Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Christmas Gift

This is one of my very favourite songs from my very favourite Chistmas movie. The fact that it is set to Harry Potter is icing on the cake.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy Holiday.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

How many sleeps?

I am sick of Christmas knitting. I don't want to look at FIL's gift anymore. The yarn and needles are small and if I push myself I feel pain. I must resign myself to the fact that this will be a Happy New Year gift. Perhaps a Ukrainian Christmas gift. SIL's gift is on the home stretch but I am tired of it as well. What's a girl to do?

I chose the selfish route. I have two beautiful balls of new yarn vying for my attention. A ball of fiery Malabrigo and a ball of Fleece Artist Curlylocks in Rainbow Brite colors. According to the nice lady who sold it to me, the Fleece Artist has enough yardage to make a shawl. I am sceptical, but really a shawl that is too small easily turns into a triangle-shaped scarf. I cast on. I am using one of Yarn Harlot's Increasing Triangle Shawl recipes. It is going to be so purty. I will have to buy a sundress to match it since it will probably be summer by the time I finish it.

I tried to trim Emmett's hair yesterday. What an ordeal. I warned him first. "You need a haircut. We are going to cut your hair." He shook his head "No." I turned on his favourite TV show, Poko and positioned his chair in front of the TV. I got out the clippers and he disappeared into his room for a minute. He reappeared with a blanket over his head. I removed the blanket and wrestled with him long enough to trim around his ears. Thankfully that was all it took to make him look a bit more presentable. I am going to try to cut Richard's hair next, but we will do it at a time when Emmett can watch. I want him to see that Daddy doesn't scream and fight and that wrestling is not usually part of the haircut process. Richard promised to behave as long as I give him a cookie afterward.

We survived the Christmas Pageant. Despite the fact that only two kids and one mom showed up to rehearse the day before, it turned out remarkably well. I have many notes to make next year's better. The party afterward was great fun. Covering the priest in toilet paper and dressing him like a snowman was a hit, as was the gingerbread man decorating table. I get a couple of weeks off from Sunday School duties now, so I feel like a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. All I need to do for the next couple of weeks is keep the nursery supplied with colouring pages.

Two more Christmas gifts to buy and I am all done! What do pre-adolescent girls like these days?
We have yet to put up our tree, but that will be happening in the next day or two. Even though I am not done my shopping and have not even begun to wrap gifts, I am feeling remarkably calm.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's a good thing she is cute part 2...

Today is Tuesday. Tuesdays are for cleaning house. I started the morning by scrubbing the bathroom after my shower. After everyone got up I started putting away laundry. I stayed in Emmett's room to put away toys. He was in my room watching TV and Char was....where was Char?

I wandered around the house, calling her name. The bathroom doors were closed so I walked past them and down the stairs. No Char on the main floor, no Char in my room or in the other two bedrooms. Oh. No.

I opened the bathroom door and there was Charlotte sitting in front of an open cabinet. The tub of Vaseline was open on her lap. She was so, so shiny. Her hair had handfuls in it and her shirt was saturated.

I stripped her down and set her in the tub. I combed out as much of the goo from her hair as I could. I then tried to shampoo her hair. The shampoo didn't even lather. I tried bubble bath, then dandruff shampoo, then dish detergent. At this point she has been in the tub so long we are running out of hot water and she is almost hoarse from crying. Thankfully the layer of Vaseline has protected her skin from drying out at all--the water was just beading up on her. I take her out of the tub, towel her off and she snuggles in to me. She falls asleep on my shoulder (leaving a grease print) as I fire up all mighty Google. I also take a moment to listen to her lungs with my stethoscope to assuage any worry that she might have inhaled some Vaseline while she was styling her hair. She is nice and pink and the air was wooshing into her lungs.

This lady came to my rescue. After a nap and the hot water tank fills up again, we will try the cornstarch.

Stay tuned...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Crunch time.

To do this week:
  • Wash, block and fringe step-MIL's gift
  • Buy gift card for cousin
  • Call friend who makes juice bag purses and buy two for cousins
  • Wrap gifts to send to family Christmas dinner this weekend (aunt, uncle, cousins) not going to happen
  • Make Pumpkin-chai mini loaves to take to in law Christmas dinner
  • Wrap gag gift to take to In law Christmas dinner
  • Find costumes and props for church Christmas pageant
  • Finish Sunday School Christmas gifts (nine more to go)
  • Finish Sunday School Christmas crafts (maybe??)
  • Figure out a craft for Sunday School Christmas party
  • Run Christmas pagent rehearsal. Only two kids and one mom showed up. WTF????
  • Hem pants for Christmas party and In law dinner. Add fix Emmett's crappy cheap-ass winter coat....again.
To do before Christmas
  • Seal birdhouse for Mom
  • Finish FIL gift maybe for Ukrainian Christmas?
  • Make one or two more dishcloths for MIL?/s>
  • Finish wrist warmers for SIL (half of one go go)
  • Buy battery for another Christmas gift
  • Help Santa find stocking stuffers for Richard and rugrats<
  • Don't catch stomach flu that every other member of the family has caught, including the dog.
  • Cook, clean, laundry, etc.
  • Friday, December 8, 2006


    We are sitting in the living room. Emmett has a slice of cheese in his hand. He has nibbled it into the shape of a gun and is pointing it at The Backyardigans. Tangent: we have never given him a toy gun, we don't play with guns. How does he know to do this??? End Tangent. I am pretty sure he just said "Bang".

    Emmett's first word is Bang.

    No kidding.


    "They" say a lot of things. They say things that undermine your confidence and judgement. They are particularly vocal when it comes to raising children. They like to make charts and schedules and if You don't measure up to the expectations then You are are suddenly scrutinized and comments are made. I have learned to ignore them most of the time.

    I turn a blind ear to comments regarding my kid's size. (Yes, they are very tall for their age. I put Miracle Grow in their breakfast every morning.) They don't say much about Emmett's speech since They don't spend enough time with him to really notice. He is quite skilled at making his needs known and those who love him are skilled at anticipating his needs and reading his signs so it is not immediately obvious that he doesn't speak. If comments are made, They are easily quieted with a quick "No, our therapist says he is not Autistic. Hey! Did you hear the Jets left Winnipeg?"

    They do notice the diaper sticking out of the back of his jeans. They say that a child should be potty trained by 3-1/2. DVDs about potty training are on the way. I have the potty, the Spiderman undies, the bribes, (Smarties are the currency of choice in this house)and the 3-1/2 year old. I have the 3-1/2 year old who fights the potty and shakes his head no at the Spiderman undies. My insecurities about my mothering abilities start sneaking in, their voices whispering.

