Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Day 20

There's not much to report these past two days. Work was both productive and sociable today. I went for a nice lunch with a co-worker and we solved the world's problems. I came home to Chloe making a lovely dinner of pancakes. We used to have pancakes for dinner regularly, but we've become more adult in our meal planning so now they usually just happen on the weekend. They were delicious; I had a plain one for my main course, followed by a blueberry one for dessert. Actually that's not true - I ate them in the opposite order. Things are going crazy over here.

We recently assigned dinner clean-up duties to each kid one day of the week (everyone is supposed to chip in on the four days). It's working reasonably well so far, except that we keep forgetting who's assigned to what day. We basically have to renegotiate the list every night. But once we get in the swing of things, it's going to be awesome. It's a treat to just skip out of the kitchen/dining room right after eating. The children are not as pleased about this as I am.

Spencer is now done three out of five exams. His spirit lifts after each exam so he should be flying by Thursday at noon. He already has wild post-exam plans which involve - wait for it - reading.

Speaking of reading, I'm about to tuck myself in bed and do the same. I signed up for a 6 a.m. yoga class tomorrow which is going to seem like a terrible idea when my alarm rings at 5:20.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Day 19

It was such a good weekend that I didn't get around to posting yesterday. It was my favourite kind of weekend; time with friends, time with family, and time at home.

Friday night I went out for dinner with friends. The four of us have been friends ever since our oldest kids were in Nursery. We get together one evening a month; this time was special since we were celebrating someone's 50th birthday. It was a fun night to say the least; we were together for seven hours and even then we only went home because the restaurant shut down and the employees had their coats on waiting for us to leave. I haven't laughed that hard in a long, long time.

Neve didn't have gymnastics on Saturday, so it was a rare day of not having to watch the clock to drive her to and from (twice) the community centre. I went to yoga. Spencer had an improv show in the afternoon so we all went to watch that. Having to perform improv would be a nightmare for me so I always have a knot in my stomach when I watch, but the kids have a lot of fun. Spencer loves it.



Afterward I met a friend I hadn't seen for ages for a quick tea at Starbucks before Dale and I headed out for dinner. We went to a Palestinian restaurant way up Main Street called Baraka. It's just a little, very casual kind of place but the food was delicious.

Then we went home and watched Mockingjay (part one of two) with the girls. Spencer has been busy studying all weekend. At least he says he's studying. He's got exams this week and stress levels are high.

Today we went to church, went to yoga, did some cleaning and cooking, and then went to Assiniboine Park for some sliding and skating. Bob & Jan and Tia and Jim & the girls met us there (Sabrina came later). After some good fresh air, we came to our house for dinner. Then we humoured Jim and listened to him talk about Mexico.





So there you have it; every detail of my weekend. Lots of highs.

Lows: Trump's new travel ban for immigrants makes me sad. The shooting in the mosque in Quebec makes me sad. A lot of people had horrible, traumatic weekends. I'm very, very thankful and grateful for my happy peaceful one.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Day 18

I did a few more photo shoots for the Chamber awards today. One was at the Human Rights Museum, which is always amazing to see. I went before the museum opened and had the place to myself.
 

 

 
 
Another great place I went to is a store I hope none of us ever have to go. It's called The Unexpected Gift, and it's a shop geared towards people (mostly women) with cancer. They sell bras for women who've had a mastectomy, wigs, hair scarves, organic lotions and makeup, resource books, etc. They also have a massage therapist who is sensitive toward mastectomy and other issues and an esthetician who does gentle manicures/pedicures to reduce the risk of infection. It's been open for only about a year and a half; the owner is a breast cancer survivor who wanted to make things easier for other people who get a cancer diagnosis. It's a beautiful store and the owner is so warm and lovely. Like I said, I hope no one ever needs it but chances are high that someone we know will.
 


As much as I like doing these photo shoots, I wasn't sad when my afternoon appointment cancelled; suddenly I had the whole afternoon to myself. I got some work done that I otherwise would have had to do on the weekend and had snickerdoodles (cookies) ready for when the kids came home from school.

And now I'm off to meet friends for dinner; my good day continues.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Day 17

 
That's one of my highs right there. I've been trying to eat healthy this week; mostly fruits and vegetables and scrimping on the carbs. It's not hard when I make myself a yummy spinach/feta/tomato/roasted carrot salad. It's good to prove to myself every once in a while that I don't die if I don't eat chocolate every day.
 
Another high was meeting a friend for lunch. We went out for ramen noodle soup, which is not so light on carbs but my bowl was largely broth and vegetables and so delicious.
 
