Monday, May 30, 2011

A more eventful weekend than most

I’ve been taking Neve to ballet every Saturday morning since September. Fortunately, the sacrifice of getting up early(ish) on Saturdays was more than balanced out by sipping Starbucks and talking with two great friends whose daughters were also in the class. This weekend was the big dance recital for all the classes, so we finally got to see what the girls had been doing all year.

Neve had some major stage fright at the rehearsal on Friday night and wouldn’t let go of me. She formed her little hands into claws and dug them into me so deep I could hardly move. Her class was about to go on stage and no amount of pleading or reasoning was helping. In my desperation, I said, “If you go on stage, I’ll buy you a treat.” Like a miracle, she relaxed her claw hands, wiped her tears, and away she went. I was relieved until the thought came to me that her idea of a treat might be different than the box of Smarties I had in mind. For all I knew, she was happily imagining riding her new unicorn around the green space across our back lane. As soon as the rehearsal was over, she ran up to me and asked, “Can I get a donut with sprinkles?” Whew.

The performance the next day went really well. The girls were all so cute and did great. I was going to show you a close-up, but with all the stage makeup, it looked too Toddlers & Tiara. Neve was very thrilled with it all, and we went out for ice cream to celebrate. When I put her to bed, she said, “I wish this day wasn’t over.” And that was worth all those early Saturday mornings.

Neve's the one in the blue skirt on the right

Sunday was a bit dreary, but the rain held off so we headed to the Teddy Bear picnic. The kids love the “hospital” for stuffed toys where they treat any imaginary (or real!) medical problems. Neve told them her bear had a broken leg, so she had to have x-rays, etc., and ended up with cast. Chloe couldn’t decide what was wrong with her bear – she was debating between all kinds of situations that would have startled those lovely medical volunteers, from shaken baby syndrome to a botched suicide attempt. Thankfully, she settled on a less creative broken arm. I think she may be getting too old for this. She obviously agrees; she wouldn’t even let me take her picture. I can only imagine what Spencer would have said, but luckily he was at a birthday party.

The bear gets an ultrasound on its leg

The weekend ended with my second concert in over 20 years (although if you count the kids’ school concerts, I’ve been to at least a thousand). Dale & I went to see U2 play at the stadium. It was very cool; the show was great and the music was awesome. Every single person in my age group (I’ll be vague about what that is) in the entire city was there. Well, I know maybe four people who weren’t, and that’s not even an exaggeration. And now I’ve just made those four people feel even worse. Sorry guys (you know who you are). Don’t feel too bad; our seats were behind the stage. I like to think of it as a backstage pass, except we didn’t get to meet Bono. Still awesome though. It was a very fun night.

And now I’m looking forward to next weekend to recover from this one.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crying, Running, & Lawncare

I can’t believe there’s only a little over a month of school left. It’s not even real school anymore – it’s field trips, track meets, spring concert rehearsals, and parties. I made the sorry mistake of telling Neve today that I wouldn’t allow her to go to grade one and would home school her instead. I would never joke about that with Spencer; he’d have quit school and would be sitting at the table with an atlas before I finished my sentence. But Neve loves her teacher, her friends, calendar time, the writing centre, and really just about everything about school, so I knew I was safe. Not so. She had a 20 minute crying fit when I told her I was joking. One of her good friends is home schooled and she sobbed, “I wish I was in Anna’s family!” I told her I wasn’t patient or kind enough to teach her, and finally had to get downright nasty just to prove my point. I think I did okay; she’s looking forward to school tomorrow.

Spencer also called my bluff tonight. He’d been sitting at the computer playing Poptropica for way too long, so I told him he needed to practice for the Super Run. I didn’t at all feel like going for a run with him; every other time I’ve suggested it to him, he says he’ll only do it if he can have Gatorade (we bought some for him last year to motivate him). We didn’t have any, so I thought I was safe. It must be Take Everything Your Mother Says Literally Day because suddenly he was in his sweats and runners, ready to go. I have no idea what spurred him on, but he set the pace and we ran that mile faster than I’m used to. I was back home on the couch in no time, so it was all good.

Speaking of running, Dale is planning to run the full Manitoba Marathon this Father’s Day. If you’ve talked to Dale in the past year, you probably already knew that. Ever since I decided to run it last year, his competitive side cannot rest until he does the same. I am very much enjoying being the support person rather than the runner. He did his longest run on Saturday, so the worst is over. In my vast marathon experience (Dale loves it when I say that, so I say it often), I found the long training runs more difficult than the actual marathon. It rained the whole time he was running on Saturday; I met him on my bike around the 16-mile mark and when I complained about being wet and cold, he rolled his eyes at me. Or he would have if he hadn’t been so tired. He did great and even got a spurt of energy at the end. I’m excited for him, and also for me because I only have to run two miles with the kids (yay, Super Run).