    I call a good friend. She is a breast feeding counsellor. She is good at telling Them to back off. She reminds me that They don't know Emmett. Emmett knows when Emmett is ready, not Them. The whispers are quieting down.

    Saturday, December 2, 2006

    I'm Sorry.

    I am sorry if I created undue excitement with the title of my previous post. Emmett is not saying any words yet, but he has made great strides in the recent past. I think he is starting to get a handle on his motor planning difficulties. His vocabulary of signs is increasing, he is more willing to do the actions along with the little songs we sing (Slippery Fish is a favourite) and he is making more varied sounds. There are actual vowels and consonats peppering his babble now. I am ever hopeful we will be conversing soon.

    We survived two birthday parties today. Emm was burned out by the first one and at the second one retreated to the basement to enjoy some toys alone, but Char got right into the spirit of things. During a game that involved dancing, she took off her shirt and ran right into the middle of the circle to show off her moves. This will cease to be cute when she is fifteen, maybe sooner. I think I am going to have to learn to say no to invitations if there are two in one day--Emmett just can't handle the excitement. I think he takes after his father that way--he stayed home for the second one to enjoy a quiet house all to himself. I took a few notes that I will have to remember for next year's parties. Cheryl, the host of the second party set the bar pretty high with her cool games and thoughtfully personalized treat bags. Charlotte found the crayons particularly tasty.

    Well, I have two sleeping children, a husband out of the house and a girl movie in the DVD player. It is time to get out my knitting. Good Night!

    Friday, December 1, 2006

    Polygamy, Dr. Phil, Emmett's First Word

    Have you ever had a dream that makes you feel exhausted when you wake up? I went through the wringer last night. This will sound psycho, but I need to get it out.

    Here goes...
    The dream started out pretty boring, Richard and the kids were there and we were going about our every day life. Things got wierd when two other women showed up with their kids. Richard's other wives. In this dream life he had convinced me it would be ok to become polygamists. So, now there are four adults and assorted children (I only ever saw Emm and Char clearly--the other children were shadows) going about their daily lives while I am feeling more and more sad, confused and jealous. I am crying--maybe for real, but in my dream I am in anguish. I confront Richard. I ask him to make a choice: Me and our children, or the other wives and their children. He chooses them. I am now a mess. I can feel my brow furrowing and my jaw and head aches but I cannot wake up. The dream goes on with me wondering what to do with my life now that I am alone with the children. I don't know where to begin. I am crying. Suddenly the channel changes and I am in a gymnasium with Dr. Phil and children all around. There is a foam pit like the ones in gymnastics classes. The kids are flying into it and Dr. Phil is berating me for something but I can't understand what he is saying. I am telling him I want to homeschool my kids. His words make no sense. Emmett is standing beside me watching the kids fly into the foam pit. Out of the blue he says "Jump! Jump!"

    It took a long time for the clouds to clear from my brain when Emmett woke me up this morning. I was sad and tired and upset. I have been feeling a little disconnected all day. What do these dreams mean? It's been a year since we have had the TV cable cancelled.
    I haven't seen an episode of Dr. Phil in many months.

    Am I going crazy????

    Wednesday, November 22, 2006

    Things Charlotte Likes To Eat:

    Glitter Glue
    Mango Body Butter
    Diaper Rash Cream
    Vapor Rub
    Sand under the play structure at the park
    Dog kibble

    Things Charlotte Throws to the Dog:

    *I have the Poison Control number written in permanent marker very close to my phone and they have always been very helpful. None of the things Charlotte has eaten has been in amounts that could be harmful to her. Just sayin'*

    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Tipping Point Meme

    I don't usually do memes because I think they are kind of dumb. My friend Poppins made this one. It is not dumb. It will make you think. I encourage you to do it in your own blog. Let's all start thinking about small things we can do to protect our planet and give it a Christmas gift this year too. If you don't have a blog (ahem, Manitoba Farm Girl and Janelle, cough cough) just answer the questions in my comments.

    Three things I'm happy to be doing already:
    1. Using reusable containers to pack my groceries in at the store
    2. Walking to run errands when possible (my double stroller holds a lot!)
    3. Using fluorescent light bulbs in the fixtures that are turned on most often in my house.

    Three things I want to do starting now:
    1. Learn to compost my food waste.
    2. Find more environmentally friendly ways to wrap gifts.
    3. Buy less processed, over packaged food.

    Three things for someday:
    1. Find fair-trade alternatives for favourite products.
    2. Learn to live with less.
    3. Buy more vegetables from local farmer's market and process them myself. (maybe grow my own too?)

    Have you heard of the Buy Nothing Christmas? I encourage you to go here and do some reading. I am trying very hard to not get caught up in a commercial buying spree this year. Do we really need more junk cluttering our house and a heart-attack inducing credit card bill in January??

    Saturday, November 18, 2006

    Off the wagon.

    I have fallen off the Weight Watchers wagon. This week has been a whirlwind of chips, cheeseburgers, doughnuts, chocolate and even a couple of glasses of wine. There is a big church dinner on the calendar for tonight. Have I mentioned I have not journalled in almost two weeks? I skipped weigh-in last week too. I have been shrouded in a nice cocoon of denial and procrastination. I need to fight my way out of it before too much damage is done.

    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    New Recipe

    Check out my food blog for a yummy breakfast idea. Click here if you are too lazy to scroll down my sidebar.

    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    You talk funny.

    What American accent do you have?
    Your Result: North Central

    "North Central" is what professional linguists call the Minnesota accent. If you saw "Fargo" you probably didn't think the characters sounded very out of the ordinary. Outsiders probably mistake you for a Canadian a lot.

    The Midland
    The West
    The Inland North
    The South
    The Northeast
    What American accent do you have?
    Take More Quizzes

    Why yes, I do get mistaken for a Canadian a lot.

    Wednesday, November 8, 2006

    What do you want to be when you grow up?

    Do you remember being asked that question as a kid? Did you have the same answer every time? Did it change as you grew? What happened when you graduated from High School? Did you confidently stride into the post-secondary institution you carefully chose and work on a major that you loved from the start? Did you enter the workforce for a while to mull over your options and gain some life experience?

    I am going to tell you what I did. I graduated from High School, took a year off to fry burgers and make milkshakes at a department store cafeteria. I then moved away to the not-so Big City and promptly partied my way out of a first year of university. I was going to be a teacher. Instead of going to class I became News Editor of the school paper and learned to support a pack-a-day cigarette habit by using my womanly wiles. (I later married the man who gave me the cigarettes...thanks, hon!)I floundered around for a year, almost starving and working a minimum of three jobs at a time to pay rent.