Low: Spencer often runs away when I try to talk to him. I don't think that's entirely normal at his age but it is what it is. So I started chasing him, which he hates but is kind of exciting and as he's running, he accidentally swept my old phone off the counter and it landed facedown on the floor. Sure enough, the screen was cracked and the touchscreen no longer works. The only way it works is if you can tell Siri to do something (ie. play music). Like I said, it's my old phone that no longer has a plan but I used it for running, with my Runkeeper app and playlists. So that makes me sad.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Day 16

A sign at Neve's school. One of the classes is holding elections for class president. I'd vote for her/him.

I went to hot yoga again today. It was lovely but there were a few things I'd forgotten since my last yoga session:

1) some people are annoying. Yeah, I'm looking at you, naked-from-the-waist-up chubby dude who was dripping sweat like a leaky faucet 30 seconds in. You too, excessively loud breather. And you, person who wears way too many clothes and makes me hotter just looking at her. I need to work on the peace and calm and acceptance part of yoga. Any tips, Siobhan?

2) the smell. There was an unpleasant aroma of hot, stale salt & vinegar chips lingering in the air in today's class. Super gross and annoying but in the end I realized it might have been me.

3) the increase in laundry. I don't have a large workout wardrobe so I'll be washing my stuff every other day. I guess that's just as well since those sweaty clothes shouldn't be sitting in the laundry basket too long anyway.

Despite that, yoga is still my high.

My low: I had finally convinced Spencer to apply for the same Churchill summer research trip that Chloe did a few years ago. But when he came home with the application form, it turns out they jacked up the price a LOT. It was basically free when Chloe did it, and it was such a great experience. So now we need to re-assess. All that convincing for nothing.

The other low - well, "low" is too strong of a word - is our summer planning indecision. I've been thinking we should get a pop-up tent trailer and go camping, but I'm not sure that it's a smart purchase. Chloe and Spencer aren't very interested at this stage in their lives; I guess we missed the boat on that. If we don't buy the trailer this year, we'd like to go on a road trip and/or rent a cabin. But I still think the pop-up trailer would be fun and if we're ever going to buy one, now would be the time. We can't seem to make a decision and I know it's only January but vacation time and cabins need to be booked now. I want to do it all.

Yes, I know - first world problems. I am very, very grateful that my lows are so high.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Day 15

After a couple of weeks of restlessness, boredom and cabin fever, I finally got motivated enough to sign up for a month of yoga. I did my first class of hot yoga today (not first time ever, just first time recently) and it was exactly what I needed. Thermea yesterday, hot yoga today ... Relaxation is my middle name. My goal is to go six days a week, while still doing cardio workouts as well. We'll see how that goes.

That was my high. My low ... I don't know. I got a lot done at work today but it was kind of a meh day socially. I like to stock up on social interaction on the day I go into the office since I don't get a lot of it during the week. For some reason that didn't happen. Probably because I got a lot of work done. :)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Day 14


Today's highlight: Thermea spa.

Need I say more? No, but I will anyway.

I was there all afternoon with Dale's mom, sister, sister-in-law, and Chloe. The picture doesn't do it justice. I had to try and sneak it in since no cell phones are allowed. For photos that are just a tiny bit more appealing and attractive, check out their website.

We circulated through all the pools, steam rooms, saunas, and relaxation areas. The weather was mild and beautiful - couldn't have asked for a better winter spa day. We were all pretty relaxed and calm by the end. Also hungry. Chloe hadn't eaten all day so her and I stopped for fries after. It was a good day.

I know this is short but I'm so relaxed I just want to go read in bed.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Day 13

I didn't even think of blogging yesterday until I was about to go to bed at midnight. I guess twelve days wasn't enough to form a habit.

To sum up the past two days in three words: gymnastics / Dale's family.

Dale's sister is here from Miami for the weekend. Trump's inauguration happened to be this weekend ... coincidence? It's hard to handle for us Canadians, never mind for Americans. That wasn't actually the reason for her visit but whatever the case, it's always nice to have her around. She and Dale's mom came for dinner yesterday. We did our homemade pizzas again. We're still learning as we go. Our smoke detector went off every single time we opened the oven, which made me mad since I'd just cleaned the oven after Christmas but somehow there's already something charred on the bottom. I barely use the oven except to bake cookies so I don't know how it got there.

Chloe was in charge of dessert so she found a recipe on Pinterest and made a delicious chocolate cheesecake. It was amazing. It's hard to go wrong when you've got cream cheese, chocolate, and sweetened condensed milk, but still - she hit this one out of the park.


On Friday night, Neve and I went to watch a friend compete at a gymnastics competition. On Saturday (as usual), Neve did her junior coaching for 1.5 hours in the morning, followed by her 3.5 hour class in the afternoon. Today was her turn to compete in the gymnastics competition. So yeah, a lot of gymnastics this weekend.

