Monday, January 30, 2012

Sh*t six-year-olds say

On our way home from school today, Neve said, “Guess what? There’s a girl in grade three who has a lisp and she didn’t even know she had one until I told her!”

I pray that the grade three girl thinks it’s as awesome as Neve does and that her evening has not been spent in tears with her mother saying, "That grade oner doesn't know what she was talking about."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Spencer the Fencer

Spencer started fencing this fall and participated in his first tournament on Saturday. He had a great time and did really well for himself. We've tried quite a few sports in the past, but so far, this has definitely been the favourite. I wish I knew what was going on in the matches, though - I'm always asking Dale who got the point, what the lights on the scoring device mean, and who won the match. I need a 'Fencing for Dummies' book.

Spencer's the one on the right.

I finally started feeling better on Friday, which was good since I had my Leadership Winnipeg course all day at the Manitoba Museum. We got a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum, including the storage areas, which was very cool. We also heard from some speakers involved with the arts in Winnipeg. I'm all inspired to take my kids to the art gallery and the museum and the theatre now. Here's a one-stop-shop website that has information on all the main arts organizations in the city: It has a combined calendar that shows what's going on in all the different venues, as well as some promotional offers. There's also a Facebook page, which for some reason doesn't link from the website, but you can search for it in FB.

I spent a large part of Saturday at Ten Spa with friends. I love it there so much I want to live there. We went to Bombolini for dinner after and then spent an hour trying to find my vehicle in the parkade. Long story. I wish I could have rather spent that hour in my robe at the spa eating pita bread. It was such a great day.

I don't know if I'm late to the party and everyone's already seen this, but it's pretty funny. Although if truth be told, in our household most of these things are more likely to come from Dale's mouth than mine. I shouldn't tease him; he's been sick this weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sick germs

I had to take a picture of Neve this morning. She loves getting dressed for school and always plans her outfits in advance. It’s usually a dress, and hair accessories and jewellery are always involved. I thought the glasses were a nice touch today.

So Dale came home this Christmas with an automatic soap dispenser from his work gift exchange. The children were much more delighted about this than I was, so it wasn’t until last weekend that I finally put four (!) AA batteries in it and filled it with soap. Let me tell you, that was an exciting day around here. Never have our hands been so clean. We used every possible excuse to wash our hands, and sometimes we didn’t even bother with an excuse. Even though the soap dispenser doesn’t really fit on the sink ledge and even though it sort of looks like we have a mini coffee maker in our bathroom, I thought it was Worth It if it encourages us to keep our hands sparkling clean.

So I find it very odd that suddenly this week, four out of five of us have been sick with coughs, runny noses, and/or headaches. I am rarely sick and I have to swallow my pride to admit I am. For the most part, I’ve been carrying on as usual - I didn’t go into the office today, but I still worked from home. Last night I even dragged myself to my first zumba class at 8:00 p.m. That was not pretty. And not just because I wasn’t feeling great. But I think it will be lots of fun once I can keep up with the seniors in the class.

Anyway, I thought about getting Spencer to do his science fair project on the effect automatic soap dispensers have on germs, but my head hurts too much to fully think that through.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Home Day

My Monday turned out differently than I thought. Neve woke up with a croupy cough and Spencer with dark circles under his eyes and a nose that wouldn’t stop running, so I kept them both home. Besides taking Chloe to school, we didn’t leave the house the rest of the day. I worked, so the TV and computer were put to good use. I also read to them, made them have a rest/nap, and then we baked cookies. It was a good day, but by 5:00, I was done. There’s something about 5:00 that sucks the energy out of me. I guess it’s when I realize I’m not going to finish everything I was hoping to and tiredness and disillusionment set in. Disillusionment might be too strong of a word; maybe that’s just on days when I’m stuck inside the entire day. Getting no fresh air rarely results in a good feeling at the end of the day. But when I tucked Spencer in, he said that he thought today was the best day of his life. Even though that was due mostly to playing Club Penguin all day, it cheered me up.