    I then got it into my head I wanted to be a nurse. The University wouldn't take me back--flunking out on academic suspension will do that. To Community College I went. A short year and a half later I was a newly minted LPN, licence in my hand and my head full of the new-nurse idealism that I could heal the world.

    Flash forward 8 years to the present where I am a happy wife and stay-at-home mom and Sunday School Superintendant with a severe case of disillusionment towards my chosen profession. They are making it harder and harder for me to do my job. There are levels of bureaucracy and layers of red tape to sift through to get to what I love: caring for patients and making a difference in a person's life. (OK, so the idealism is still there, but buried now). I am staring at a folder that tells me I must submit proof of continuing learning. I have to submit a portfolio every year and fill out questionnaires. If I don't they won't give me the piece of paper I need to work in a place where everyone is burnt out and mean and tired. I hate being forced to do this. I hate that there is a forest worth of trees gone because of all the paper I have to wade through as well as all the paper the rest of the LPNs in my province have to wade through. I feel like I have to do this to justify a bureaucrat's job in some office somewhere--not to further the pursuit of professional excellence. I hate that I am being treated like an RN and in some cases being expected to do more than an RN without the pay an RN gets.

    Where does this leave me? I don't see myself continuing a career in nursing anymore. I don't know what else I would do if I wasn't one. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up anymore.

    Thursday, November 2, 2006

    It is a good thing she is cute...

    Char dropped a full, just-opened 4-litre jug of milk off the dining room table this morning. Right after she spilled my coffee and right before she stood at the window to bark at the neighbours dog throwing him into fits. Charming. It is a good thing she is cute. I don't remember Emmett ever doing things like that. Maybe I have mommy amnesia.

    She redeemed herself when we went to visit my friend Amy and her Charolais cattle at the livestock fair. Char barked at the cows and called them puppies. We watched a cow get a haircut and taught Amy the sign for cow. I finally got Charlotte to moo by the time we got home.


    Halloween this year was a low-key affair. Heavy snowfall the day before made for cold and wet trick-or-treating. Emmett only wanted to go to a few houses. That is fine by me! The less candy in the house the better. The kids looked adorable in their costumes.

    Sunday, October 29, 2006

    One little monkey jumping on the bed.

    If you look forward to setting your clock back an hour so you can sleep in on Sunday morning a little longer, you must not be the parent of small children. We will probably be messed up for the better part of the coming week. To add further insult to waking up when the clock said 6:00AM this morning Char had me up every 1/2 hour before that until 3:00AM when I decided she could sleep in our bed. We usually have a firm "no kids in bed " rule, but desperate times call for desperate measures. She slept really well snuggled down between us, for a solid three hours before she sprung up and jumped on my head and said "Up." Ugh.

    I got to have a little physics lesson in my house last week. On Monday I brought home the groceries and started putting them away. While I was doing that the kids were off in the living room playing...or so I thought. In a few minutes I heard a strange thudding sound coming from the stairwell and then a little cry. Nope, it wasn't a child that fell, it was a honeydew melon. My little monkeys were studying the Law of Gravity and wanted to see what would happen if they dropped a melon down the steps. It split open, so the littlest monkey decided to have a snack. They are pretty smart--they knew I would get all twitchy if I saw them trying to cut the the thing open with a knife.

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    When size matters.

    Our church is having a silent auction next month to raise money. What does one do when one wants to contribute in a knitterly way, but has very little time? Why break out the biggest needles she can, of course!

    Look at the size of those suckers! You are looking at a baby blanket being knit with size 19mm needles (number 35 if you are American) and four strands of chunky yarn held together. I knit for one of Char's naps and I am just over 1/4 of the way along.

    My gauge is 1-1/2 stitches to the inch!! That's some biggggg knitting!

    A little perspective: look how teeny the stitches on my sock look--look at the teeny needles!! Let's see how much farther I can get after bedtime and the Buffy or Battlestar Galactica (I haven't decided yet) starts.

    Monday, October 16, 2006

    My little tadpole and finding my way.

    Mom and Dad came for a visit this weekend. They come at this time every year because of a conference for emergency services workers that is hosted by my city. Dad is a fireman and a paramedic in training in addition to his day job of high school teacher. We also went out to dinner to celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary.

    We took the kids swimming at Mom and Dad's hotel and they had a blast. The kiddie pool was just deep enough that Char could crawl along the bottom with her hands and keep her head barely out of the water. Her legs and feet trailed behind her--she loved it. She really seems like a natural swimmer. The first time we tried to take her out of the water she wiggled away from my Dad and slipped right back into the pool like a little seal. She was exhausted by the time we could get eventually get her out and dried off. Once Emmett got over his initial nervousness we couldn't get him out of the water either.

    In addition to all of that I managed to squeeze in a seminar on Sunday School teaching at a local church. I haven't written much about my new job on this blog because I am just not sure what to write. I am still feeling my way around this new territory. I am so unsure of myself and feel like I don't quite have a grip on my feelings yet.

    The learning curve is steep. In addition to learning how to teach, I am learning a lot about a church I didn't grow up in, and am nurturing a newfound faith that I am trying to figure out.

    I am teaching kids about God and Jesus and how to live a Christian life and feel like an imposter sometimes. I grew up in a home where talking about God and Jesus was frowned upon. It made you one of "them" (you know the ones...the people that knock on your door to ask you about your personal saviour and offer you brochures to their church, usually at a really inconvienent time.) We called ourselves Christians and went to church on Sundays--more often when I was younger. I was never involved in church life outside of Sunday morning. There was a Bible on the bookshelf, but I rarely saw anyone read it.

    Now I have not one but two Bibles on my bedside table in different translations and a rosary that a kind friend made for me in the drawer. My kids were baptized in the church we were married in and that means a lot to me. I carefully chose their godmother because she is so special and she has a strong faith. The kids watch Veggietales and I sing The Butterfly Song to them.

    I am not going to ask you about your Personal Saviour. I am not going to shove brochures in your hands that warn you of eternal damnation if you don't find Jesus. I am not going to tell you that you are going straight to hell if you tell me that you have been touched by His Noodly Appendage and have no interest in my church. I don't want to be one of "those". I might tell you about Family Fun Night or the craft I am thinking about doing with my students. I want to wear my faith with a quiet confidance. I don't think I am there yet.

    Sometimes I wonder how I ended up here. I keep trying and I keep going back because my students are terrific and I am loving getting to know them. They trust me. I just really hope I am not letting them down.

    Thursday, October 12, 2006


    This is the view from my front doorstep today. This has started the mad flurry to dig out winterwear and find out what fits and what needs to be replaced. The ceremonial loosening of the carseat straps has been done. Emm loves the snow. All of the trails you see in the yard are from his feet.