She had a lot of fun at this competition; she had a big cheering squad of parents and siblings, aunties and grandma and cousin and neighbours. She did really well and ended up with the gold medal in her group. She was floating the rest of the day.

Instead of the black fencing-mask ovals, I went a less creepy route and blurred out the other participants.

Straight from the competition, we went to Dale's mom's and had dinner with the family. We had a really nice time eating and talking and playing Donkey/ping pong.

Auntie Jeannie!

I also have to say how amazing the weather was this weekend. It's been so mild that it's been raining. In Winnipeg. In January. We're setting records for the most hours in January with above-zero temperatures. Last week it was too cold to bear; this weekend we're wearing light jackets and no gloves. It's a crazy world. Siobhan and Jean both picked a very good weekend to come visit. I applaud their excellent judgement.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Day 12


It's after midnight so I have to be quick. If I post before 12:20 a.m., it still counts for the previous day. And yes, I can make up rules as I go.

I spent a fun afternoon with Siobhan and Sheri-Lee ... we talked, we ate, we laughed. Siobhan is in town for a few days to promote her yoga teacher training class in Winnipeg this spring (she's awesome at what she does; tell your friends!). I'm so happy she squeezed in a visit even though she's got lots of family and friends to see while she's here.

So that was my high. I don't really have a low. I guess it's that Jim and Sabrina are in Mexico now and I'm not. I can't believe Jim hasn't taunted us with instagram pictures yet.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Day 11

Eleven days down and I haven't missed a day yet. Yay, me.

My highlight today was going to MTC with Spencer to see Million Dollar Quartet. It was energetic and fun and we both really enjoyed it. There wasn't much of a storyline; it was all about the music. The theatre was packed and had a good vibe going on. We were in the second row right by the piano and - WOW - the Jerry Lee Lewis dude could play! Super fun to watch him. At first I didn't believe he was actually playing because it was so good, but he really was. It made me want to play like him but a million years of practicing wouldn't get me the same results. And no one wants to hear me practice for a million years.

As for today's low ... it was a good day so I'm digging deep. After I do the laundry, I dump all the clean stuff on my bed and make the kids fold and put away their clothes. Despite mentioning it to them TWICE, I see not one of them has cleaned up their stuff. That means I'll throw it all back into the basket and bring it upstairs for them to dig through themselves. That'll show them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Day 10

 
 

I finished my Pop Tarts puzzle today. That's pretty exciting, especially since there was one piece missing and I couldn't find it for two days. I had promised the girls I'd buy pop tarts once the puzzle was complete so they were pretty happy when I found the last piece. I've never had a pop tart before so breakfast tomorrow is going to be awesome.

Hilarious times at Safeway

Dale and I went to Neve's "share fair" at school tonight where we saw some projects the kids had been working on. Neve has such a great teacher but sadly she's been covering a maternity leave and this is her last week before the regular teacher returns. The regular teacher is great as well, but we're used to this one now and she has so many awesome ideas and makes things really fun.
 
As for a low, I guess it would be my disjointed work day. I'm working on a bunch of different things and am finding it hard to focus on just one thing at a time.
 
This has nothing to do with anything, but I'll leave you with an interesting story I came across today about a woman who had two near-death experiences in one day (in 1945), including an elevator fall in the Empire State Building. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Day 9

Today's high and low is the same thing. Ooh, I should've made this into a riddle.
 
After Christmas, I mentioned that the best gift I received was this book:
 
 
The children bought Dale and I each one and wrote us twelve amazing letters each. There's a "do not read until" date for each letter; the kids spread out the dates for us to read one every other day. I cannot stress enough how much I love this gift. The letters are meaningful and beautiful and every moment of self-doubt as a parent was erased by this book. I feel invincible. I will never second-guess myself again. I am perfect. I should write a parenting book! And teach a class! Too bad Oprah's show is done because surely I could be a star guest for mastering this parenting thing.
 
Or maybe the children happened to write those letters on exceptionally good days with thoughts of their upcoming Christmas gifts dancing in their head. I won't go looking for a book deal just yet.
 
Whatever the case, to children of any age: save your money on the big gifts no parent needs and buy this book instead. If writing the letters seems daunting, maybe you could hire my kids to do it. They are good.
 
So my high was reading the letters every other day since Christmas.
 
My low is that I'm all done now.
 
But now I can read them again and again until I explode with joy over my awesomeness and success as a mother.
 