Also on a running note, congratulations to Sheri-Lee for running the full marathon in Fargo last weekend. Mike & Darla were there too; way to run, Mike! Hope your bodies are all recovering nicely!

On a completely different note, I just procured a lawn fertilizing/weed control service for the first time ever this summer. We’ve talked about it for years, but we always say we’ll just do it ourselves. We are finally accepting our limitations and doing our local economy a favour by hiring someone. I checked out different companies online and I had to share these underwhelming before and after pics on one of the websites (this company has the same name as a Winnipeg one, but appears to be a completely different company located in another province). I especially like the one that makes the gas meter more of a focal point. I bet the meter reader is happy.

Anyway, our new lawn company will probably be sickened by the state of our weeds-that-look-like-grass-from-a-distance. I’m fully expecting them to be snapping ‘before’ pics with their iPhones.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day in the country

Steve had some great photo-uploading tips a while back; I finally took the time to try it out. He was right - it's awesome and is going to save me a lot of time. This post is really just for the purpose of experimenting with the system. I can't believe I didn't try it sooner.

We spent the day at my parents' today. The weather evolved from okay to gorgeous and the kids had a blast playing outside. Bella and Lexie were there as well. Looking forward to another whole extra day of weekend tomorrow.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Soccer season

I love soccer. I always assumed my kids would like the same things I like, but that has rarely been the case. We put Chloe and Spencer in mini soccer a few summers each, but it never took. If it wasn't for snack time, we would have had to drag them there kicking and screaming each week.

Then Neve came along. She liked soccer last year, but this year she loves it. It helps that she has two very good friends on the team, and three (!) very committed coaches who make it fun, but she is definitely into it. They don't even have snack time. I don't want to count my chicks before they hatch, but maybe - just maybe - I'll get a soccer player yet.

We went to watch my niece Tia's game tonight. At that level, it gets exciting to watch (not that a clump of 6-year-olds running after the ball isn't - sometimes one falls and gets trampled by the pack).

We've been enjoying the weather this week to the fullest. As I mentioned before, the trampoline has been so awesome at getting the kids outside. The kids have added some sprinkler action the past few days, so that's pretty fun. The wet swimsuits and towels laying all over the house are not.

I rode my bike to work today. I've only done that once before when I went in for a meeting, but never during rush hour traffic. I loved it! Well not necessarily the driving in traffic part, but it was as fast as driving, faster if you count the parking time. I need to gain some confidence, but I hardly went on the sidewalk at all. Luckily I didn't take the sidewalk over the bridge, because the cops were ticketing cyclists on the other side. I know there are cyclists out there who deserve it, but I think it's ridiculous. If I was mayor, I'd focus on catching some real criminals. Let me know if you want to volunteer on my campaign. Anyway, the bike riding was a big success and I hope to make it a regular event. It feels so wholesome and virtuous. Oh, except when I almost got hit by a bus. If I was mayor, I'd ban buses and make everyone ride their bikes.

Happy long weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why I now enjoy doing laundry

This was one scary room:

We've done a lot of renovations and updating since we bought our house 12 years ago. The laundry room, however, was the poor neglected exception. As I think I've mentioned, we need to do some extensive work in our basement so we've left this room untouched for years. In fact, I came across this post from three years ago - the room is almost identical except for the new washer and dryer.

The painted concrete floor was disgusting. There was peeling paint, fluffy white foam that looked like mould but we called "moisture," cobwebs, bugs, dust, and more delightful things. I never walked on that floor without shoes and if a wet sock fell on the floor when transferring laundry from the washer to the dryer, it went straight back to the dirty wash basket. The children were so frightened of that room that they didn't even use it as a hiding spot for Hide and Seek. They knew they'd be in there forever because no one would ever look in there. Lots of excellent nightmare material.

After years of longing for a nice, bright, clean laundry room, and even sticking pictures of pretty laundry rooms on the fridge, my dreams have finally come true. We decided a quick fix was worth doing since it will probably be years before we get around to doing the major work. We got new vinyl for the floor, painted the walls and shelving, and added some little things like knobs, a towel bar, kids' artwork, and even framed a poster with old baseboards. There are plans in the distant future for a new sink, counter, ceiling and drywall, but the most dramatic work is done.

The thought did enter my mind that you may not be as excited as I am about this, but everyone likes before and after pictures. Here are the side by side comparisons:

Everytime I go in there, my spirit soars (not even being sarcastic) when I flick on the new light switch. I might just put a cozy chair in there and make it my own private space. Old habits die hard; no one would think to look for me in there.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Baby Lexie meets the cousins

I was scrolling through some old blog entries when I linked to Bella’s birth photos last week and noticed I had posted pics of each of my children holding newborn Bella. So with Future Lexie’s feelings in mind, here she is in the arms of her older cousins, including Bailey and Tia. I'm sorry we didn't get one of her big cousin Jordan holding her too. In this first picture, she's yawning, not crying. Just had to point that out since I have yet to hear her cry.