    One more thing has been started:

    I'd better hurry up! (Oh and I need to say a prayer to the Knitting Goddess that matching yarn is to be had in my city--there is not enough there for a hat!)

    Thursday, October 5, 2006

    There is a new biped in the house!

    Char is walking! Slowly, with stiff legs and a shuffle, but she is walking. Over the past few days she is getting braver and walking farther and farther between hand holds. She can still crawl much faster so if she needs to get somewhere in a hurry she drops to 4WD mode. I think her practice is hampered by Big Brother and his tendency to knock her over when she is concentrating. I just hope she is keeping score in her head so she can seek rightous vengance at a later date when she is bigger and more capable of that sort of thing.

    Sunday, October 1, 2006

    Whew! I can keep my Sunday School job after all.

    You Are 24% Evil

    A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
    In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    Growing Pains

    Life has been getting crazy around here. Some days I feel like I am in over my head.

    Char's brain is growing so fast she can't keep up to it. There are words on the tip of her tongue and things that she desperately wants to say that don't come out. She took her first real steps last night. She wants to know everything, touch everything, dig into everything. When she can't have her way, either because Mom said so or she is physically unable, she screams. And screams. It is a scream that makes me feel like I am losing my mind. She is becoming more clingy and needy lately and I think it is because she is learning so much that it is scary to her. This means that around 4:30 PM when she used to nap she screams. This is the time I ususally cook dinner. Her screaming sometimes freaks Emm out and he starts to cry. I then want to cry/scream. Sometimes I do. I take every ounce of self-control I have and I manage to stay, despite every instinct telling me to run away.

    Emm is making real progress with his therapy. He is making consonant sounds sometimes. This is a big deal. He "talks" on the phone with my Mom and kisses her goodbye. This is huge. He shares his cheerios willingly at playgroup. (Only with the pretty girls) He is smart enough to reach the things I have set out of the way. He can work the disc drive on our computer. He can work the CD player in the kitchen. He can reach the "child-proof" latch on the pantry door. He can use my kitchen stepladder to get the food I put high shelves for a reason. When you say "No" to him he doesn't get angry like Char, he feels hurt. His eyes well up with tears and he buries his head in your lap. I feel like a monster when I get upset with him.

    What's a Mom to do? I spent the beginning of this week feeling sorry for myself and eating chocolate and weeping, and occaisonally screaming and slamming doors. I got some uplifting peptalks from my mommy friends Sarah and Cheryl (thanks ladies--you don't know how much you helped me) It is time for me to put on my big-girl pants and make some changes.

    1. Make a daily to-do list. I never understood the power of a to-do list. Write stuff down? Do it? Cross it off? Oh yeah! Instead of saying to myself "What the heck did I do today?" I can see what I did, even if there is seeming chaos around me. I think this will also help calm my swirling thoughts down too.
    2. Prep/cook dinner during Char's naptime. I was balking against this one. Naptime is *my* time. I set Emm up with a craft and a movie, then I can curl up with my knitting or a book. This will have to be sacrificed so I can stop the screaming at 4:30. Hopefully it is temporary.
    3. Breathe
    4. Stop working at 9:30PM, even if there is still work to do. I know I need at least one hour a day that is not for childcare and housework or I will not be climbing out of my hole any time soon.
    5. Get out of the House. Playgroup twice a week, therapy once, stretching out errands to last all week, playdates whenever we can.
    6. Less coffee, more water. Maybe part of my problem is that I am too jacked up on caffeine?

    That's all I have so far. Is there anything I'm missing? I think I can see a pinprick of light at the end of this tunnel--I just need to keep moving, right?

    Sunday, September 24, 2006

    A New Sweater!

    click on pictures to enlarge
    After battling with the buttonhole band until I thought I would lose my mind, I give you Bulky Cabled Cardi

    Designer: Stefanie Japel of Glampyre Knits
    Yarn: Patons Shetland Chunky 75% acrylic, 25% wool, in Deep Plum (colour now discontinued)
    Needles: size 9 mm, 7 mm, and 5 mm

    Notes:I had a hard time with the button band. I ended up abandoning the pattern instructions and winging it on my own. The rest of the sweater just flew off of my needles. I really like the top-down construction as there were only two seams to sew. Making-up went very quiclky. I finished it just in time--the leaves are changing and there is a definite nip in the air. Hubby says the back looks like Klingon a good way. Thanks, Hon! I think your geek is showing a little.

    Friday, September 22, 2006

    The view from down there.

    This is what happens when you let your three-year-old play with your camera. I don't think he did too badly! If you want to see any of these pictures full-sized, just click on them.

    I was hoping I could post a picture of a beautiful finished cabled cardigan, but it is in time-out for having buttonbands that misbehave. Oh, and the buttons I chose make the sweater look like a clown costume. I am going to cast on some wristwarmers or possibly a sweater for Char in front of the insolent thing. That will show it. I don't need a naughty sweater to satisfy my knitting needs!

    Monday, September 18, 2006

    The Great Tomato Caper

    Scene: Jen's kitchen, around 1:00PM on a Sunday afternoon
    Characters: Jen and Richard

    Jen: Hon, what would you like for lunch?
    Richard: What do we have?
    Jen: How about soup? Oh, and there are some tomatoes left over from canning, so we can have tomato sandwiches too.
    Richard: Ok, sounds good.

    Jen proceeds to putter around, opening cans, getting bread and condiments out. She looks over at the corner of the counter where a container of tomatoes were last seen. The container is now empty. (Cue ominous music) Puzzled, Jen searches the kitchen for the tomatoes.

    Jen: Hon, have you seen the tomatoes? They were right here (points to empty container on counter)
    Richard: Are you sure you had tomatoes?
    Jen: Yes, they were right here. (points at counter)
    Richard: Are you really sure you had them?
    Jen: (still confused) Hmmmmm, I guess we'll have bologna sandwiches.

    The family sits down to eat.

    Richard: I need to go to the store. Do you need anything?
    Jen: Milk, bananas, and tomatoes, I guess. (Cue ominous music)

    Cut to dinnertime. The family sits down to eat tacos with inferior store-bought tomatoes. The evening then proceeds as most evenings do. Children get bathed, dishes get done, Emmett is tucked into bed while Char stays up to play with the grownups a bit longer.

    Richard and Charlotte are sitting on the floor in the living room, playing with toys. Emmett's lunch bag is close by. It is suspiciously heavy. Richard opens it.

    It is full of delicious garden tomatoes.

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    Look what I can do!

    I feel a kinship with my Pioneer Foremothers today.

    What you are looking at is 9 litres of salsa made from tomatoes grown in my aunt's garden and 7 litres of apple-cranberry salsa made from apples grown in my backyard.