I shouldn't even say that as a joke. Just watch - now one of my kids will take a wrong path and things will go bad. But at least I'll have my letters.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Day 8

Today was "Blue Monday," supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Whoever thought of that is pretty clever ... it's a whole new marketing opportunity. I saw a Cineplex ad today for a Blue Monday movie deal. However, I was in decent spirits today and didn't feel the need for a cheap movie. I spent my evening ... wait for it ... working on my Pop Tarts puzzle and watching Gilmore Girls! Crazy, I know. I was out and about all day today though, so I earned it.

I spent the day going to different businesses that were nominated for the Chamber business awards and taking pictures to use for promotional purposes. I do this almost every year and it's pretty cool to get a behind-the-scenes look at places. One interesting place I went to today was Mother Earth Recycling. They recycle things like electronics and mattresses. I watched them de-construct a mattress; they recycle almost every part of it. Apparently Winnipeg sends 300,000-400,000 mattresses to the landfill every year and this company is trying to get people to bring them here instead. People are resistant because there's a cost of $15 to bring your mattress to them, as opposed to $10 at the landfill. Knowing your mattress parts are being recycled is surely worth $5. Now I want a new bed just so I can recycle my old one. Oh, and because we've had our bed since 1995. Not even joking. We got our money's worth. It's time.

Anyway, it was a fun day of talking to people and touring places and snapping pics (a small sampling below). I went into the office for a while between appointments, so the whole day was a high point.





My low: Besides walking around, I did no physical activity today. My day is a hundred times better when I exercise. Well, a hundred times is a lot. Maybe 50 times better. Still a lot.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Day 7



I'm happy to report today was a much better day than yesterday.

Things that made it better:
  • no Superstore
  • no cooking
  • my printer is working (after cleaning the print head and much prayer)
  • I did everything on my weekend to-do list (it wasn't overly ambitious but still felt productive)
Highs: Neve recently read The Hunger Games series, so today we watched the first movie. She had already watched the trailers and other clips on YouTube, but I didn't realize that she had basically seen the whole movie in little bits and pieces. She had even memorized some parts and recited them word-for-word during the movie. That got a bit tiresome but she was delighted.

Dale and I went to the Forks tonight and went for a long walk on the river. I wanted to skate but walking is just so much more comfortable. The temperature is heading in the right direction, making it almost enjoyable to be outside. Afterward I had a giant bowl of pho from the snazzy new-ish food court at the Forks, which is a pretty happening place on a Sunday night.

Bella and Lexie hung out with us all morning. Lexie asked if we were having chocolate cake for breakfast. I think she thought it was Valentine's Day. Instead I made scones, which is basically like chocolate cake except white. We also gave the girls a fair amount of hot chocolate. I discovered another error Superstore made with my order, but this time it was a good surprise. For some time, Neve had been asking for whipped cream in a spray can to put on hot chocolate. Dale refuses to buy it so I added it to my online order to score some good Mom points. Turns out Superstore gave me two cans of it and only charged me for one. Anyway, much whipped cream was added to everyone's hot chocolate these past two days.

Jim and Sabrina came to pick the girls up after lunch and hung out for a bit. I've been so hibernate-y lately that it's good for me to see people.

Lows: Feeling like the weekend wasn't quite long enough. That's nothing new, but unlike most Mondays, I have to leave the house for work tomorrow and I don't feel prepared.

I love reading your highs & lows, so keep them coming. Additional contributors always welcome!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Day 6

 
My day started with a lot of lows but ended on a better note. The photo above was my view for 40 minutes today (hence the time to take photos and play around with my Prism app). This was at Superstore, where I am supposed to park and call the number on the sign and the groceries I ordered online last night will magically be brought to my vehicle, eliminating the need to get out of my van or go into Stupidstore.
 
However, this did not happen. I parked and called, then waited about 15 minutes. I called again. They said, "Sorry, we have to get a few more things. We will come in 10 minutes."
 
I got out and ran into the store, where I bought a couple of things I had forgotten to add to the list. I got back to my van, waited another 10 minutes. I called again. I waited another 10 minutes and then FINALLY my groceries came.
 
I was very unhappy when they finally arrived. It wasn't a large order and I could easily have shopped and completed my order in less time than it took them. They were apologetic and gave me a $10 gift card.
 
I realize this is a first-world problem. I know it's silly and such a tiny deal in the big picture of things. But try as I might to put the situation into perspective, I couldn't. I had a long list of things I had wanted to achieve that morning and was so frustrated that I seriously had to fight back tears on the drive home. Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's my lack of stimulation and fresh air lately, maybe it was just a bad day. Whatever the case, I just couldn't talk myself down.
 
