and a container of icing that didn't look like it had been touched. He said he ate almost the whole box of sugar cubes. It looked like he used a fair amount in the pyramid; when I asked him exactly how many he had eaten, he said sixteen. I think he just said the first number that popped into his head that seemed reasonable to him.

During the night he came to our room, clutching his lucky garbage can (he calls it "lucky" because he has anxiety issues and feels like he's going to throw up every single night. He has never yet thrown up in it, so he believes having it beside his bed every night is his lucky charm). Thankfully, the garbage can lived up to its name and he was all better by morning. After school, he told me a boy in his class had also been sick in the night due to sugar cube consumption. That boy's garbage can was not so lucky. Nor were his parents.

On a different note, it felt like spring today! Snow was melting, the sun was shining, and I feel like the fog over my head is lifting. My house is clean, at least on the surface, I feel like work is under control, and best of all, NO TANTRUMS! There goes my book idea. I was in such a good mood that I even bought the kids slurpees after school. We had nothing scheduled tonight; my neighbour came over for a glass of wine, and the older kids and I watched American Idol after dinner. If I'm still so happy and light-hearted tomorrow, I just might get out the leftover icing and let the kids all make sugar cube pyramids. And then I'll call Spencer's teacher and ask if my kids can have a sleepover at her house.

Talking about shapes (pyramids) reminds me of something Neve said in the van the other day. We were playing I Spy and when it was her turn, she said, "I spy something that's a rectangular prism."

It's nice to see her putting her education to practical use. And she doesn't just play I Spy with colours like I do; she thinks outside the rectangular prism. I bet she could even make one with sugar cubes.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

March Photo #22 - Heritage Fair

Today was Spencer's Heritage Fair. Several things that I would like to note:
  • A haircut appointment has been made.
  • He is wearing a jersey-like shirt because it was Jersey Day at school.
  • Everyone got a medal.
  • I am VERY glad this project is done and we can move on.

He had a fun day, even though he was very disappointed he didn't get to choose a war-related topic (it was a popular topic; he lost the draw). I noticed the word "WAR" happened to be on the DVD player exactly when I snapped this picture; he's going to be pleased about that.

I feel like I'm slowly regaining control of my life. I nearly gave up yesterday, but when Dale came home and saw how close I was to falling apart, he pulled through for me. Tonight he took all the kids to swimming lessons and I got a few things done that were causing me anxiety. Neve has had a full-blown tantrum almost every single day since she turned six. I'm thinking of starting a new blog to document the Tantrum of the Day. I'm going to turn it into a book and give it to her when her first child turns six.

Monday, March 07, 2011

March Photo #21 - Ready for summer

We're all getting VERY tired of our clunky boots. Bring on that flip flop weather.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

March Photos #20 - Bella turns 3

My niece turned three today and her parents threw her a lovely party. The food was amazing, the cake and cupcakes were beautiful (done by Bailey), and the atmosphere was festive. Bella seemed to have a great time; she was perfect and made us all laugh with the crazy faces she likes to make. Can't believe that little monkey is three. It's about time her parents had another one.

It's been a busy few days and I've fallen behind with my blogging. Work has been really busy, the kids have been busy, and school projects abound. Spencer is working on a project for the Heritage Fair at his school. (It's similar to the science fair, but it has to be something about Canada). All of the research and planning is done at school, but the backboard and the final report have to be done at home. I set aside last Sunday to work on this with Spencer. I thought if we worked hard, we could be all done in one afternoon. I didn't take into consideration his lack of attention span. I wrongly thought that if he could concentrate on Wii for three hours at a time, he could do the same for this. I soon realized my one-afternoon plan was unrealistic, so I set aside yesterday as well. Let me just clarify that setting aside an entire afternoon is a huge sacrifice for me. I have many things I would and should rather be doing on a weekend afternoon. Forcing and threatening a child into painting and cutting and gluing things onto a backboard is pretty low on the list of things I like to do in my spare time. Neve didn't nap, Chloe needed help with her science fair project (don't get me started on that) and Dale decided it would be a perfect time for him to go for a two-hour run. I had to deal with interruptions every two minutes and Spencer asking every 30 seconds how much longer this was going to take. I was getting more and more tense and frustrated and cranky, and the straw that broke the camel's back was Neve asking if she could finger paint. When Dale finally came home, he could tell I was on the very edge of insanity, so he tried to take over but by that time the project was pretty much done and we had to rush out the door for dinner. All that to say I felt very edgy all weekend and I feel like I need a holiday so bad I can hardly stand it.

However, we did have a very nice dinner at Teresa & Anthony's on Saturday night. Teresa should have her own cooking show; everything is always fancy and delicious. When they come to our house, they just get fajitas every time.

The dessert was like an upside down peanut butter cup.

Chloe and her second cousin Payton

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

March Photo #19 - Taco soup

This picture makes me laugh. This bowl of soup doesn't look at all attractive or appetizing. I was trying to capture coziness and warmth on a cold day, but it turned out more homely than homey. It was quite delicious, though.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

March Photo #18 - A trip down memory lane

It was the spring of 2005. I was spending many an hour on the glider rocker in the living room nursing baby Neve. The best thing about breastfeeding for me was having an excuse to sit down and read while the house was going crazy around me. I read a couple of books a week – wish I’d had my e-reader then. My other kids knew they could get away with colouring on walls and drinking straight vodka; I was not breaking that latch/putting down my book for anything. Dale eventually started questioning why the baby needed to eat so often. Luckily she was kind of scrawny so it was all good.

But I must have occasionally looked up from my book long enough to glance out the window. As the weather got warmer, I often noticed a blonde woman out walking with a baby stroller. One day I happened to be outside when she walked by and we struck up a conversation. Her name was Karen and she just happened to have a baby girl who was only eleven days older than baby Neve. We started hanging out together, the girls started playing together, and my life has changed for the better ever since. The girls became good friends, the moms became good friends, and the rest is history. It’s so amazing having good friends only a few houses away. The girls have done many classes and activities together, and we spend a lot of time together. It’s been so great for our entire family.

All this to say – Happy Birthday, Karen! You’re awesome!

Since the above photo was taken over five years ago, I wasn’t sure if it counted as the picture of the day. If not, today’s picture is of Chloe’s wall and the person who shares a birthday with Karen. Happy birthday to you too, Justin.

(The art is gradually being replaced with JB posters)