    I did all of this and only sustained one injury. Not bad for a day's work!

    The verdict is in...

    ...And we still don't really know what is going on with our little Emmett. We saw the developmental pediatrician yesterday. It was 3:00 in the afternoon and Emm was positively squirrely. He would not do the tests that the doctor wanted him to do to test his development. Based on his behaviour at the appointment and the way he interacted with Richard, her, and me she can positively say he is not Autistic. As best as she can guess he has an Oral-Motor Disorder. He has all of the symptoms on the list for Oral Motor disorder and very few of the oral apraxia ones. As far as I can gather that means his facial muscles are not strong enough and/or he can't co-ordinate them to make words.

    The doctor said if we wanted to dig really deep we could go to a geneticist in The City and have his chromosomes checked. His ears are smoother than other ears and this leads her to believe that he may have a chromosomal defect that is causing his speech problems. A test like this would do nothing to further his treatment, it would only satisfy scientific curiosity. I am not interested in turning my boy into a lab rat at this point, but maybe when he is old enough for me to explain the blood tests and why we are doing them, we might consider it. Richard and I are now engaged in discussions to decide exactly whose side of the family the defective chromosomes came from (jokenly, of course).

    All I know for sure is that there will be no end in sight for speech therapy. Since this appointment I have also been referred to a Provincial agency that provides support to families of children with develpomental delays. Emm is technically not delayed "enough" to qualify since it is only his speech that is affected, but it would be nice to find out if there is extra support out there for us. We were considered because Emm's speech delay is so profound. I'll take all the help I can get!

    Emmett is doing his part. He is trying to make new shapes with his lips and he is trying to make new sounds. We are trying different ways to communicate now, sometimes we use signs, sometimes we use a picture board (this is proving to be quite successful). We may need to get a video phone--I gave Emm the phone to chat with my mother last night and he walked into the diningroom with the reciever and as he "talked" to her he pointed at various things in the room. He also waved "good bye" to her when she said good bye to him.

    I am still processing how I feel, but overall I am hopeful.

    Monday, September 4, 2006

    It's a miracle!

    As I was hanging my laundry on the clothesline I was matching up the socks that were in the load. They all had partners. I'd better go buy some lottery tickets!

    Saturday, September 2, 2006

    Saturday morning fun.

    Click on this link to see one of the best uses of treadmills I have come across. Don't try this at your gym!!

    Ok Go

    Friday, September 1, 2006

    I've been dumped.

    By my hairdresser. She moved to Halifax, the salon closed down and she didn't tell me. How did I find this out? It started a couple of days ago while I was looking in the mirror at my limp locks and contemplating what to do with them. I even bought some temporary hair colouring mousse in vibrant purple.

    Today I came to my senses and called my salon. An unfamiliar voice answered the phone. I asked for Tammy, my stylist, and the unfamiliar voice said "Oh she moved to Halifax and her salon is closed. There are a couple of stylists from that salon that now work here.(And they brought thier phone number with them)" Oh. Great. I need a haircut so badly I am now booked with "Jen" from the old salon. I don't know what she looks like or what my hair will look like when she is done with me, but I am getting pretty desperate. Not desperate enough for a grocery-store or Zeller's haircut, but close.

    I have gone to the old salon for almost 10 years. This is almost like starting dating again after a divorce. Now I have to choose someone new to tell all my secrets to. I can't just sit in the chair and say "Make me look nice" and have her know exactly what I want. I am a little nervous but optimistic. I guess it was time for a fresh new start and I didn't even know it.

    What is going to happen to the purple mousse? Well, I may just have to see what Char and Emm look like with fresh new hairdos too!!

    Friday, August 25, 2006

    Cute Kid Stuff

    Char got stung by a wasp on her upper lip today. She now looks like I took her for discount lip injections. Poor little monkey. She can still suck her thumb, so she is not totally traumatized. I am playing nurse-mommy and must check on her constantly to make sure it is only her lip that is swelling. Daddy will be bringing baby antihistamines home so I will be able to sleep tonight, and not keep constant vigil at her bedside. I have been calling her Angelina all afternoon.

    While we were at the park she stood up unassisted on her blanket until my friend and I noticed, and then she dropped to her knees. I think walking is just around the corner.

    She is turning into a little mimic. If you say "Hello" like you are answering the phone she will hold whatever toy she has in her hand up to her ear and say "Ah-Ooo". She also barks at dogs and cats. We missed this stage with Emmett so I am having a blast with it now. Hearing someone in the house say Ma Ma and Da Da is wonderful!

    Emm now has the manual dexterity to remove the tiny screws holding the battery doors in place on some of his toys. Am I living with a future neurosurgeon? I taught him how to use my camera last night, so I am anxious to get the film developed to see how he does with photography. I am a favourite subject. The blue spots in front of my eyes are just beginning to fade.

    Emmett helped me make pancakes for breakfast this morning and cracked the egg in a bowl and did not get any shells in, then he measured the dry ingredients for me. He is just so observant and can master new skills so quickly. His communication is improving, even if he isn't speaking English yet. His body language is getting more and more expressive and he is making up his own signs.

    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    Some Random Pictures from the Past Two Weeks

    Hi Honey, We're Home!

    We are finally back and home and getting settled into our regular routine after a whirlwind two weeks.

    The kids had a blast at Grandpa Rick and Nana Holly's and now have a standing invitation to visit for a week every summer. Char almost grew gills and fins she spent so much time in Nana's pool. Emmett hung out with Uncle Devon and learned how to play Game Cube.

    Richard and I spent the last couple days of our trip taking it easy. We swam in the Bay of Fundy at Shediac beach, which was cold but absolutely wonderful. We also spent a day with our friends Ross and Cynthia. The morning was spent at Hopewell Rocks then Cynthia and I went shoe shopping. The day was capped off with dinner at our new favourite hangout, The Pumphouse Brewery. I sampled blueberry ale, and Richard finally found chicken wings hot enough to satisfy him.

    Upon arriving home with tired and slightly more tanned children, we dropped our bags on the floor and repacked to go Up North to Manitoba Farm Girl's wedding party.

    Richard helped my mom with the kids while I attended to assorted bridesmaid duties, then it was back in the van for the trip back home. We found out the hard way that Emmett now suffers from carsickness on long road trips. We also found out he responds well to Gravol.

    My friend Janelle followed us home from Up North so we had a little slumber party at my house before she had to drive to Winnipeg to pick up her husband at the airport. We haven't hung out in two years since she moved to BC, so the time we spent together was precious.

    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    Greetings from Rainy PEI

    We drove over Confederation Bridge onto Prince Edward Island yesterday. When we left the only plan we had was to avoid anything related to Anne of Green Gables.