Things got worse when I got home I realized two items were missing from the order, but I had been charged for them. When I called them, they said, "Oh. No problem, you can come back and we'll give them to you."  No problem? NO PROBLEM?? Yeah, it's a problem. Let me do the math.
 
20 minutes: making my order last night
10 minutes: driving to Superstore (the Superstore closest to us doesn't do the grocery pickup service, so I have to drive to a further one)
40 minutes: waiting
10 minutes: driving home
 
10 minutes: driving back to Superstore
15 minutes: getting my missing groceries and clearing things up
10 minutes: driving back home
Grand total: 1 hour and 55 minutes. It would have taken 45 minutes in total if I had shopped myself at our local Superstore.
 
I didn't actually go back to Superstore today because I couldn't handle it. I told them I'd come another day and that I wanted my $5 service fee refunded. I guess they could tell I was about to lose it because they very quickly agreed. But I needed one of the ingredients for today so I had to make an extra trip to Safeway.
 
This is the third time we've used the service, and the other two times were fairly smooth. My neighbor uses it often - she has had a couple of bad experiences but mostly likes it. My sister uses it at a different Superstore and has been very happy. But I'm done. Dale is usually the one to do the grocery shopping anyway and he prefers to go in person. I kept encouraging him to do the Click & Collect because it was "so easy." Now he feels very vindicated by my experience.
 
Next, I installed the printer cartridges I bought the other day. All good; my printer shows that all the ink is replenished and ready to go. Except when I tried to print something, it says "Ink System Failure" and tells me to turn the printer off and back on. I tried that about five times, including unplugging the power cord and waiting in between. Nothing worked. I googled it but so far haven't found a solution. The next thing I'm going to try is cleaning the print head; I ran out of patience today but will try that tomorrow.
 
Earlier this week, someone told us about an open house at an aerial dance studio that Chloe and I were interested in checking out. My mood was terrible by now and I really didn't feel like it but Chloe really wanted to go. So we drove 15 minutes to the dance studio, where we encountered two problems. I thought "open house" meant a come and go thing, but no. It was an actual class that had started ten minutes before we arrived. I had also forgotten that there was a $10 cost, but luckily I had my bank card. Unluckily, they only accepted cash or cheques. Chloe had $10 on her, but they wouldn't let me in the class without paying. They said I could watch.
 
So Chloe stayed and I left. I went to Safeway to get the missing grocery items, then went home for literally five minutes before I realized it was time to get Chloe. I zipped back over there and watched the last few minutes of the class. It really did look cool. After the class, some teachers/experienced aerial people did a demonstration which was pretty impressive.


But even more impressive was this:

 
This guy and girl were working on some acrobatic moves and it was crazy! They were so strong and muscular and the girl had incredible core control. Sign me up for that!
 
Then we rushed home where I cooked for two hours. Dale's mom came for dinner and Bella and Lexie came for night. After dinner, I sat and worked on my puzzle and regained some perspective on life. I read the girls a bunch of picture books before bed, which was also nice. I miss reading to my kids.
 


And that was my Saturday. Tomorrow is a new day.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Day 5

I forgot about my daily blog post until now (11:26 p.m.). I need to prepare a few extra posts to have on hand for days like this.

The high point of my day was any time that I was inside. It was another cold, cold day. I met a friend for a nice hot vanilla latte at Starbucks which was kind of cozy. When Neve came home for lunch, we snuggled on the couch with blankets and read. I finished a book I got from Darla called Big Little Lies. I loved it and would definitely recommend it. The neighbours came for Happy Hour, I worked on my puzzle, and of course the girls and I ended the day with a couple of Gilmore Girls episodes. Anyone tired of hearing me talk about that show yet?

The low point was doing work on my day off. I spent a fair amount of time on the phone and computer this afternoon and it made me unhappy and resentful.

That's all I've got for today. I promise I will try and rustle up some more interesting things to write about in the next 25 days.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Day 4

 


It was a freezing, snowy, blustery, icy, bitterly cold day out there today. And did I mention cold?? The blowing snow was at its worst this morning, when there was very little visibility inside the city, never mind outside city limits. There was news of a multi-car pileup somewhere; they didn't know exactly how many cars were involved because they couldn't even count them due to the poor visibility.

The thing I was most thankful for today was the hood of my parka. I was only outside when running to and from vehicle to building, but I still would possibly have frozen to death without it. Chloe, on the other hand, took the bus which involved waiting and walking, and only wore a light short dress coat with no hood. I can't tell you how happy I am that I'm in the stage of life where being practical trumps being fashionable.

By the time I took the picture above, the wind wasn't gusting as strongly anymore. It's a lazy picture; I took it through the window. This Colorado news anchor would not be happy about it.

