Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mulchilicious

 

I’m obsessed with outside right now. I love the weather, the lilacs, the blossoms, and all my plants. Everything is fresh and green; it’s a whole new world out there. We eat all our meals outside, do work and homework on the deck, and spend every possible second not inside the house. Neve runs around outside with the neighbour kids every evening, biking and scootering and trampolining. Chloe and Spencer are at an age where they don’t really “play” outside anymore, but they go for bike rides (to the library usually) or walk to 7-11. I’ve been planting flowers and weeding and tidying up the flower beds. Last Saturday we spread 3 yards of mulch around the yard, which I was pretty excited about. It looks very mulchy right now but it makes the yard - especially under the front trees - look a lot neater. I’ve bought a bunch of flowers already, but still need some more for my window boxes. I’m going with an all-white theme in the window boxes this year. It may look really boring but I’m going to find out.
 
After spreading mulch
 
One of my new favourite plants - the flowers feel like paper.
 
Other than that, the only thing I’ve been doing is going to all the end-of-year school stuff – choir performances, band concert, special assemblies, etc. I volunteered for an all-day field trip to the U of M with Neve’s class last Friday. It had its fun moments, but it pounded home the fact that I am not teacher material. The U of M leader assigned to our group thought I was a teacher until near the end of the day (as I was physically holding the door of the racquetball court shut so the whiny kids couldn’t get out). I think he was pretty relieved to find out I was just a parent, not someone responsible for guiding and nurturing a whole class of precious souls. There are approximately 84 more school events that I have yet to attend before the end of June. And let’s talk about the last day of school: June 30!! Seriously? What life-changing school lessons will they be taught on the 29th and 30th? Surely we can finish things off on Friday, the 26th and call it a year. I need to write a letter to someone. But I won’t.
 
I just finished the book Hope about the girls in Cleveland that were abducted and held for a decade. Parts of it were tough to read (emotionally) but I figured if the girls wanted to share their story, the least I can do is read it. I thought they did a great job of telling their story but it’s still impossible to fathom what they went through and how they survived ten years of hell. It was definitely a story that will stay with me. And now I’m scrutinizing all my friends and neighbours’ houses so if I see you have a padlock on your basement door, you better have a solid reason.
 
After that I needed a lighter read, so I’ve just started The Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. It’s definitely not as riveting as Hope but the title says it’s life-changing so I’m giving it a chance. The only problem is that it means I have to spend time inside getting organized so I’ll have to wait for a rainy day to change my life.
 

My mom, sister and I went for pedicures today. It was one of those places where professionalism isn’t their highest priority. When customers walked in the door, the staff didn’t get up; they just called from wherever they were, “We’re busy now; you have to wait!” (“But I had an appointment ….”  “Oh okay, I take you now.”). Eyebrow threading is done in the main room while everyone in the pedicure chairs watch. My mom’s lady was checking her cell phone during the pedicure. But their hearing skills were excellent. After we were all done, we were left abandoned for a long time without a word and one of us wondered aloud, “How long are we supposed to sit here.” One of the workers was sitting 15 feet away doing gel nails and she replied, “One more minute.” We laughed among ourselves and whispered about how she could possibly have heard us, and then she said, “I can hear everything!”  

Fire in the backyard with random crazy kids. Dale looks like he's posing for an advertisement. Not sure for what - roasting sticks, maybe?


Neve doing spelling on the deck


 

And finally, one more photo of the mulch ... an aerial view this time. I tried to build a berm on the right but it looks like a grave.

 
PS. The random spacing and fonts on this blog bug me to no end. One day when I have time, I'm going to fix that.
 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May long weekend

We’re just coming off a crazy May long weekend. Not crazy busy or crazy wild, just crazy weather. Friday was lovely – not hot, but nice enough to sit on the deck for happy hour well into the evening – and the rumours of rain, snow and freezing temperatures seemed silly.

Sure enough, Saturday morning dawned sunny and bright and warm(ish). As I mentioned in my last post, Teresa’s family put on a 5K memorial run/walk in her honour and it was a perfect morning for it. Lots of people showed up in support of Teresa, her family and the Rosenort river trail. Teresa would have turned 45 on Saturday; it still feels wrong when her friends and family get together to celebrate and she’s not there. But I guess a person gets used to “wrong,” so it felt a tiny bit less wrong than last year. Or maybe I was just better at pushing away the sad thoughts this year. I still miss her every day and wish we could sit down and have a long visit because there’s so much we need to catch up on. Anyway, it was a lovely morning and her sisters did such a great job of organizing it.  I’m pretty sure Teresa will have loved seeing us all walking on her beloved trail.



Just when we thought the weather predictions were all wrong, the rain started Saturday evening and didn’t stop all day Sunday. Then it got worse and turned into snow. Yeah, snow. That’s what we woke up to on Victoria Day. Luckily it melted pretty quickly and turned into a sunny (but cold) day. Let that be a reminder to all of us never to go camping on May long weekend.


FROM THIS ….


TO THIS!!!