    That is how we ended up driving all along Malpeque Bay and up to Port Hill to wander around a museum built at an old ship building yard. The home of the ship builder had been restored and there were even friendly guides dressed in period-appropriate costumes to tell us about the artifacts in the house. We also learned how ships were built and looked at a blacksmith and carpentry shop on the shore of the bay.

    We backtracked a bit and headed over to New Glasgow because we heard that is where the best lobster dinners could be found. We lined up (always a good sign), chose our beast and waited in a boisterous dining room for our feast. A bucket of mussels and a basket of homemade rolls was placed on our table for an appetizer with bowls of seafood chowder on the side. Next came salads, then the giant red crustaceaon. We had our choice of 5 different kinds of pie, three different kinds of cake and several flavours of icecream for dessert. The only thing you couldn't have seconds of was the lobster. The atmosphere and food reminded me of a big church supper. The potato salad was to die for. My internet buddy Susan was right when she said we would roll out of the restaurant. We spent some time in the giftshop and I bought Emmett a t-shirt dyed with real PEI dirt. We also spent time at the New Glasgow Toy Factory where we marveled at the hand made wooden toys and puzzles.

    I mastered map reading while driving around the Island. Those of you who know me well will fall off your chairs laughing at the thought of me navigating while Richard drove. We only sort of got lost once. Hey, it is a tiny island--how lost could we get?? My prairie brain had a hard time with the map because it seemed to be a full-size representation of the island. In Manitoba, a couple of inches of highway on the map could equal at least a three hour drive. The width of both of my hands placed side to side on this map (the distance from Kensigton to Charlottetown)is just over 50 km. I had to be extra vigilant at watching out for our turns. No easy feat since I just loved watching all of the rolling farmland pass by my car window. Yes, I am a hick and couldn't get over the deep red colour of the soil--almost clashing with the deep green of the grass. PEI is a beautiful island, and more than just Anne of Green Gables.

    When we got back to Moncton we found the street blocked off in front of our hotel and stages and lights set up. It turns out Moncton celebrates Acadian Day a little early.

    We are off to check out Magnetic Hill and the beach at Shediac today. Tomorrow our invisible internet friends Cynthia and Ross are taking us to Hopewell Rocks.

    Stay tuned!

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Greetings from Sunny New Brunswick

    I am writing this post in my hotel room in beautiful downtown Moncton. I wish I could fill this page with adventures, but sadly Hubby and I are pretty slow-moving on vacation. We haven't even rented a car until today. Our first three days of holiday were spent doing the things that parents do when there are no kids around: sleeping when they want, eating when and where they want and sleeping when they want.

    Ok, we also explored downtown Moncton on foot and gazed in awe at the beautiful stone churches and cathedral on Church street, wandered along the shore of the Peticodiac River on a foot/bike path and I dragged Hubby into a craft store to fondle some yarn. I came down with food poisoning one evening but was back on my feet the next afternoon.

    I love that there are sidewalk cafes all along Main Street. We have only grabbed a quick breakfast at our hotel so far--we don't want to eat indoors if we don't have too. Last night we sat outside and ate cajun food while watching the local colour wander by and listening to buskers that were just down the street. The Bananas Foster was to die for!. I think tonight we will be dining at the Irish pub that is just across the street--Hubby is having a hankering for steak and kidney pie. We will also be searching out a proper lobster feast--but that may be saved for one of our road trips to PEI or Shediac (Lobster capital of NB).

    Well, I have to run--a yarn studio is calling my name. (Hubby will have to remember to bring something to read)

    Happy Stagette Party--MB Farm Girl!!! I'll raise a glass of something to you tomorrow night.

    Thursday, August 3, 2006

    Putting the "knit" back into "knit wit"

    I haven't been knitting much lately.

    I worked on Branching Out and a cotton/silk sweater while at camp but got discouraged when my wrists couldn't handle the cotton yarn. I left my darning needle at home so I couldn't move my life line up as I completed pattern repeats on my scarf--I left it in its original place until the scarf was longer over the life line than under. I thought I would be tempting the Knitting Goddess if I pulled it out any sooner than necessary. Thankfully, no frogging was required.

    My enthusiasm for knitting was re-kindled when my good friend and knitting partner Poppins brought me back some crazy self-striping sock yarn from her trip to Germany. Clearly, some Jaywalker socks had to be cast on. The zigzag pattern nicely highlights the bold pink, orange and red stripe in the yarn. I turned a few heads at my Weight Watchers meeting as I knit them last night. They are my first real attempt at sock knitting, so I will be mastering the heel turn and toe graft. Right now I am having fun watching all the pretty colours show up as I go around and around the leg.

    Poppins is also quite the enabler. This sweater showed up in my inbox one morning. I must have it. I visit the website daily to gaze at its loveliness and imagine what colour I will make it in (suggestions?) In fact, the yarn for this pattern is on my shopping list for my trip Out East next week. I will be bugging hubby to download the pattern today (I can't remember the PayPal password).

    Hubby was teasing me about my chronic case of "startitis". He has not seen me complete an adult-sized sweater since he has known me. He rolled his eyes at me while I explained how I needed the patttern for a bulky cabled sweater as I already had the yarn in my stash. I just never knew until I saw that pattern what it was going to be. You see, the yarn in question was already the back of a sweater I started before I was pregnant with Emmett. I have grown to dislike this sweater immensely. I suddenly realized how very little I would wear a bulky pullover turtleneck. I can't stand turtlenecks and prefer layers since my internal thermostat can go from Arctic to Equator in minutes sometimes. I toyed with the idea of converting the original pullover pattern into a cardigan, but then this number caught my eye. Top down construction, minimal seaming, interesting texture, cables--it was love at first sight. The back of the pullover was frogged for swatching, and now the cardigan is emerging from the needles--this sucker is on 9mm needles and the yarn is chunky, it is taking shape quickly. I had to go up a size in needles so the garter bits are a little holey, but I still like the look. This will be my plane knitting while on vacation next week--I think a giant plastic circular needle should make it through security. I may make this the priority project so I can get some wear out of it this Autumn.

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Life without labels

    People keep asking me if Emmett is autistic. I don't know. We won't have a definitive diagnosis for him until he is seen by a developmental pediatrician and occupational therapist. We don't know when that will be. At the moment his behavior and symptoms are all over the map and he doesn't fit a single set of criteria for anything. Until we find the top of the waiting lists we plod along, visiting the Speech Language Pathologist and following her instructions as best we can.

    I kind of like not having a diagnosis for now. On one hand, when we can name what is going on I am sure his therapy will change and be more effective. On the other hand, people treat him normally right now, just like any other little boy. I am afraid that will change when we have a diagnosis. He will become Emmett the [fill in a scary-sounding disorder] instead of just Emmett.

