Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May showers bring ...?

The sun has finally come back today after three almost-solid days of rain.  I don’t know where it was or who gave it permission to stay away that long, but I’m so glad to have it back, I won’t ask any questions.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you do NOT want to be on the sun’s bad side.  The kids were going a little stir crazy yesterday so I got out the playdough, which hasn't been played with for a long, long time.  To my delight, it kept them happy for a long time and they even got it out again today.  Who knew?

Besides the one above, I haven’t taken many pictures lately, so I have no record of what I’ve been up to since I last blogged.  Off the top of my head, I remember going to my niece’s high school play on Friday night.  They performed Beauty and the Beast at MTYP and they did a really good job.  The sets and costumes and acting all exceeded my expectations, except for my niece because I already knew she’d be awesome. On the topic of nieces, my other niece left for central America today.  She'll be there six weeks working at a coffee plantation (I think - did I get that right?).  She had a rough start yesterday when her flight was cancelled because of mechanical trouble.  She came back home for night and left early this morning instead.  I just heard she arrived safely; looking forward to hearing all about her adventures there.  Maybe I'll convince her to write a guest post because she just LOVES blogs. 

On Saturday, Chloe and I did our last long training run before the half marathon.  We did the whole 13.1 miles and it felt pretty good.  We planned out a nice scenic running route to the Forks and beyond, but it felt like we ran through the entire city.  We managed to stick to our run 1 mile/walk 1 minute schedule for the most part, and I think we were both pleasantly surprised by how well it went.  I’m not going to say it was a barrel of fun, or that I wasn’t very, very happy to turn back onto Lindsay Street, but it could’ve been worse.  Barring any unforeseen problems like sickness, injury, or eating Starbursts for breakfast, we’re pretty confident we can do this.  There are still a few more weeks to go (Father’s Day), so we’ll do shorter runs until then.

On Sunday we went to a big family reunion on my mom’s side of the family.  With 13 siblings in the family, and most of those producing large families themselves (at five kids, ours was one of the smallest), it is a family of epic proportions.  Family reunions are rare, because the amount of planning that’s required is equal to that of a city putting in a bid for the Olympics.*  The actual Olympics might possibly require more work than the family gathering, but I’m not completely sure.  Anyway, thankfully a few people stepped up and made it happen.  The turnout seemed high and it was good to see relatives I haven’t seen for years.  Or ever, in some cases.

* Speaking of Olympics, every time I hear about the upcoming London games, this always comes to mind:

I’m sure this has put a staggering amount of pressure on the London Olympics organizing committee to prove them wrong. 

I’ve been pretty popular around here the last couple of days.  I scored Justin Bieber tickets for Chloe and her friend before they went on sale to the public.  Darla enlightened me that american express cardholders can get advance tickets, so I’m very relieved I can skip the craziness on Friday when the tickets go on sale.  I very clearly remember the stress of purchasing tickets to his last concert: two computers set up, clicking the refresh button until the second they went on sale.  Then my Ticketmaster account wouldn’t work and I had to set up a whole new account while the clock ticked in the bottom corner.  My heart is pounding just thinking about it.  The adrenaline rush wasn’t as great this time around, but that’s okay.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Remember the flower pots the kids were painting in the last post?  Here they are, all finished and labelled.  I'm not a very crafty person, but I saw these on Pinterest (I think) and thought I could probably pull them off.  I taped off the area where I painted the blackness, but I did a rather clumsy job of it.  My OCD painter brother will cringe when he sees them and will probably redo them.  I could have used chalkboard paint, but I didn't have any so I used some black paint I had.  The kids each labelled the pot they painted with a white paint pen.  Neither Chloe nor Neve forsaw the dip-down letters (y and g) coming. You can't actually tell who did which pot.  Not sure if that's a compliment for Neve or an insult for Chloe.

I just hope I remember to actually use the herbs.  I hate when I buy a big bunch of cilantro and forget about it until it turns slimy.  I was so pleased with these cheery little pots on my deck that I took another picture from a different angle.

And then I turned them all straight and took another one.  I have a lot of pictures of these pots.  Oh well, insurance companies always say you should take pictures of your valuables for insurance purposes, so I'm just being prudent.

And yes, this is a whole post about four painted pots.  You're lucky I'm not talented at making things or I'd bore you all to death.

Monday, May 21, 2012

May Looooong weekend

This weekend seemed to go on forever.   I'm used to weekends flying by; one minute I'm having Friday afternoon happy hour with my neighbour; the next I'm in the van driving kids to school.  It was awesome and we packed in a lot, but I think we did everything on our summer list so I'm a little worried about what we're going to do the next 14 or so summer weekends.