And it’s that time of year again. The dreaded science fair is upon us. The science fair doesn’t actually take place until sometime in spring, but we are already in the planning stages. Spencer thought of his project topic months ago – How much sugar is in a fast food meal? – but he discovered it didn’t qualify. Apparently there has to be an experiment involved, as opposed to just copying the nutritional information from the back of the McDonald’s tray liner. I guess the word “Science” Fair should have tipped us off.

I thought Google might help us, but it directed me towards this (warning: not entirely appropriate for children) which are definitely amazing but will probably not get past the proposal phase at his Christian school. I also came across an ad saying “Is your science fair project due tomorrow? Click here for complete projects you can do in 24 hours.” The $14.95 it cost would be worth every penny, but the teeny, tiny slice of over-achiever in me thinks we can do better. The rest of me knows that’s not true, but I’ll trick myself into thinking it is. It does make me feel better knowing there are people who really do leave it until the day before. Some of those kids in the link above definitely did.

I’m off to bed now with plans to spend lots of time outside tomorrow. First I’ll make snow angels for two hours, then I’ll go ice skating, and then ...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Trying to take pictures

I managed to pick up my camera a few more times than normal this weekend. This photo was from Friday, when a friend whose son goes to school with Neve had some of us over for a little cooking lesson. She is one of those people who are good at everything, especially anything food related, so she taught us to make summer rolls (like spring rolls, but not deep fried). She had done all the chopping in advance, so it took no time at all to roll it all up. I have a feeling they won't quite turn out as good when I make them on my own.

And here is our new family pet. Chloe used to have a dog exactly like this until Neve lost it in Grand Forks a year or two ago. Neve still had fond memories of Jessie, so she was very pleased when she got Jessie 2 for Christmas. This dog goes everywhere Neve goes, it gets tucked into its special bed at night, and I have to take care of it when Neve's not around. Today it got a new leash and collar, made from a shoelace and a glow bracelet. In this photo, it - I mean she - is eating croissant crumbs. Naughty puppy. Neve doesn't like it when I say that to her. That thing is spoiled rotten.

It was a good weekend - lots of downtime at home, but we went out for dinner on Saturday and to my sister's tonight. We're all dreading Monday more than we usually do. But low expectations almost always work in our favour; it can't be as bad as we're expecting.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Year's goals

Until two days ago, I was feeling smug about two things: that I hadn’t bothered to get my Command Start fixed and that we weren’t going on a winter holiday. Then the real winter weather came along and now I want both of those things so bad it hurts. But I’m so thankful for every beautiful spring-like day we had before this that I’m going to keep the complaining to a minimum.

I’m sorry about the infrequent blogging and will try to get back to more regular posting (because I know how my blog is such an integral part of your life). I also want to take more pictures, especially now that my camera is paid off. I bought it last January on a “do not pay for a year” deal. Dale felt there were better ways to spend money at the time, so I told him I’d pay it off without him even noticing the money. I wasn’t sure how that was going to happen, but I wanted the camera so badly that I didn’t dwell on it. I started squirreling away money from side design jobs, rolling loose change, and expense reimbursement cheques. By the end of the year, I had more than enough to pay it off. So kids, the lesson here is that you don’t need to save for anything in advance. It will probably all work out.

I don't really make New Years resolutions; I just vow to try a little harder in certain areas of life (I know, it sounds a lot like a resolution). Every January I get the purging and organizing bug, but it hasn't hit me as hard as it usually does. The Energuy was in my house today for two hours (it’s a program where they assess our home efficiency so we can get a rebate for our furnace) and I saw everything through different eyes. Oh man, is this house a mess. Not a dirty or disgusting mess, just a messy mess. There are piles of things in every corner of every room. It’s so overwhelming I have to break it down into one-square-foot increments. So it should take me just over 1900 days to get through it all. That seems about right.