Because of the weather, Sunday and Monday were spent inside. We purged several garbage bags and two totes from Chloe and Neve’s rooms. Chloe’s room in particular was a wasteland of excess clothing, papers, overflowing drawers, momentos, miscellaneous stuff and more stuff. We worked on it for several hours and we could easily spend a couple more. It’s tough to find the time though because once you get going, it’s hard to stop. I bought the book “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” and even though I haven’t started it yet, it’s already changing my way of thinking. She’s all about the purging and keeping only the things that “spark joy.” That’s going to leave me with only my favourite pen, my pink heels, and my grapefruit body lotion. Be that as it may.

We also played games and went bowling, went out for dinner with Blake & Kristin (Marion Street Eatery – so good!) watched TV, slept in, and read. I read one and a half books - What Kind of Mother Are You? (from Dale for Mother’s Day) and The Invention of Wings – and started Hope, which is about the abducted Cleveland girls.


We need a selfie stick. Just kidding, don't buy me one!


The rest of the week/month are going to be a busy blur so this little break made me very happy. Even in spite of the snow.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Catch-up blogging


Random picture from Neve's gymnastics competition last week
I had today blocked off to go to the zoo with Neve’s class but I found out yesterday that they had enough volunteers. This was both good and bad news: good in that I now have a completely free day to do with as I please but bad in most other ways, which I shall list for you.
 
1.       I’ve been to the zoo three times since the new polar bear exhibit opened and I have yet to see those lazy bears swim overhead in that tunnel. I bet today would’ve been the day.
2.       It’s perfect zoo weather – bright and sunny but cool enough that the zoo smells are kept to a minimum.
3.       Now Neve wants me to volunteer for another full-day field trip next week and I can’t say no, even though next week already involves volunteering at the plant sale and attending her class assembly.
4.       I feel overwhelmed when I suddenly have free time and constantly feel like I’m not making the most of it. Plus I way over-estimate what I’m actually capable of and end up doing almost nothing productive. But I’ve already done some work, been for a massage and drafted a resume and cover letter for Chloe (Baby’s first resume!) so I should just celebrate what I’ve done so far. And now I’m blogging, even though I should be running errands or cleaning my house.
 
Before I proceed, let me do a tiny bit more complaining about how busy I am. That’s my favourite. Feel free to skip this paragraph if you want. This week Neve had soccer twice (plus a practice that we missed), a gymnastics windup at Vertical Adventures, and piano. Spencer and Chloe had youth on different nights, Chloe had cheer practice, and I had dragon boat practice. Chloe also had her IB chemistry exam this week and Spencer had a Medieval Feast at school that required a costume and bringing chicken pot pie, sausage, and naan bread. Oh, I also had to provide a veggie tray to Neve’s windup and ice cream sundae toppings for Chloe’s youth night. And I’m sure there’s more that I missed. I don’t think I’m any busier than most moms this time of year; crazy season has begun. Okay, I’m done with the moaning now (I’ve read two back-to-back British books so I’m picking up their slang. Sometimes I didn’t even know what they were saying. Lisa, I need you to translate!).
 
Moving on to several miscellaneous topics, in no particular order.
 
Spencer slaying a dragon
 
 
The Medieval Banquet. This is a big event for Grade 8s at Spencer’s school. They decorate and prepare skits and songs and everyone can invite one guest. Spencer only invited me as a last resort, but I pretended I was still honoured. It was yesterday afternoon and I have to say it was pretty impressive. We were served medieval food (open to interpretation) and the whole gym was dimly lit with candles and decorated with family crests and stone walls and a maypole. All the kids were dressed up in pretty elaborate costumes. Spencer was a nobleman (not so elaborate but we did okay with what we had).
 
Doctor visits. We’re usually a pretty healthy family but I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say we’ve been to the doctor more in the past month or so than in the last five years combined. Neve had a chest infection, followed by an ear infection. Spencer also had a chest infection and Chloe broke her toe, which required two follow-up visits because it was fractured right at the joint and they wanted to make sure it healed properly. I felt bad about that one because I told her there was nothing they would do about a broken toe so it wasn’t worth going to the doctor. But it got pretty swollen and ugly so she ended up taking the bus to Urgent Care one Sunday morning when Dale and I had both vehicles. In my defense, besides checking the x-rays, there’s really nothing they did to fix it.
Great screensaver option - permission granted.
 
