Thursday, September 29, 2011

Leaving on a jet plane

I've just finished the last of my work for the week, I'm all packed up, and off to Vancouver Island in the morning for a wedding. Dale is going to do his best at keeping things going at home; I have written him very detailed instructions on who needs to be where when. He doesn't seem as concerned about some of the little details as I think he should be. I have a feeling the boy whose birthday party Neve is invited to on Saturday will not be getting a card. I'll be happy if she even makes it to the party. It'll work out somehow and I'm sure when I get back, I will have love and appreciation and gratitude showered upon me for all the little things no one even knew I did. And then aliens will land in the back yard and bring me a giant cake, which Johnny Cash will leap out of and sing for me. It never hurts to dream.

My impending departure has raised Neve's anxiety to new heights. Today she said she thinks a boy threw up at school; she didn't actually see or hear that he had, but the teacher took him out of the room and when someone asked what was wrong, she said "Nothing." To Neve, that could only mean one thing.

It will be a lovely break from dealing with her anxiety and everything else. I am desperately in need of a holiday. It was a rough week. Yesterday I went to a funeral for a co-worker's wife who died very suddenly after having a fever for a few days. I've worked with her husband for over ten years, and have talked to her many times over the years. She had a great sense of humour and was a positive, vibrant person who obviously enjoyed life. The other Thursday when I went to work, there was a carrot cake in the kitchen that she had baked for us. A few days later she passed away. (Click here for her obituary.) Her husband and kids have been on my mind constantly; thankfully they have a very strong faith, but I'm so sad for them.

I am going to try to stay away from computers all weekend, so I'll meet you back here next week. Have a great weekend and hug your loved ones tight!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bullet update

Lately it seems I’m not able to produce more than one blog post a week. September is always busy with the back-to-real-life stuff, and there’s been so much going on at work lately that it feels like I can hardly breathe. But everyone’s busy, so I won’t take up anyone’s time by whining about it.

In an effort to keep this short and concise, I’ll go with bullet points today.

  • Spencer started fencing and has had two classes so far. He seems to enjoy it and is happy that he has begun his path to the Olympics (luge is his first choice; fencing is Plan B).
  • Neve started gymnastics on Saturday. She allowed me to leave the gym after two minutes, which is a very clear sign that she was having fun.
  • Her fear of using the bathroom at school has been overcome, but we’ve moved on to an intense fear of throw-up. I won’t get into the whole situation, but a girl threw up during music class and now Neve hates: a) music class; b) Thursdays, because that’s the day the girl threw up; c) the girl that threw up. Just when she was starting to come to terms with it, a second girl threw up during gym class the following week (that one wasn’t as traumatic because Neve didn’t actually see it happening). Other than that major issue, she is enjoying school.
  • Chloe is very busy with volleyball, piano, French Horn, youth, and homework. She’s got a cold and hasn’t been feeling great, but she’s getting by.
  • I love my photography class. I’ve learned lots and am having fun taking hundreds of pictures. My family is growing weary of it and most of my models are very uncooperative, but I carry on.
  • The weather has been splendid the past few days. I’ve been spending far too much time at my computer, so I haven’t been able to enjoy it as much as I’d like, but we did go to the corn maze last weekend, and the park this weekend.
  • Two nights ago, a house-shaking crash jarred us all awake in the middle of the night. While Dale slumbered on, I got up to investigate and found the book shelves above the piano in the study had came crashing down. We haven’t had time to deal with the situation yet, so there are piles of books all over the room. And Shannon had arranged those shelves so nicely. Good thing there are photos to refer to.

I’ll leave it there for now. I hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel later this week and hope to get back to more consistent posting.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pool Party

It's a grey, wet day today, but we were lucky that Sunday was a pleasant, sunny one for our inaugural swim in Mike and Darla's new pool. I'm amazed at how quickly the process went. One day Darla said, "We're thinking of getting a swimming pool" and almost before the words were out of her mouth, there was a digger in her backyard. And then the next day, she called us to come for a swim. It was THAT fast. Mike and Darla (and their neighbour) may have a slightly different version than that, but those pool guys aren't lazy.
And it's beautiful. All of it - the shape of the pool, the concrete, the liner, the slide. Spencer made me promise that we'd get a slide just like theirs if we got a pool. That's one promise I'm pretty sure I can keep. As much as I wish this was the view of my backyard, I am happy to drive 10 minutes and share theirs.

Nice form, Maddie! We took a break for some delicious food (vegetarians - look away)...
... and kept swimming until dark.
I think we've found the perfect location for our mythical Bloggers Reunion.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


We’re starting to settle into our fall schedule. The kids all appear to be happy with school. Chloe goes to Tim Hortons almost every noon hour for hot chocolate, I’ve heard nothing from Spencer, which can only be interpreted as a very good sign, and Neve has gotten over her fear of going to the bathroom at school. She told me she went to the bathroom five times on Tuesday. It seems she has embraced Auntie Janet’s sketchy advice and has found the perfect way to skip class.

I’ve gone back to school too. Before you get too impressed, it’s just a photography course on Tuesday nights. But I am loving it! We have assignments (the apple picture at the top was the first one) and homework and everything. I’ve learned a lot in the first two classes already. My brain is not used to learning new things.

Speaking of getting used to new things, my body is not used to working out. I stopped doing my Jillian Michaels Shred workout DVDs for the summer, and went running most days instead. With the sudden drop in temperature this week, I just couldn’t convince myself to go for a run. I know that’s irrational because in January, two degrees would feel like tropical, but I am a slow acclimatizer. So I descended to the basement and allowed Jillian to torture me. Guess how many “real” push-ups I could do? Five (I eked out a few more once I dropped to my knees). Yes, five. Push-ups have always been a weak spot, but I believe I’ve sunk to a new low. And don’t ask me how sore I am. And don’t poke my pecs. Or my shoulders or my upper arms. Just to be on the safe side, don’t poke me anywhere.