Today's low: spending a ridiculous sum at Costco, including $155 on printer ink. Printer ink makes me mad. New printers usually come with ink and we could literally buy a new printer every single time we run out of ink for the same price as new ink cartridges. If it wasn't for the environmental waste and the hassle of setting up new printers, I'd totally do that. We've tried refilling ink cartridges but our printer won't recognize them and last time it messed things up badly. I guess $155 is a small price to pay for avoiding the last-minute panic when a kid needs to print something for school. That's on my top five list of least favourite scenarios. One good thing I'll say about my Costco visit is that because of the weather, it was very empty. Easy parking, short lines, and lots of food samples.

Today's high: Neve had a gymnastics competition tonight. It was an in-house one (just our gymnastics club) to practice for upcoming "real" competitions. She did well and was on a high afterward. The floor is her favourite skill (there's floor, beam, bars and vault) and she rocked it. I wish I had a video of it, but I chose to enjoy it in real time instead. It was fun to see her happy and confident, hanging out with her teammates who encourage and support each other.

The identity-masking black circles make this look rather sinister. I just realized that the faces of the kids in the background are in plain sight ... sorry, kids. I'm too tired to fix that.
 

It pleases me greatly that people are sharing their highs and lows in the comments. I wonder what Jim's high will be tomorrow?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Day 3

Today was a very ordinary day of work, laundry, reading, and Gilmore Girls so my highs were low and my lows were high. That's how I like it right now; there are days of socializing, obligations and errands in the near future so I'll get my fill of life outside my four walls soon enough. I'm hoping the extreme cold weather warnings will be gone by then.
 
The girls and I are now on Season 2, episode 5 of Gilmore Girls. After our binge-watching during the holidays, we calculated that we had 125 episodes left. If we watch three episodes a week, it will take over 41 weeks to see them all. And that's not counting the four new ones. Once you throw in a few busy weeks or holidays or summer, it's going to take over a year to finish the series. That makes me feel overwhelmed and depressed yet happy and excited at the same time. I've been enjoying cuddling up with the girls on the couch with our popcorn and chocolate. Seeing Lorelai and Rory eat so much junk food makes me want to do the same, even though being jealous of a TV character seems ridiculous. It is what it is. 
 
This has nothing to do with anything but I saw it today and thought of my dad always welding when I was young. No wonder I never saw him cry.
 
 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Day 2


Today was my first day back in the office in three weeks. It was a long, busy day but it was nice to see my co-workers again. When you're only in the office one day a week, it's a novelty to see them. They are a pretty great bunch (in case they're reading this. If you want the real story, come talk to me. haha).

Today's high: I got at least five more calls about the China trip. I talked to some really nice people... well, I guess everyone's nice when you're talking about travelling. Interest was high and I feel optimistic we will get more bookings.

Runner-up: coming home after a snowy, slippery commute to a yummy potato soup in the slow cooker. After dinner, I sat on the couch with my book and my tea for a long time. Probably too long since I've got stuff to do, but lately I'm all about being present in whatever I'm doing and I feel like I succeeded. Except now I've got to be present and focused on my work for a bit.

Second runner-up: This hasn't happened yet but as soon as Neve comes home from gymnastics, her, Chloe and I are going to watch Gilmore Girls and eat the warm brownies Chloe just made.

Low: Probably the large amount of hours I spent in front of the computer today. Including the time I spent writing this.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Day 1

Not only did I get out of bed this morning, I did my workout, got the kids off to school, walked to 7-11 for a newspaper, and was at my desk working by 9:00 a.m. It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Sometimes I surprise myself.

Today's high: It was pretty sweet having the house to myself today. Eating a piece of Kristin's leftover birthday cake for lunch was a close second. Third would be the naan bread I made to go with our leftover Indian food, making it the third consecutive day that I've made something with yeast. I've been so prolific with my use of yeast that I exhausted my meager supply and texted Chloe to pick some up for me on her way home from university. She found a tiny grocery store near the U of W and bought me a good-sized jar of yeast for less than two bucks. The brand was foreign to me, the packaging a little suspicious (don't tell Dale), and it didn't foam at all when I dissolved it in warm water. The dough didn't really rise, but that's not that important with naan bread anyway. I sound like I'm a yeast dough expert now. I'm not, so please never ask me yeast questions. I've never even used the word yeast before I wrote this paragraph.