And yesterday I had sharp pains in my ear and a very sore neck. I rarely get sick so when I do, I’m pretty sure I have cancer and have six month to live. Usually it’s strep or something minor like that, but when I went yesterday, it was nothing. Everything was fine. Of course I’m glad it was nothing, but not only was I hoping it would be something that could be fixed with antibiotics, I also felt very silly. I pride myself on not going to the doctor unnecessarily so that claim to fame is over now. However, I love my walk-in clinic. We are always in and out of there so fast. When I took Neve to her pediatrician for her chest infection, it was an hour long wait in a loud, chaotic waiting room that made me anxious and claustrophobic. Same thing when we went back two weeks later for the follow-up. So when she got her ear infection, I took her to the walk-in instead. She complained about her ear when she came home for lunch; we got to the walk-in at 12:40 and she was back in school by 1:00. That was a happy ending.
Lexie’s birthday. It was actually a couple of weeks ago that Lexie turned four. Jim and Sabrina had both their families over for cake to celebrate and it was the first family get-together in their new house. In fact, they moved into it only two days earlier and were already unpacked and organized and hosting a party. The main floor is big and open so it’s a perfect party house. I can’t believe Lexie’s already four, but she’s as cute and funny as ever so it’s all good. It was also my oldest brother's birthday, so we added his name to the happy birthday song as well.
 
The Teresa Thiessen 5K Memorial. It’s a little late in the game to be advertising this, but if you are looking for something to do tomorrow morning, or maybe you’ve never been to Rosenort and have always wanted to go, here’s your chance! Teresa’s family is organizing a memorial run to raise money for the river trail in Teresa’s memory. Registration is at 9:00 at the Rosenort Arena, $10 (Kids $5 or free depending on their age). Donations are also accepted. Check out the facebook page for more info.
 
 
 
 
New baby. My nephew and his wife had a baby a couple of weeks ago, so the girls and I went to see her on Monday. She is beautiful and her two older siblings seem pretty crazy about her. Baby Vana didn’t make a peep the whole time we were there; she was so laid back and easygoing despite being passed around.
 
 
 
 
 
So adorable. I wish they lived next door so we could hold her all the time. And play with the older kids. They’re so funny and have such character. Here are a couple of pictures they drew for Chloe and Neve. We admired the multiple layers of stickers on Nixi’s picture.
 
I should have a contest to see if people can guess what Cruz's picture is.
 
 
Once you know, it’s actually pretty obvious. It’s wrestling. I believe it’s wrestlers in a ring. I love it.
 
On that note, I should run and get my errands done before school is out. Happy long weekend, everyone!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The day of the mother

My Mothers Day bouquet
 
So I’m really trying to get back up onto the blogging horse and ride it more often. Awkward analogy there, but time and energy to sit and write just doesn’t happen as often as I wish it would. Thankfully there are always photos to remind me of what I’ve missed. I have pictures from various events over the past few weeks, but in the interest of getting to bed at a reasonable hour, I’ll stick to Mother’s Day for today.
 
The younger the child, the more excited they are for Mother’s Day. Neve still falls into this category, but I’m already mourning the time when she will no longer make me cards and presents at school and hide them in her backpack on Friday and be so excited that she can hardly keep a secret until Sunday morning. This year, she even planned out my morning and wrote me an agenda the day before.
 

Here she is Sunday morning between 9:15 and 9:30. I could get used to that.

 
 
Here we all are at 9:30, shortly before breakfast is served.  I don't normally look this presentable right when I wake up. The massage must have made me glow. I'm pretty crazy about these kids. Makes those three C-sections well Worth It.

 
Dale made me crepes with strawberries, bananas, ice cream and chocolate sauce. I got presents from Dale and the children. I got all kinds of Body Shop goodies and candles, a book and a bag. Chloe is my shopper girl; she always knows what I like. The cards were awesome too. This is Neve's:
 
 
You heard it here first. You may notice on the checklist that the only quality that I don't have is bravery. But I'm crafty and wise, so I can't complain. She also drew a lovely picture inside and wrote me a long note (part of which I instagrammed yesterday).
 
Chloe also made me a beautiful card - totally pinterest-worthy with a sweet message. Spencer ... well, let's just say card-making isn't his thing. He asked me the night before if he had to make me a card. I told him he could just tell me nice things in person instead, so that sealed his decision. Inside his card it said, "I love you so much I made you a card. - Spencer." 



This is us later when we're dressed (Spencer was already dressed in the bed photo because he always puts on a clean shirt after his evening shower and saves himself five seconds in the morning.) It's tricky to get everyone smiling at the same time, but the children were all so cooperative on Mother's Day. I must use that to my advantage in the future.

 
 
Dale's mom and nephews came over for brunch after church. We played Rook because that's what Dale and my nephews love to do, Mother's Day be damned! Chloe kindly agreed to be the fourth player so Dale's mom watched and I read the newspaper. Later, they all posed nicely for a photo with their awesome, sweet grandma.



Then we went to my parents' for dinner. More posed photographs were taken. Here's me and my mom and sisters. My mom is pretty amazing. She is hard-working, resourceful, funny and good at everything.


Then we lined up the children with their beloved grandma. The cheerful cooperation continues! I guess Jordan had gone home by then; maybe I'll photoshop him in from the Easter pics except I think he had grass in his beard in those pictures.



So it was a busy day but it was a lot of fun. I'm at the age where a lot of my friends have experienced the loss of a mother (or father), or are caring for parents with health struggles. I feel so fortunate to have both a healthy mother and mother-in-law and that my children have grandparents in their lives that love and care about them so much.