    People also think that life must be hard with a non-verbal preschooler. Don't get me wrong, we have our moments, but overall it is not bad. My ears are not ringing with a constant stream of "No!" "Mine!" "Why?". We can also play dumb when Emmett want's something we don't want to give him. (Psychological warfare is the cornerstone of parenting a toddler/preschooler, to you non-parents out there). Charlotte is becoming more verbal now and saying a few words. I have visions of her translating for Emmett sometime in the near future. Maybe they will make up their own language that only they understand. We will be sooooo screwed when that happens!

    I worry about what the future holds for my little guy. I have to keep telling myself that I shouldn't worry aobut things that haven't happened yet. I will just love my little boy (and girl) for who they are and know that we are strong enough as a family to face whatever comes our way. Right??

    Monday, July 24, 2006

    There's no place like home.

    I just got home from a week away. Sleeping in my own bed next to hubby was wonderful last night. Last week Char, Emm and I started out at a summer camp where I worked as the nurse. The kids had a blast and the campers really took them under their wings. Emm always had someone to play ball with or dig in the sand around the volleyball court. I even came home with the number of a camper who lives in my city and wants to babysit them!! Thankfully I didn't have to deal with anything serious beyond a mass epidemic of The Itch. I almost ran out of antihistamines. Emm and Char were ok because I didn't let them go in the lake. Besides The Itch I just had to put a lot of bandaids on a lot of bumps and scrapes. One kid came to me after butting heads with another camper--he developed a spectacular black eye that he couldn't wait to show his friends back home. Emm got a little homesick. Everyday he would take me by the hand and lead me to the van or to the road. I missed his daddy too!

    The rest of the week was spent Up North in my hometown. I attended the bridal shower of my good friend (Manitoba Farm Girl if you read my comments). We had a blast hanging out together and stuffing our faces with cheesecake at the shower. I got to play farmer and help her and her hubby water cows and pick berries. I even named a calf for them, accidentally. I also played nurse to one of thier horses who ran into a barbed-wire fence. He ran right up to me to show me his owies. Emm played in a garage full of kittens and tried to take one home. I had to tear a little black kitten from his hands as he cried at me. It is too bad we are both allergic or I would have let him keep it.

    Mom's house was stressful. Her home is painfully clean so we were able to trash it in the first five minutes we were there. I had to run out and buy latches for the cupboard doors to keep Char out. Mom also had porcelain dolls at floor level that had to be taken away. Char and Emm were really good at finding new things to get into. Always having to be on guard made me so tense. My house is comfortably messy and there is nothing in lower cupboards or on shelves that can't be taken down and thrown around. I prefer to spend my days not having to redirect and say no constantly.

    Hubby took the bus to Mom's house on Saturday so that we could drive home together as a family--a 4-hour drive home with two kids under age three was not something I was looking forward too alone. It was with great relief that I picked him up from the bus depot. The kids were thrilled to see him and glued themselves to him until we loaded up the van to come home.

    I almost didn't recognize my house when we got home--we had a two-level porch built and it was finished while I was gone. I am looking forward to relaxing on the new balcony outside my bedroom this evening. It looks fantastic and our house looks so different now.

    Emm had a breakthrough at Grandma's house--he can blow bubbles now. Our therapist will be thrilled when we show her tomorrow. He can make the "F" sound now. I am so proud of him.

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Scardy Cat

    I am a big scardy cat. I have a yellow belly, am lily livered and wear Nancy pants. There was a terrific windstorm blowing outside my window last night. Trees fell on cars. There were power lines and traffic lights down, a fire was started somehow somewhere in the city. A couple of roofs blew away. The DJ on the radio said winds reached speeds of 100 km/h at one point. All I know is that my house was shaking and making all sorts of grumpy groany noises. My bedroom shouldn't shake unless I have something to do with it. There is a partially broken tree branch dangling precairously over our car right now, as I am typing. I did not sleep. I guess I thought our house would fly away if I didn't sit awake asking God to protect us. Since there isn't really anything else I can do, keeping constant vigil is what I did. This is not the only time I have sat awake keeping our house from blowing away. I am quite afraid of thunderstorms and tornados. Before yesterday I would have said I am terrified of thunderstorms--that word is now reserved for windstorms. Hubby laughs at me. He slept like a log. I think Emmett would have too if he hadn't heard Char waking up. Her bedroom has a big tree right outside the window and the wind howled in there. Emm's room is in the middle of the house and was quiet and still--I know because I crawled into bed with him for a while. Our bedroom was the noisiest and scariest. Our partially completed porch stood tall and strong through it all--it is attached to our house and 12-foot concrete pilings. I have a feeling our house could blow away and the porch would still stand tall.

    In addition to windstorms and thunderstorms ladders make me queasy and horror movies give me the heebie jeebies. (even the previews for them make my stomach lurch) I have a pathological, irrational fear of snakes of any size shape or form. I am not nuts about confined spaces either. Yep, I am a big scardy cat.

    Ok, fess up: what are you afraid of?

    Monday, July 3, 2006

    I need a weekend....

    ....To recover from my weekend. It all started Friday, when we drove across town to help unload the moving truck parked in front of my Grandma's new condo. She moved almost halfway across the country from a city that straddles the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. Her license plate says Alberta--she always said the Alberta side of town was better than the Saskatchewan side. Can't the Prairie Provinces all just get along? We should stop ragging on The Gap so much!

    Saturday brought Canada day and associated festivities. We biked across town to the river and celebrated with our city with fun, food and music. The fireworks happened past bedtime, but we heard them from our house.

    Sunday brought a trip up to The Lake to see MIL's new cabin, launch a dinghy in her lake to take water samples and lose my sandals in the knee-deep mud that passes for a beach. The sandals were recovered by my brave husband as I was already pretty grossed out by being stuck knee-deep in stinky mud. We also drove to the civilized lake nearby that had a real sand beach and sailboats floating in it to play with Emm and Char's cousin, Seth, and his mommy. The kids had a blast, all causing trouble together and sharing crackers and ice cream cones. Emm even gave Seth a hug goodbye and waved with both hands when it was time to go. The highlight of the day was when Seth had to stop in front of a chicken restaurant to cockle-doodle-do at the chicken on the sign. Did I mention he is two? There will be pictures soon--I had to use my old-fashioned camera as the digital took the weekend off. The kids slept very well last night! I was a good mommy and laid the SPF 40 on thickly so there were no sunburns! Yay!

    In honour of Canada's 138th birthday I unearth this old chestnut: I am Canadian Who remembers it? Whose chest still swells with pride when they hear it? Which of my American readers secretly wishes they could be Canadian for a just a minute when they hear it?

