Friday, March 24, 2017

Birthday #2

Chloe turned 19 today... her last teenage year. Next year I'll have to say I have a daughter in her 20s, which is ridiculous because of course I'm WAY too young to have a child that old. Oh right, it's not about me today.

We had a very small family party on Wednesday evening. If you happen to be in our family and were not invited, please don't feel sad or left out. I did it out of the goodness of my heart. We have so many children and so many birthdays in so little time and I feel bad that you all have to come over every week to celebrate. We squeezed this little celebration in right after Chloe's work; in fact she was late to her own party. If you were invited, well, it appears we don't care about your feelings or your time. Whatever the case, you will all have another celebration opportunity in the near future.

Chocolate cheesecake was Chloe's cake of choice. It was pretty delicious. It's actually a recipe that Chloe discovered and tried first, so I can say that without being vain. I just followed the recipe. And got a little carried away with the toppings and decorations.

Today on the actual date of her birth, there was no Chloe sighting until 5:30 p.m. since she was asleep when we all left the house this morning, and then went to her classes. She opened some gifts, then we all went to Mongo's for dinner. It was my first time at Mongo's and the food was good but the atmosphere was a little on the chaotic side.

The big one is a pillow if you're curious. She also got a coat, an Ed Sheeran CD, and lots of chocolate.

Apparently we did not scrimp on the carbs. I wish I had cropped out those excessive noodle mountains.

After that, we dropped Neve off at a birthday party, came home and wolfed down some cupcakes (more carbs) and then I went to hot yoga and Chloe went out with some of her cousins for the 2nd Annual Cousin Casino Birthday Celebration. She's not home yet; hopefully she had some birthday luck and comes home with a windfall.

This is the part where I write something nice about Chloe. I feel like I say the same thing every year. She really is as awesome as she seems. She is kind to her siblings, she likes to laugh, she loves being with the family, she is a loyal friend, she works hard and does well at school, she is independent, focused, and sets clear goals.

As I mentioned, Chloe was at work teaching swimming lessons right before her little family party on Wednesday. Neve's swimming lessons happened to be during Chloe's shift (but with a different instructor). I usually work out at the gym overlooking the pool during this time so I always spy on Chloe. I love seeing her interact with the kids and it's obvious that both her and the kids are having fun. This week was the last class of the session and one little girl sobbed at the end of class because she was so sad she wouldn't see Chloe anymore. Her parents asked Chloe what her schedule was for the next session so that they could put their kid in her class again. Another child's parents did the same.

I already know Chloe is pretty amazing, but it's always nice when other people think so too. I'm pretty proud of her and happy that she's on the path to a career that's right for her. Hopefully the novelty of being with children doesn't wear off!

And now the birthday celebrations have ended and spring break has begun. We have a few adventures planned which I will discuss another day. Hope you all have a good week and I hope Spring gets its act together and melts the snow and drains the puddles and makes Winnipeg great again.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


After the slow and quiet months of January and February, March has hit me like a bag of hammers from Home Alone. I'm not sure there actually was a bag of hammers in that movie but it sounds realistic. Movie realistic, that is. Not real world realistic. You'd need a really strong bag, not just Safeway bags. Have I ever told you how much I hate plastic bags? Not just for the environmental impact, but because they are ugly and messy and plasticy. Sometimes Dale takes things to work in a plastic bag and I can hardly stand it. He tries to hide it from me, for which I am grateful but I sometimes still see it. There are so many nice-looking reusable bags that no one should ever have to use a plastic grocery bag for any purpose other than a garbage bag. (There are occasions where I re-use thicker plastic bags from clothing stores, etc.).
So that's my unprovoked rant of the day.
So yeah, it's been busy, but apparently not too busy to spend time complaining about plastic bags. Almost every day and evening the past two weeks have been filled with things like dentist appointments, swimming lessons, school stuff, and of course work. There have also been fun things like yoga and hanging out with friends and family and best of all, Thermea ... twice in two months. I feel like a rock star. Last time I was there, a guy told me he'd been there 32 times. I question the accuracy of that; I've only been a few times and I can't even remember the exact number. Maybe he has a chart at home where he keeps track.
I felt kind of stressed about going since I had a lot of work to do, but I went anyway (Chloe and I went with my sister-in-law and niece from Florida). But it's amazing how as soon as you get there, all your troubles seem so far away. I had a massage as well and it was so good. I wish I could go every week.
All relaxed at the end of the day
It doesn't happen very often that all eight grandchildren (plus two partners) are in the same city (or country for that matter) at the same time. A photo was warranted.
After all the busy stuff, this weekend was very quiet and relaxed. Neve wasn't feeling great, so we hung out at home a lot. We watched many episodes of Gilmore Girls. Neve sent me this message when I was out on Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately for her, I didn't see her message until I got home. Fortunately for her, I made her a delicious homemade one.

She had a gymnastics competition in Selkirk on Saturday evening and pulled herself together nicely for that. She felt good about her performance and scored a bronze medal.
Neve placed first in her floor routine, which is her favourite event. The video is below but honestly don't feel you have to watch it. She is a little moving speck in the background. Dale was the videographer and it's not stellar. I don't think I would've done much better; there are always gymnasts walking in front of the camera and people clapping and other annoying things. Don't they know I'd like a decent clip to post on my blog?? I'll have to get a t-shirt made for next time so they know. Or maybe I'll wear a Global News shirt and pretend I'm doing a documentary. Anyway, unless you are a grandparent or a very devoted aunt or uncle, you may skip on by.