On Friday after happy hour, we went to Blake & Kristin's for a BBQ with a bunch of friends and had a great time.  On Saturday, I had some activities planned for the family.  The children (one in particular) don't always appreciate my suggestions when it comes to family outings, so I positioned it as an extention to Mothers Day.  The first thing on the list was a bike ride to High Tea Bakery for cookies, but since it was raining, we drove instead.  Then we went downtown to Dalnavert Museum, a historic house.  It was short and sweet and we all really enjoyed the tour.  Then we went to Toad Hall Toys and let each kid could buy something small.  The final stop was lunch at Pop Soda's, a cute new-ish place near the U of W.  It's a very fun atmosphere with live music and couches and mismatched furniture and books and games.  We had panini and flatbread and then we went home.  Everyone was happy and relaxed and there was no complaining the entire time.  It felt like we were on vacation.  A vacation I didn't bring my camera on.

Saturday night, we went out for dinner with Teresa & Anthony and Doug & Lorie.  We went to a new restaurant in the Exchange called Deer + Almond.  A guy at work had been to it and said he wouldn't go back, so I thought it would be perfect.  The food was very unique and creative and tasty, but portions are not large.  By not large, I mean the tea party saucers that the food was served on were not nearly full.  But it's a cool place, and as long as I'm not famished, I would definitely go again.  It was Teresa's birthday, so we had cake over here afterward.  A great night with good friends and lots of laughter is better than medicine.  Not that I need medicine; except maybe some for my hacking cough.  The laughing didn't actually help that.

On Sunday, I fulfilled my life long dream of riding the Prairie Dog Central.  The trick to fulfilling life long dreams is to dream small.  I was afraid it wouldn't live up to my expectations after all these years, but it was awesome.

They have different themes each week, and this one was a cowboy robbery.  So as we're riding happily along, we spot bad guys on horses riding beside the train.

The train is forced to a halt and masked bandits get on and tell everyone to put their hands up and hand over our money (which gets donated to charity). 

Spencer hesitated before handing over his loonie, so the bandits got nasty.

After the bad guys left, the train continued on to Grosse Isle where we stopped for lunch.  There were concession stands, live music, people selling crafts and jam and baking, a petting zoo consisting of two sheep, and a little old house we could tour. 

We told the kids about the train ride the night before, and Neve was adamant that she wasn't going.  Trains, boats, planes, and buses all fill her with anxiety because of her fear of throwing up.  She is scared that she or someone around her will get motion sickness and her world as she knows it would end.  I made her a deal that if she didn't enjoy it, I would take her out another day to do whatever she chose.  I was worried that she might just pretend not to enjoy it so I'd have to take her to Kid City or play Polly Pockets all day.  But she's not that manipulative or that smart, so it wasn't long before she said she was having fun.  Luckily, she now appears to have conquered her fear of trains.  Last Christmas, she refused to ride the little Christmas train near Assiniboine Park, and now she was happily riding the little tractor-pulled train at the Grosse Isle stop.

Neve beaming as she rides around in a former chemical barrel.

When we got back, Neve and Spencer went to friends' for a sleepover.  The rest of us had nachos on the deck and then went to Jim and Sabrina's later.

And today we did a lot of nothing.  Chloe and I went for an eight mile run, Dale and I went for a bike ride to do some errands, and we did things that make us seem like a perfect Norman Rockwell family, like reading Anne of Green Gables aloud, crafts, and games.  

Painting flower pots.  Neve stripped off her Victoria Day party dress so she wouldn't get it painty, so I drew her a photoshop t-shirt.  

And a few games of Old Maid with the whole family.  Neve obviously doesn't have the Old Maid card or she wouldn't be smiling.

In between all this fun, we also did some yardwork like eavestrough cleaning, planting flowers, planting grass, raking, etc.  I painted some living room furniture (will show you soon), did laundry, cleaned, and got organized for the week.  I also slept in each day, read and watched several movies.  A few times today I looked at the time and couldn't believe it was still as early as it was. Dale felt the same way; at one point he said he was ready to go back to work and I had to agree.  I think.  One more day off would be okay too.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mother's Day

I thought I’d better quickly write about last weekend before the next weekend is upon us.  There were lots of things to write about, but luckily for you I’ve forgotten most of them, so I’ll summarize.

Last Friday I spent the day at my Leadership Winnipeg class.  I think I’ve written about this before; it’s a year-long class that meets once a month and learns about different Winnipeg-related issues in the hopes that we will one day be leaders ourselves.  I’m pretty sure that’s not really my goal, but I’m enjoying it anyway.  This class was my favourite one.  We spent time at the Immigrant Centre, Assentworks,  the Fort Garry Hotel and Yoga Public .  It was an interesting mix, but I loved each place.  It always amazes me to learn how much is going on in this city that I had no idea about.