Another thing I’ve been working on is cutting down on Facebook time. I am limiting myself to one quick Facebook visit per day. I log on, read the updates since the day before, comment on one or two, and log out. I'm pretty sure that my spending less time on Facebook is not making a huge impact in the world, but it does make me feel more productive.

So those are some of my goals. I would also love to do more puzzles and read more books, however, that contradicts my goal of cleaning my house. I’ve been hearing them advertise a contest on radio – instead of all those noble resolutions that involve exercising, eating better, and being kind to people, they like us ‘Just the Way You Are.’ The prize is a new couch where you can park your lazy butt and watch TV and eat chips. I like that a lot.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Forgetful tooth fairies need not apply

Each day sort of runs into the next these days. Luckily I checked the calendar and realized today was Thursday so I got up three hours earlier than I usually do, put on some lipstick and a skirt (and a few more things) and went to work. It was so nice to get out of the house and into civilization again. And now I’m ready for a few more days of nothing. I need to finish puzzle #3, do some more reading and watch a few more movies. Mine and Dale's goal was to watch a movie every night this week. We are succeeding. The trick is to set attainable goals.

With the unprecedented spring-like temperatures we've been having, I might even attempt an outdoor run tomorrow. It would be shame not to take advantage of it; however, in the morning I'll probably talk myself into believing that it would be shame not to take advantage of extra sleep, so we'll see who wins the fight between good and evil.

Neve lost two teeth over the holidays. One came out on Christmas Day and the other on New Years Eve. The first one had been wiggly for a long time and it finally got to the point where it was hanging by a thread - a bloody, vessely thread. I’ve learned the hard way not to try to pull out a tooth before it’s ready. That is fun for no one. Luckily this one was ready and came out easily. I didn’t even know the second tooth was loose until it came out when Neve was eating Toblerone. The good part was that she gave me the rest of her piece of chocolate. The bad part was that the tooth fairy forgot to visit that night. The next morning, she came downstairs sobbing with disappointment and didn’t get over it all day. That night she wrote two notes for the tooth fairy. One said, “You missed my house last night.” I told her that probably wasn’t necessary, but she felt the tooth fairy should know. This was the other one:

"Since you've done so much work, I want you to have a dime."

The tooth fairy felt so guilty about forgetting to come the first night that she paid Neve double the usual rate for her tooth. Luckily that dime helped recoup some of the extra cost.

I used the word 'luckily' three times in this post. Four now. If I had a special little symbol like Steve, I would have put that in the mouse-over. (Am I using 'mouse-over' correctly?)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The holidays

I look forward all year to the week between Christmas and New Years. I love wearing sweats and doing puzzles and watching movies and reading and never looking at the clock. However, in the past, sometimes I’ve felt a little sloth-like (I know - hard to believe!) so I threw in a little decorating project this year. We’d been promising Chloe a new room since last Christmas, so we finally made it happen. Well, it hasn’t all happened yet, but we’re making progress. So far, we’ve painted, put up new curtains, put up a chandelier, and bought a new bookcase. It looks good and Chloe’s really happy with it.

Also this past week, we went to my brother-in-law Bob’s 50th birthday party, which was good fun. Especially because someone turning 50 makes me feel so young. On Friday, between going to Pine Ridge Hollow for breakfast with Blake and Kristin, and to Star Grill for dinner with Mike and Darla, we spent the afternoon spending our gift cards. We started out at W.K. Chan Jewellers, where Neve had a $50 gift card that she won from Hot 103. I had warned her that she wouldn’t be able to get much with $50, but I knew she was fully expecting to get something with diamonds. The unfriendly jewellery lady pointed us towards the sterling silver section and Neve very quickly and decisively chose a silver heart locket on a chain that was on sale. It went a lot better than I thought it might. Neve’s excitement and huge grin did nothing to soften the saleslady’s attitude. I’m trying not to judge; maybe she had a nerve disorder that prevented her from smiling.