Other than that, we're starting to gear up for the next birthday (Chloe's on Friday) and trying to decide where to go during spring break. We weren't planning to go anywhere because Chloe has classes and Dale just has a couple of days off, but we didn't go anywhere for spring break last year and it made me sad and lonely. So I thought it would be nice just to go on a tiny little 3-day excursion; somewhere like Saskatoon or Moose Jaw (tunnels and spa). Then things escalated, as they tend to do when our family thinks about road trips. Suddenly places like Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis were in the mix. I want to stay in Canada so I'm trying to dial it back. Edmonton is a new option, but it might just end up being Moose Jaw. None of us are super excited about Moose Jaw, but I'm trying to think of it as a step up from staying home. Right??
In other big news, Neve is getting braces at the end of spring break. She is very excited about it. Well, she gets excited about a lot of things. Dale and I are not as excited. We would rather go to Jamaica. Twice. 
In conclusion, here are a couple of random pictures from my phone, although I believe I instagrammed them both.
This is from the Chamber's Spirit Awards gala. It was a really nice event and lots of fun.


Here's Neve on St. Patrick's Day. The green food colouring was used several times that day but that's about as far as the celebrations went.


Have a good week, everyone!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Long miscellaneous update

After my 30-day blog challenge, I thought I’d try a 30-day blog-free challenge.  I only made it ten days though. I’ll try harder next time.
Things have been busy lately. I can’t remember exactly with what, so I took a look at pictures I’ve taken lately. I’ve been doing well at taking WAY fewer pictures than I used to, but there’s still a pretty random assortment. Here goes:
We had The Chamber’s annual luncheon with the mayor last week. I help organize a program where we invite students and teachers from various high schools to the luncheon, as well as a Q&A session with the mayor afterward. He really is a nice guy and is good with the kids. He’s also very accommodating when everyone wants a picture with him at the end.
Neve had a gymnastics competition in Beausejour last weekend. She did well but not nearly as well as the last two competitions. She was kind of disappointed because she knew she could do better. I had to dig deep and pull out all my wise motherly advice to make her feel better and move on. My personal favourite is that it builds more character than winning all the time (not that we win all the time).

On a sunnier note, guess what finally arrived this week?! Neve is now the proud owner of not one, but two mermaid blankets. I guess I should contact the company to let them know that it arrived but it's like opening a whole can of worms that I thought was already empty so I don't know if I'm up for that.

Neve often lays out her clothes for the next day. This is what I saw when I went to wake her up for school.
(I really shouldn't post this because one of you might be getting it as a birthday present.)

My niece Bailey had an awesome wedding social last Sunday. It wasn't your typical social; it was at the little ski hill where her fiancĂ© works. It was so much fun; there was skiing/snowboarding, delicious nachos and sweet treats, hot chocolate, and tons of great prizes. Neve especially loved the skiing, as did Bella & Lexie who skied for the first time and nailed it! Interesting side note: there was a reporter there from a Quebec magazine (newspaper?) who is writing an article about Manitoba socials. She was at a traditional Manitoba social the night before and then came to check out this one the next day. Would be an interesting article to read; the only problem is that it will be in French.


Now things get really random. I was snapping pics at Superstore. I cannot tell you how much I hate the meat counter. Burn's Bung Bologna???  Seriously, what is that??

And $11 wash cloths?? I can understand that if this was the Ralph Lauren Home collection but it's Superstore! Those should be like a buck. You'd be better off buying the bath towel and cutting it into six washcloths. I'm not actually that passionate about the price of wash cloths and am not sure why I felt I had to take a picture.

Neve's final birthday celebrations took place yesterday. The party was partly at Springers Gymnastics, then back to our house for pizza. Since Springers can accommodate a large number of kids, I told Neve she could invite her entire class. She always gets stressed out when she has to decide who to invite and who to leave out, so this was perfect. She loved being able to talk about it at school without the fear of offending anyone. There were 18 girls invited and only one couldn't come. Eek.

The gymnastics part went well which I was relieved about since most of the girls aren't into gymnastics. I'm pretty sure Neve chose the venue as a way to showcase her skills but everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.

Tia came to help with the driving from Springers to our house, and Bob & Jan and Bailey came by later. I had made pizza dough earlier in the day so we shunned the party Pizza Hotline pizza and waited for the gourmet versions instead. Well, some of us had both. Some days you need two dinners. The whole week was super busy and I felt such relief after the party. It was a big success and Neve was really happy with the whole thing, and it was so, so nice to just breathe deeply and relax and have no more obligations. The moscato didn't hurt either.

Today was my day of rest. I slept in, read, watched Gilmore Girls, and went for a long walk with Dale. It felt like spring today and it was amazing. I felt like a new person. Melting snow is my love language. I don't care that it's messy and soggy and brown and mucky. I love it with all my heart.

And what's this, you may ask? It could be either a close-up of an icy sidewalk or a faraway drone pic of the Antarctica. If you guessed a view of the river from the Maryland St. bridge, you would be correct.

Tonight we went to Jim & Sabrina's for Bella's family birthday party. I can hardly believe that she's 9 already. It seems like yesterday that I rushed to the hospital to see her; poor Sabrina was still in the recovery room, drugged up from her C-section and not up for visitors. But apparently I just had to see baby Isabella within an hour of her birth.

Opening presents ... from underwear to a racetrack that appears to be mostly for Jim, and everything in between.

A fun time was had by all (except Spencer who stayed home after TWO consecutive unprecedented nights of going out with friends until all hours). Sabrina's delicious lasagna and ice cream cake (two separate things) was a pretty great way to end the weekend.