In other news, we had our first trampoline injury yesterday. Spencer came running into the house with blood all over his face. I was imagining all kinds of plastic surgery in our future but luckily it was just a major bloody nose. And although it happened on the trampoline, it wasn’t really trampoline-related. Spencer and Neve were wrestling and her head banged into his nose while he was holding her down. Despite that mishap, the trampoline has been awesome. Yesterday after school, I was calling for Spencer to come and do his homework. When he didn’t answer, I assumed he was reading somewhere so I called upstairs and I called downstairs, but he was nowhere. A foreign thought came to me, “Could he be OUTSIDE?!?” To say he doesn’t like to go outside would be an understatement. And yet, what to my wondering eyes did appear but Spencer jumping on the trampoline, with no book in sight. That is so worth a thick trail of blood from the backyard to the kitchen.


Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there! I had a great day; a great weekend, actually. On Friday, my mom, sister, sister-in-law, and I went for pedicures. We went to a discount type of place and I could write quite a few paragraphs on that, but I'll let it go. We had fun and all ended up with lovely painted toenails, even if some of the designs on our big toes were a bit bizarre.

Friday night, we went to a family dance at Neve's school. Chloe went home after a few minutes, probably because there were no cute boys her age. Spencer put in two song requests to the DJ, so he hung around all evening waiting to see if they'd play them. Neither of them fit into the Top 40 type music they were playing, so according to him the evening was a waste. Neve, on the other hand, danced non-stop until the music ended and the lights went on. She was warm and sweaty and red, and fell asleep the second her head hit her pillow.

On Saturday, we went downtown to see the Titanic exhibit. Most of us really enjoyed it but Neve's ticket was a waste. Too bad there wasn't a dance floor. Afterward we went to the Forks for ice cream, then went to friends' house for the evening.

This morning, the kids all gave me their lovely cards and handmade gifts. Chloe made me fudge (at home), Spencer made me some paper flowers, and Neve drew me a picture of purple roses. I sometimes cringe at all the artwork the kids bring home, but I seriously LOVE mother's day crafts. Spencer even wrote me a haiku in his card. Oh, and Dale bought me flowers and an Adele CD.

We went out for brunch with Dale's mom, brother, and sister-in-law, and my family came over tonight for pizza. Baby Lexie came over for the first time. She seemed to like it here. That is one perfect baby.

Here's my mom, sister, sister-in-laws and me. I don't have the energy for photoshop tonight, so this is Dale's photography at its best.

The big surprise of the day was a new trampoline. It was a surprise for all of us - Dale's brother and sister-in-law offered us their trampoline at brunch this morning, and an hour or so later, it was set up in our yard. It's not the mesh-enclosed, safety net kind; we will probably have some emergency room visits (or at least Pan Am clinic visits) in the years ahead. The kids are delighted - they spent hours on it today already. Even pouring rain didn't deter them. We realized our yard is not nearly as big as we thought it was, so we will need to do some reconfiguring. We're thinking of building up. Two-storey backyards seem like a good idea.

Tonight Neve wanted me to tuck her in. She said, "I want you to tuck me in with an AAB pattern: you do it two nights, then Daddy does one." I was hoping I was the B. Oh well, it's Mother's Day and I feel lots of love and warm feelings towards my three little offspring.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Baby X

The big news of the day today is not the somewhat mysterious death and disposal of Osama Bin Laden, nor the federal election. More exciting by far is the arrival of my new baby niece.

Jim and Sabrina are the proud parents of a new baby girl born this morning. She was 8 lbs 6 oz, healthy and beautiful. Her parents have not yet decided on a name that is worthy of her. Naming her something like “Perfection” or “Bestbabyever” could work, but may cause problems for her in the future. Send your suggestions this way – the winner gets to name her.

Three years ago when Bella was born, Dale and I rushed to the hospital the instant we got the news. Sabrina was just being wheeled out of the recovery room after a C-section and was really not yet ready for visitors. No matter; nothing could deter us from seeing baby Bella. We swooped in and made ourselves comfortable - we took turns holding the baby, took pictures, and chattered away happily and excitedly, while Sabrina lay there drifting in and out of consciousness.

This time, we held back as long as we could but we just had to go take a peek at the baby tonight. Sabrina was coherent and looking great (not that she didn't last time!). The baby is tiny and perfect. It was amazing to hold that little peanut. I was completely expecting (for no logical reason) a boy, so she took me by surprise. I’m starting to get used to it and now I’m thrilled for Bella that she’ll have a sister. It doesn’t seem that long ago since Bella arrived in the picture, and now she’s a big sister.

Way to go, guys!

Here's me, with a much bigger smile than I ever had when holding my own newborns. Maybe because I know I'll be getting a solid 8 hours of sleep tonight.