Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fifteen

We’ve had a whirlwind few days with lots going on.  Chloe’s birthday was on Sunday, but since we had an early Easter at Dale’s mom’s that day, the birthday celebrations started on Saturday already.  The international student that lives with my sister stayed at our house Friday night, and on Saturday morning, I took her, Chloe and Neve to get pedicures at Tiber River.  In the afternoon, Chloe went for a massage, and later we had planned to go to the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner, but there was a two-hour wait for a table.  So we had pizza and cupcakes at home instead, then had a family movie night with Monsters Inc.  We had two little overnight guests (their mom was in the hospital having a baby … long story that I won’t get into).  They were so cute and good and we had a lot of fun with them.  We gave Chloe a camera for her birthday, which I’m hoping she is using a lot in …. Florida!


 


 


She’s had a plan for a couple of years already – flying to Miami during spring break to surprise her cousin, Sarah.  Things fell into place this year – 15 years old is the cut-off for not having to pay an “unaccompanied minor” fee and for the first time I can remember, both girls had spring break the same week.  Chloe saved her babysitting money and bought a plane ticket back in November.  We knew there was a good chance Sarah would find out about it, since everyone knew about it but her.  I don’t know how her parents managed to not let it slip out!  Chloe left Winnipeg around 3:00 pm on Monday and arrived in Miami at 11:30 pm their time.  Sarah’s parents got her to the airport under the guise of meeting an uncle who had a short stopover, but then Chloe appeared instead.  The surprise was a huge success and the girls are having a great time.  We’ve been face-timing with her and it’s surreal to see her surrounded by palm trees and tropical plants while we’re stuck in the middle of winter.

 
It may not be Miami, but the kids and I, along with Kristin and her kids, are hanging out at my parents’ house for a few days.  My parents are still in Florida (on their way home, actually) so we have the place to ourselves.  It’s been very relaxing, although I’ve been working more than I had hoped to.  The kids have been playing outside a lot - I love it.  The hoar frost was beautiful this morning, but I wish I was rather seeing buds and grass. 
 






Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Day of Spring?

I couldn’t bring myself to blog earlier this week.  The saying “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” kept coming to mind.  Waking up to lots of new snow Monday morning messed with my head and made me feel angry and sad and hopeless.  After getting the kids to school, I drove straight to the shoe store and bought myself some heavy duty winter boots.  I’ve gone through three pairs of boots this year (two hand-me-down pairs that fell apart and one ridiculously impractical pair that gets sopping wet when they come in contact with snow).  So I figured if winter isn’t ever going to end, I have to get serious.  I bought ugly practical warm boots that I’ve been wearing ever since.  (I also bought a pair of high heeled burgundy suede/faux crocodile skin boots, to balance the function with fashion).  Anyway, after my new purchases, followed by a visit to Kristin’s which always cheers me up, I felt a little better.  Reading an article in the newspaper about a healthy 10 year old girl who passed away unexpectedly after minor surgery also helped put things in perspective.  Many, many people would be ecstatic if their only complaint was a bit of snow that will melt in a few weeks.  So I will shut up and suck it up.

Well I won’t completely shut up.  All the comparisons between this year and last year are getting tedious, but seriously!  This was last year:

  


This is this year:


I do take some comfort in this blog entry from last year.  Things can change quickly.  Right??  Lie to me and tell me it’s true.  But right now it’s COLD outside.  I went to donate blood yesterday and I was almost turned away because my temperature was too low.  I’ve never even heard of that.  They made me wait for 15 minutes and then they took my temperature again.  It had risen to exactly the cut-off point, so fortunately I was then able to donate my cold blood.

Neve had crazy hair day at school yesterday.  I love crazy hair day.  One year, I made a nest on the top of Chloe’s head with her hair and stuck a little Tweety bird in it.  This is what we did this year:


After school, Neve complained about all the attention she got, but I know she loved it.  I doubt the teacher loved it as much as Neve did; Neve’s braids (with a hard wire in the middle) kept hitting people in the head and she and her friend Zoe, who had lots of little ponytails, kept getting stuck together and the teacher had to untangle them twice.

Monday, March 11, 2013

More birthdays

Counting the candles?  Pointing at the amazing Marble Slab ice cream cake?  About to extinguish the flame with his fingers?

 
Today is my little brother's birthday, so I'll give him top billing on the blog (best present ever!).  We were at Jim & Sabrina’s last night celebrating birthdays, both his and Bella’s (she turned 5 last Wednesday).  It was a very fun night with lots of family, lots of kids, and lots of food. 

My niece and my great-niece (who turned 1 on Thursday and had a fabulous party herself) - love this!