I especially loved the Fort Garry Hotel segment.  Ida Albo, one of the owners, spoke about how she and her husband first acquired the hotel when it was struggling, and how they turned it around to be profitable.  She also gave us a tour of parts of the hotel they’ve restored (including the former Crystal Casino) and the Ten Spa on the tenth floor, which used to be the maids’ quarters.  She also took us to the lower levels; there are three full levels below ground.  The bottom level has a tunnel to the train station, but we didn’t see it. It's such an amazing building.

Then we went to Yoga Public, which is down the street in the old Carlton Club building.  The Fort Garry Hotel owners started this business as well; it’s only been open for a few months.  I’ve never done yoga, but seeing that studio really makes me want to.  It’s beautiful and sleek and apparently has cutting-edge yoga technology.  I don’t think those are the words they used, but I was impressed.  We all got passes for a free class, which I can’t wait to use.  Siobhan – aren’t you coming for a visit soon?  Maybe I’ll wait until then and we can go together.  And you’ll fall in love with it and get a job there and move back here.  I’ve got your life all planned out.

Moving on to Mother’s Day.  I had a lovely day.  We had dinner with Dale’s mom, lunch with mine, and breakfast at home.  I was served strawberry & banana crepes in bed and the kids gave me all the awesome gifts they made at school.  I love how excited they were to give them to me, and how cute the gifts were. Chloe is past the stage of school-made presents, so she bought me things.  She did good; she bought me things she knew I'd love.  Dale also gave me a new wallet and a gift certificate for a pedicure.  The children were all on their best behaviour and I felt very loved.  I wish that love could stretch past Mother’s Day, but I’ll take what I can get.  I can't complain; I feel very lucky to be their mom.

Neve gave me a plate she painted, along with the tissue paper flower below.

I don't think nice to her I am always, but I'm glad she thinks so.

Spencer wrote me two poems.  The first was meant to be funny, and the second heart-felt.  Notice how the first letters spell my name.  Not pictured is the cute painted flowers bordering the poem.

Chloe gave me a card, a Godiva chocolate bar, nice soaps and body butter from the Body Shop.   She knows me well.

If I had known I would be a hand model, I would have done my nails.

Coming up next: Furniture-painting project.

Monday, May 07, 2012

The May Update

Now that everyone has sufficiently admired Chloe’s room, I can blog again.  I didn’t really mean to disappear so abruptly after a month’s worth of (almost) daily posts, but I obviously have no trouble breaking habits.  And now that I haven’t blogged for a week, I don’t even know what to write.  Nothing too exciting is going on over here these days … just normal life, which is nothing to complain about.  We had a really nice weekend … got together with friends Friday night, went to Neve’s gymnastics show Saturday, and the museum on Sunday.  Besides that, we took it easy and spent time outside.  We went for a bike ride to the park and Sargent Sundae, which worked out very well.  Neve is now riding Spencer’s old bike, which is much bigger than her previous one and made the ride go a lot faster than last year.  She hasn’t mastered the hand brakes though, so that adds an element of fear and stress to the experience.  A couple of times, when she had to make a sharp turn, she came very, very close to hitting a tree or other stationary object because she couldn’t slow down.  After one particularly close call, she said, “WOW!  Jesus just saved my life!”  I felt the same way.  He was probably very relieved when we made it home.

Neve on the balance beam

Just as Neve’s gymnastics class is winding down, other activities are ramping up.  Soccer started last week for Neve, and she’s enjoying it so far.  The coach seems great and four of Neve’s friends are on the same team, so it should be a good year.  At least the social part will be; whether they play well is secondary.

Neve and her beloved friend Tegan after their gymnastics show

Spencer and Chloe are doing running club after school two days a week, and Spencer starts basketball after school tomorrow.  His fencing goes into June, so he’ll be getting his share of physical exercise in the next two months.  Oh, and he also goes for a run with Dale sometimes to get in shape for the marathon Super Run (2.6 miles).

Chloe and I continue to run a few times a week in preparation for our half marathon in June.  We’re actually ahead of schedule in our training. I had padded the schedule in case of sickness, injury, or being too busy to run, but we’ve stuck to it pretty closely.  I’ve decided to do fewer long runs than I originally planned because I really don’t want Chloe to overtrain and get an injury.  We ran 12 miles last weekend and it went much better than anticipated, so besides one 13-miler, I think we’ll keep our weekend runs in the five to ten mile range from now on.  Chloe’s been doing great; mark your calendars for Father’s Day to come out and cheer for her.  If you’re there anyway, you may as well call out something encouraging to me too, preferably about how I’m almost at the finish line or about how good I look with a bright red sweaty face.  I hope no one yells, “MOVE OVER, the full marathoners are coming through!”  That could totally happen, but I wish it wouldn’t.

Dandelion season is in full swing and Neve couldn’t be happier.  Well, she’d be even happier if less people used herbicides.  She spent ten minutes after school picking the dandelions from a neighbour’s lawn.  She would’ve got back for more if I’d let her.