The low: I placed an ad in today's Free Press for The Chamber's China trip in April in hopes of getting a few more people to sign up before the deadline of Jan. 20. Last time I placed an ad, I got tons of calls and the trip sold out. This time I got a grand total of three calls so far. The Free Press usually does a great job of placing our ads in a prominent right-hand page spot, but this time it's on a left page. Not only that, there's a big, bold headline on the right-hand side that immediately draws your attention: "City Couple Mourned in Cuba Crash." It's so tragic and sad I almost cried and it made me - and probably everyone else - want to: a) never travel away from my family again; and b) donate my travel money to the family. Neither of those scenarios is good when trying to promote a trip.

It put things in perspective and now I'm not as concerned about meeting our target number of travellers but still - if you or anyone you know is interested in a fantastic trip to China, you know where to find me.

There. Day 1 is done. Twenty-nine to go.

Speaking of daily challenges, my brother Dan appears to be posting a instagram pic every day this year, which makes me happy. We sometimes go a while without talking or emailing so it's one way of knowing he's alive and well and merrily chugging along with life in Vancouver. He has an artistic eye and always posts cool pics, so if you want to follow him, check out the link on the right hand side of this post.

Now you can go to bed, Siobhan.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Coming up: 30 days

Today is the last day of my extended Christmas vacation. When the children were little and would go out with grandparents or something, I would be overcome with joy at the thought of freedom and time to myself. But then I'd panic and stress about how best to spend that precious time that I could hardly enjoy it.

That's how I feel today.

These past two weeks have been so relaxing, so peaceful, so quiet, and so filled with good family time. The cold (understatement) weather discourages us from going anywhere so we mostly keep to our schedule of reading, sleeping, puzzling, playing games and watching Gilmore Girls. I dread tomorrow morning with all my heart.

On the plus side, a little fresh air will probably be beneficial. Today Neve asked how to shake hands (?). When Chloe showed her how, Neve said, "Oh! That makes sense. I was trying to shake my own hand but it wasn't working."

It's definitely time to get out.

So I've been blogging - fairly consistently - for a long time. There have been dry spells here and there, especially in the last year. As the kids grow, I feel like I don't have much to talk about and it's so easy to just post a picture on Instagram. But the problem with Instagram is that I sometimes feel shy about posting (you wouldn't know it from all my posts) and feel like I'm forcing others to look at my life. With the blog, everyone who reads it comes here by choice (I know people can choose to unfollow on Instagram, but it's easier just to scroll past an annoying picture than unfollow someone).

On the blog, you also get more of the real story so you know that things are not usually as idyllic as they appear from a picture. Not that there's anything wrong with idyllic but reality is nice too.

All that to say that I still like blogging, even if it's not the cool thing to do anymore. Since I'm never one to care about being cool (as if), in an effort to get back to more regular posting I'm going to try and blog every day for the next 30 days. I did the same thing last January with the intent of capturing everyday moments of the kids. This year's series will probably have less focus and more randomness, but as a fallback for when I'm not sure what to write about, I'll write about the high and low of my day. Doesn't that sound riveting?! The highs are never very high in January but the lows can go pretty low, so that should be fun.

I'm not promising much in the way of pictures; after all my digital photo organizing (still in progress) I'm anti-photo right now.

I'll officially kick off my 30 days tomorrow, assuming I'm able to drag myself out of bed in the morning.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Happy New Year from inside my house

Christmas is over but we’re still in holiday mode over here. I’m taking a vacation week this week; combined with the time off between Christmas and New Year’s, I’ll have had a grand total of 17 days away from work. Even though I only work three days a week, it’s often pretty hectic and working from home means work is never far from my mind. So this break has been amazing. It’s given me the time to tackle some projects I’ve been putting off. I’ve started several projects and finished none (except two puzzles):
  • Chloe and I purged, cleaned and painted her room. There is still work to be done (patching/painting the ceiling, pictures on the walls, blinds, a new dresser) and a big pile of stuff in the hallway outside her room that I don’t know what to do with. I’ll post pictures when it looks less clinical and more cozy.
  • I put away all the Christmas stuff last week but still need to clean the storage room. The hoarder in me keeps every box that ever enters our home. I find it hard to part with boxes.
  • We hooked up an old monitor to our iMac and it works! $775 to fix vs. a $40 cable to hook up an old work monitor. We still have to keep the old giant monitor because in a Mac, the screen IS the computer. The two monitors make it look like we’re a flight control centre, but whatever works. Now that the screen actually stays on instead of going to sleep every couple of minutes, I’ve been able to start organizing my digital pictures. This is taking much longer than I ever dreamed possible. I have a lot of pictures. I thought they were pretty organized (by month or event) but it’s my iPhone pics that are messing me up. I back them up randomly without keeping track of what I’ve already backed up, so sometimes there are multiple duplicates. It’s a mess. But I’m wading through it all and slowly making progress. My goal this year is to take pictures more selectively. I will pretend I’m using film. Or polaroids.
 