I think it’s supposed to warm up a bit; hopefully I can get a few more weeks of fair-weather-running in. The cool fall feeling came in like a lion on Monday, after a scorching weekend. On Saturday we were at the beach and on Monday the kids were asking for mittens to wear to school. I resisted putting on socks and proper footwear until yesterday when I remembered there’s no prize for being the last one wearing flip flops. But I’m holding off on the toque, even though I secretly want to wear one.

In closing, let me share my new favourite website, Dear Photograph (today’s bareback dog-bathing one isn’t my favourite). With that description, I bet none of you can resist checking it out now (don’t worry, Mom & Dad, it’s all innocent). Corinna shared the link on Facebook and I can’t get enough of it. It’s sappy, but I love how it validates all the picture-taking I do. It’s all nostalgic and bittersweet and it makes me want to go hug my children and then take a picture of us hugging. I actually have a great idea of launching a spoof website using the same concept with pictures that no one wants to remember. Or better yet, Deer Photograph. Send your deer photos my way.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


It took thirteen years, but as of today all of my children are in school full-time. For the last two years, Neve has been in school in the mornings and napped most afternoons, so it doesn't feel much different. She's attending the public school down the street (the other kids are still at their private one), so she'll come home for lunch most days. It makes for an easy transition; I really can't say I'm nostalgic about my "baby" going to school full time.

Neve was anxious this morning - about her teacher, about her new classroom, about the location of the bathrooms, as well as other miscellaneous concerns. The zipper on her new backpack broke before we even got to school. Piece of crap Tinkerbell backpack. It only took Neve about an hour at the store to decide which one to get; now we get to do it all over again. Actually I think I'll do that on my own and just surprise her. Anyway, she was a little more relaxed when I picked her up at lunch, and even more so at the end of the day. Tomorrow she stays for lunch, so now she's anxious about that. It will be nice to get all the firsts over with. She really likes her teacher and says she's funny (in a good way) so I know she'll be fine.

Spencer pretended to be the least excited about starting school . He came downstairs this morning in his rattiest T-shirt and faded jean shorts. I made him change. His teacher this year is Lisa, our ex-babysitter, which we are all ecstatic about. Before school started, we practiced calling her by her teacher name - Mrs. X (not really - just trying to be stealthy and privacy-conscious). I made muffins this morning for the kids to give to their teachers; first thing Spencer says to her, "Here's a muffin for you, Lisa." That reminds me of the relationship I had with my grade five teacher, Ed.

Then there's Chloe. She lay awake for hours last night; her grade eight mind buzzing with excitement. It goes without saying that her outfit was carefully planned in advance, and despite her short night, she got up nice and early to do her hair and makeup. She's especially excited that this is the year they're allowed to leave the school grounds at lunch time. Dale's excited that he can just send money instead of making her a lunch. Major renovations have just been completed at the school (last year she was in a portable classroom) so everything is new and fresh and exciting.

As for me, I won't lie: I was eagerly looking forward to this day. It was a great summer and I felt like I juggled work and the kids better than most years. We had lots of fun, but I'm ready to move on and get back to routine. And if the summer weather continues to stick around, all the better. I think we should plan a Parents Day at the beach on Friday. Or at Darla's new pool?!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

No, we had more fun

We split up the genders this weekend: the boys went camping and the girls had a Girls in the City weekend. It wasn't as wild as it sounds, except for the dance party.

We started off on Friday with pizza at my sister’s to welcome their new exchange student who just flew in from Germany. On the way home, we stopped at BDI to pick up milkshakes for our movie night. We watched Soul Surfer until Neve freaked out. Not from the shark attack – oh no, apparently a shark attack isn’t scary at all compared to the girl’s friend throwing up on the beach. As I’ve mentioned before, Neve has an intense fear of throwing up. “OHH! She’s throwing up!! Tell me when it’s over! Is it over? Is she going to throw up again? OH! I can’t watch! I think I’m going to throw up! Am I? I think I am! I look gray! Oh, this is bad! I want to go to bed! I’m probably going to throw up in my bed!” (she didn’t). Thankfully it made for a quick and easy bedtime, after which Chloe and I watched Legally Blonde while we drank Neve’s untouched milkshake.

On Saturday, we had a lazy morning, then headed to the mall. Neve got a pile of new clothes for school and all three of us got new shoes. I bought mine with the last of my gift card from work; I was sad to reach the end of my spending spree, but I’m happy with all my purchases.

We set up a little spa at home and did manicures and pedicures before dressing up (Chloe’s request) and going downtown to Moxie’s. We had a lovely grown-up dinner, complete with appetizers and Shirley Temples. For dessert, we came home and had a chocolate fondue, followed by a dance party (Neve’s request). I don’t remember the last time our curtains have been closed, but they were that night. When we grew weary of dancing, we convinced Neve there were no more disturbing scenes and watched the rest of Soul Surfer. There was a storm Friday night which interrupted all of our nights, but we made up for it Saturday night with the best sleeps ever. I woke up at 9:00 on Sunday morning and felt so good. I went for a run and had a shower, yet both girls slumbered on until I checked their pulses. That’s normal for Chloe, but Neve is almost always awake by 8:30. Once everyone finally got up and dressed, we went to Cora’s for brunch, followed by a little more shopping.

The boys came home Sunday afternoon. The weather hadn’t been great, but they swore they’d had a good time anyway. They tried to prove it by showing us photos on Dale’s iPhone of Spencer laughing and eating junk food. I think they were a bit disappointed we weren’t jealous of their staged photos, but how can they expect to compete with a fondue and new shoes? It just doesn’t get better than that.