Chloe wanted to buy something at Forever XXI with another gift card, but going into that store with our entire family seemed like nightmare material so we moved on to Starbucks, where we all got drinks courtesy of Santa. Then we browsed at Chapters for a while, but Chloe, Spencer and I all decided to save our gift cards for another day since nothing was jumping out at us.

I won a $50 gift card to Eliminator RC from Hot 103 last year, so that was our final stop. It’s an interesting store on Higgins that sells remote controlled vehicles. I never knew there was such a large remote control subculture out there. But there is. That store is insane. Plus they have two large parrots in cages that squawk and talk and wave at people. Dale chose a helicopter that we were aggressively assured was WAY above the quality of those sold at the mall kiosks. Sadly, our helicopter met its demise after an imperfect landing five minutes after the battery was charged. It wasn’t even that rough of a landing, just a minor bump. He took it back to the store but their customer service was very poor and we are dissatisfied customers who won’t be back. Even the mall helicopter Dale bought last year lasted 30 minutes. I hope we have learned our lesson (Dale) and will not be purchasing remote control helicopters in the future, no matter how shiny and fun they look.

But it was fun afternoon anyway, and we still have a stack of gift cards we’re saving for another day, including a Cabela’s one that Spencer won from Hot 103 this year as well. He wants to get a BB gun; I’m encouraging him to put it towards a sleeping bag. I wonder who will win.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Christmas 2011

I’m always a little sad and directionless when Christmas is over. So much time and effort goes into putting it all together and it’s over so soon. But it was a great year. We went to a candlelight service Christmas Eve and Dale’s mom and Bob & Janet and the girls came over for a little while afterward. On Christmas morning, the kids played with their gifts and then we went to Dale’s mom’s for the day. On Boxing Day, we went to my parents’ and stayed until the next day. It was all a lot of fun and the kids had so much fun with their cousins.

Last year I tried really hard to scale back the kids’ gifts so we didn’t end up with a lot of useless junk. I did well, but it ended up a little too Little House on the Prairie. In fact, Neve would have probably been happier with a new tin cup than the things we got her. You may remember the playing-with-socks situation. I know Christmas isn’t all about the gifts, but it really is a large part of the magic for the kids. So this year, I went against my principles and spent more than I usually do. I did sneak in a few useful things like socks, toothbrushes and books, but most of it was fun and frivolous.

I had the hardest time with the Barbie bed & bath playset we bought for Neve. Like most Barbie stuff, the quality is not top notch. But the joy that sub-standard plastic – along with a few Barbies - has brought Neve has far exceeded my expectations. She also loved a microphone we gave her that you can download any songs to and sing along. I have “I Love You Like a Love Song” permanently stuck in my head. “And I keep hitting repeat peat peat peat peat peat peat.”

Spencer’s main gifts from us were Lego, a Nerf gun, and a Professor Layton DS game. When he’s gotten Lego in the past, he opens it right away and doesn’t stop working on it until it’s done. But this year, he still hasn’t finished his set and even has another unopened set he got from someone else. The DS game has been a huge hit, as has a Star Wars Wii game he got from his aunt and uncle. He’s been saving for an iPod Touch, so he asked for money as well and now has more than enough to buy one. Oddly enough, he isn’t in a huge hurry to get it, which I’m happy about since he has so many other new things to play with.

And we gave Chloe an iPod dock/alarm clock, a duffle bag and Justin Bieber perfume. If you count smelling pretty as a necessity, hers were the least impractical gifts.

We still have a basket in our living room full of miscellaneous stocking stuffers that have yet to find a home. That didn’t happen last year with my (and Santa’s) practical gift-giving. But I think I prefer it this way. It seems wrong that the joy of Christmas is tied into the gifts, but it was pretty fun seeing the kids’ happy faces. They’ve all been spending lots of time playing with their gifts, so it was well Worth It.
Hope your Christmas was happy too. Were there any gifts that you gave or received that were a big hit? Let me know because I’m going to start shopping for next year soon. Not. (do people still say that?)