Besides these works-in-progress, I’ve had lots of time to read, puzzle, and watch Gilmore Girls. I’ve never watched it before, so the girls and I are powering through episodes. Chloe went back to school today so that may slow down our schedule. I’ve spent many days in yoga pants; on the rare occasion I have to leave the house, the first thing I do when I get home is change back into them. We sleep until ten, go to bed at 1 a.m. and forage for food when we’re hungry. By the time Monday rolls around I think I’ll be good and ready to move on, but for now I’m enjoying every second of my hermit existence, especially with the ridiculous amount of snow and frigid temperatures outside my door.
 
Backing up a little for a quick Christmas recap …
 
On Christmas Eve we had our fettuccini scallop dinner, went to a candlelight service, opened a few gifts, played games and went for a walk.
 
 
My children and their grandma on Christmas Eve (this is not Spencer or Chloe's best pic)

Playing Code Names, which was a hit this Christmas.


On Christmas Day the kids opened their stockings and gifts. Everyone seemed happy with their gifts, which is all that a parent wishes for. The thing Neve wanted most on her list was a mermaid tail blanket. I ordered it weeks ago, but it didn't arrive in time (still hasn't). She was fine with it and now has something to look forward to. I also realized I forgot to give her the iTunes gift card I bought for her. I still haven't told her so now I have one birthday present done. Some of the magic of Christmas is dialed down a bit as the kids get older but the benefits are immense. We didn't have to explain why Santa didn't have the blanket ready or why the presents were wrapped with the same wrapping paper we have. And if the kids didn't get exactly what they wanted, they have money of their own to make that happen.

The best gift I got this Christmas was a book of letters from the kids. It's a booklet with twelve different letters, based on prompts like "Something I've learned from you is ..." or "A special memory I have is ..." Each of the kids wrote four letters and they obviously put a lot of thought into them. Chloe was the mastermind behind this idea (does that even need to be said?) but the others cooperated nicely. She seriously has a magic touch when it comes to making her siblings do what she wants. Or she's excellent at threatening them. It doesn't really matter; I appreciate the result.

Chloe gets nailpolish remover, while Spencer gets ...

... a laptop. Some years the gifts just aren't even. (Don't worry, she also got socks and underwear).


For days, there was ominous talk of a blizzard starting in the early afternoon of the 25th. People were rearranging plans days in advance, which seemed extreme to me. Sure enough, it didn’t amount to much that day. We slept over like we always do at Christmas and by morning, the accumulation of snow and blowing snow closed a bunch of roads, including the main highway to Winnipeg. Even then it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as we were hoping; we just took a different road home and it was no problem.
It was a fun couple of days of eating, playing games, opening gifts, and relaxing.
 
Kids table

Dale found a new friend to cuddle. Jim and Sabrina brought their brand new kitten Willow. She's a very cute, very relaxed ball of fluff.

Dan and Jenn sent a special gift: Methusala's arm. With balloons attached. It was worth the postage it must have cost.



Just Dance
The annual kids-by-the-Christmas-tree photo. Bella is wrapped up like a present. My new sister-in-law Lori's daughter and son-in-law stopped by and were also in one of our photos but I don't know how they feel about being on the internet so I played it safe.

 

Snowed in.



Driving home
 
On Dec. 27, we went to Dale’s mom’s for Christmas with his family. It was a really good day of more eating, more playing games, singing (I moved my lips while others sang) and gifts. I feel very lucky to have two families that I really enjoy spending time with. And very lucky for healthy parents and mother-in-law who still enjoy hosting and cooking the whole meal. I think that’s pretty rare at my age. I feel kind of spoiled but so thankful and appreciative.
 
I'm posting way fewer pics from Christmas with Dale's family, only because again I don't know how everyone feels about it. I should ask but then they'll know I have a blog and it feels like a secret even though anything on the internet is the opposite of secret. Please note I didn't edit any of today's pictures because I was tired of staring at my computer screen and just wanted to get this done. That's why the picture below is slanted and off-centre.
 
 

Proof that I exist. And yes, Neve's hair is pink (courtesy of Dan & Jenn)

Energetic game of Donkey
 
Once the formal celebrations ended, I’ve been mostly living a life of sloth as previously mentioned. I did get dressed up to go out for dinner with Mike and Darla one day, and to go to our neighbours for New Years Eve. Yesterday I met my niece and her kids downtown for cupcakes and a Toad Hall visit. Oh and Dale and I went to a spin class. And that’s pretty much it. I shall now commence lounging in my stretchy pants with my puzzle and my book.
my cute little Elvis great-niece at Toad Hall