 My niece Lexie is usually happy and good natured, but she was feeling a little under the weather and wasn’t quite her usual self. My sister made Bella a hat for her birthday; here’s Lexie expressing her envy with an outstretched hand. 




Now for those of you who have been on the edge of your seat wondering if I would follow through on cleaning up my pile o’ stuff* in the corner of my study, you can exhale.  Remember the "before?"
 
 
 
And now ... the pile is gone!  It's like magic!  Or is it?  Maybe I just moved it out of the lens' reach.
 
 
 
 
Okay, it's mostly gone.  All that remains is a basket of books that were left from last summer’s yard sale.  I love books and my kids love books, but our shelves are overflowing.  I kept trying to convince Spencer to read some of them, but if they aren’t by Tolkien or Rick Riordan or the person who writes Big Nate books, he’s not interested.  So I will box them up tomorrow (or the next day, or next week ....) and put them away for the kids to try and sell yet again at our neighbour’s annual spring garage sale. 

 
 
Since I was in the area, I also cleaned off my nearby desk and put a hook on the side to hang my laptop bag.  I thought that would be a better spot for it than on the floor, getting stepped on and collecting dust bunnies.

 
That's probably one of the least dramatic before/after projects ever, but I'm just happy that one little corner of my house is clean; there are many, many more to go. 
 
 







* Fun fact:  Spencer tries to never say or write the word "of," always substituting the o' instead.  I can only imagine how his teacher must enjoy that.
 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Sick Day / The Pile in the Corner



Not too sick to make a marshmallow family


Today is the second day in a row Neve has stayed home sick.  She’s not very sick - just a stuffy nose and a cough that’s making her feel droopy.  Besides having to take her with me to bring Chloe to a doctor’s appointment yesterday, and cancelling a yoga class I was supposed to go to at noon today, it hasn’t really disrupted my plans, so I’ve let her stay home.  It’s wearing on me though; Neve isn’t sick enough to be in bed so she’s constantly buzzing around me while I try to work.  Yesterday she stood beside me at my desk playing on her iPod, pressed against my left arm.  I have some personal-space-infringement issues at best and believe me, this wasn’t at best.  Today she made me sit with her and look through every special-effects Photobooth picture ever taken on the Mac and listen while she described each photo as if I were sight impaired.  “This is me.  I’m wearing the same pyjamas I am now!  My forehead is all big and my eyes are bulged out and my chin is tiny and pointy!”   There are a lot of pictures.  Sometimes there are four frames in a single picture, which each merit a separate description even though they are almost identical.  It took every ounce of self control not to jump up, open the patio door, and hurl the computer into a snowbank.  Instead I told her that she needed to go read or watch TV in a different room or I would take her to school.
 
She will go to school tomorrow.

On Friday, Dale and I went to the Chamber gala dinner.  It’s a big, fancy affair that celebrates innovation in local business and we’d all been working on it for a long time.  It was a really nice night and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

All the invisible guests enjoying their invisible dinner


All dressed up with work friends
 
With that out of the way, I’m feeling less frenzied these days, so I’ve been trying to do some cleaning and organizing.  Some excellent progress was made on Saturday in both my bedroom and Chloe’s room.  Chloe refused to let me take a before picture of her closet, which is too bad because it would have been the most dramatic before/after pictures EVER.  It would have been one of those things that would have gone viral on Facebook and we would have been invited to do the talk show circuit.  But instead, Facebook continues to be inundated with silly things like “Name a game that doesn’t have the letter A in it.”  I’d love to know who starts things like that and why.  Even though I try to ignore them, I can’t help thinking about it; if nothing else, just to prove how stupid it is.  It took me about half a second to come up with “Connect 4.”
 
 
Anyway, the floor is now visible in Chloe’s closet and the dresser surface has reappeared in my room, so I’m moving on to new projects.  Many spaces in this house could use some purging and organizing and it’s slightly overwhelming.  I’ve decided to focus on one room at a time, starting with the study/office.  Make that one corner of one room at a time...there’s a pile in one corner of the study that has been there since summer.  It’s not a huge pile, but I’ve given myself a week to clean it up.  It’s something Shannon could probably do in 30 minutes, but the problem is that none of these items have a place where they belong so I have to give it some thought.  Or I could throw it all into the closet and worry about it another day.  I thought maybe if I blogged about it, the accountability would spur me on.  Your job is to pretend you care about a pile of stuff in the corner of my study.
 
 

Well, I better go; I had a few free minutes while Neve was playing Barbies, but now she wants me to play a game with her that she just invented.  It’s apparently a balloon game, like “don’t let it touch the floor” except the opposite because they’re helium balloons.  I can't wait until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.