    I need to go lay down now...

    Thursday, June 29, 2006

    New Challenges

    We survived our trip Up North. Three days is my limit with my parents--after that we start to get on each other's nerves. The funeral was wonderful and heartbreaking. So many sweet, personal touches. It was a heartfelt and loving tribute to my friend's Dad.

    I have a new job. I have recently been appointed Superintendant of my church's Sunday school. Talk about jumping into the deep end blindfolded with both hands tied behind your back! I have never even taught Sunday school--now I am in charge of the whole shebang. I have my own office and closet full of craft supplies. Thankfully I am starting in the summer when things are a little more relaxed and toned-down. My first class is Sunday. I am scared and excited all at the same time.

    Emmett contiues to make progress with his speech and communication. He sometimes shakes his head "yes" now. It doesn't happen very often, but he is three, after all! He is trying harder and harder to converse. He says "mama" from time to time. My heart sings when I hear it.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Father's Day, 2007???

    I had better get started now, if I want Richard to have his own hand-knit Ferrari.

    He said "No".

    Emmett shook his head "no" for the first time yesterday. I have never been so thrilled to have someone say no to me before!!! He went outside and got in the stroller around 5:00 PM. When I asked if he wanted to come inside for supper, he shook his head no and just sat there. I told him we could go for a walk after Daddy got home and we ate, so he patiently sat there. I kept asking if he wanted to come in and eat and he kept shaking his head. He sat there over an hour waiting for hubby to get home to eat and take him out.

    Therapy went really well today. Emm tried so hard to blow bubbles and managed to get one aloft. We have to work on blowing feathers, cotton balls and bubbles this week. He finds pursing his lips hard--he tends to close his mouth and exhale through his nose instead of his lips. It is funny because he can suck on a straw just fine, but he can't figure out how to blow.

    We have to make a sad trip this week. My dear friend (the one whose wedding party I am in and who I have known since grade 5) lost her dad on Father's Day. We will be going to his funeral at the end of the week. My arms are aching to give her a giant hug right now. Readers, can you all send some positive vibes and prayers to my friend? She and her mom were with him when he took his last breath so he was sent Up with their love and left this world peacefully. He will be sorely missed.

    Saturday, June 17, 2006

    Happy Father's Day

    Dear Daddy,
    We have so much fun with you. Thanks for playing with us and taking us to the park and getting up in the middle of the night when we are lonely and need some company. You warm up a mean bottle.
    Happy Father's Day

    Hugs and Love,
    Emmett and Charlotte

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Emmett has a crush.

    Ah, how fast they grow up! Emmett's head was turned by a pretty little girl visiting the neighbours yesterday. An older woman at the ripe age of 4, she had long dark hair and big blue eyes with long lashes. The boy has good taste. He passed every one of his backyard toys over the fence to her, then started to give her the baby apples he could reach on the trees and then handed over a box of his best lego. I couldn't get him to go inside. He even waved at her with both hands when she had to go inside. This boy doesn't wave at anyone. The speech therapist was even impressed. Richard needs to have a chat with Emmett about how you shouldn't give up you best stuff right away--it is not good to set the bar too high at first with women. Poor guy. He was so lovestruck!

    I had sushi for lunch and Emmett swiped one of my cucumber rolls that had wasabi on it. He had one lick and it soon became apparent he isn't ready for sushi just yet--thankfully wasabi doesn't burn for long!!

    Saturday, June 10, 2006

    You have to be *this* tall to go on the ride.

    Today Emmett turned three. We started out the day with a parade, ate day-glo orange Dora cake and then went to the fair. Poor Emmett wanted to go on rides but he was just a bit short for most of them. We toured three funhouses and before he had a meltdown. Richard remembers when he was too short to go on rides and totally sympathized. The parade was a huge hit--especially the tiny Shriner cars and the clowns that gave out candy. Charlotte loved the day-glo frosting.

    Friday, June 9, 2006

    Do I need a title?

    I finally got to talk to MIL today. I thought I was calm and rational--she critiqued my delivery and accused me of attacking her. Grrrrr. At least she knows how I feel--we'll see if she actually listens now. Don't know what I am talking about? Scroll down to "The Honeymoon is Over" I don't feel like typing the story all over again. Time to get on with life.

    I broke through my two weeks of gaining with a nice three-pound loss last week. I am now down in the lowest WW points bracket and learning all over again how to eat. Who knew two points could be so important?? I am sticking with it. I have lost 12 pounds so far, so I must be doing something right.

    It is Emm's third birthday tomorrow. How time flies. He is so tall and grown-up looking now. I still remember the pudgy little butterball that would greet me every morning with a smile. He now comes down the stairs and helps himself to breakfast. We will take him to the summer fair and eat ice cream cake to celebrate. (must call Dairy Queen and see if they have Dora cakes.....) I will resist the call of the mini doughnut. Really I will!! His cough is almost gone and he has his spunk back, so I know we will have fun on his big day. How many kids get a fair on their birthday???

    Monday, June 5, 2006

    It is too quiet here.

    There is a little boy passed out asleep on the diningroom rug. He is fighting a cold so bad I had to get him a prescription for codiene cough medicine this weekend. I thought he had allergies so we got some allergy meds as well. One dose of the cough medicine was enough to calm down the cough so he could sleep. That is all he wants to do now. He even turned up his nose at a bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast this morning (that is not his usual breakfast, but when a kid is sick and not eating, you pull out all of the favourites to entice) . He seems to pick up every bug that walks down the street--any one know how to build up a kid's immune system?

    This weekend was a bad one to have a sick kid--hubby was busy running a gaming convention so I was on my own the whole weekend with the kiddies. It is really hard to tend to a sickie when you also have an energetic baby who wants nothing more than to use the boy on the floor for a speed bump. I spent all of Sunday moving the speed bump to higher ground. He repeatedly made his way back to the floor. What is the attraction? The carpet is scratchy and there is no underpad. We even moved him to our bed this morning for cartoons and dozing. After his favourite show was over (Poko) he came back downstairs to the floor.

    Last night I was still trying to delude myself that his cough was allergies and his lethargy was from the super-strong cough medicine so we went to a bar-be-que. I feel like Typhoid Mary today. I hope no one hates me toooo much. I really wanted to get out and talk to grownups!

    Emm's birthday is coming up this weekend and we are heading into The City for a wedding. We also found out there is going to be a giant children's festival going on. Something to make us feel less guilty about leaving town instead of having a birthday party!!

    It is too quiet here.

    There is a little boy passed out asleep on the diningroom rug. He is fighting a cold so bad I had to get him a prescription for codiene cough medicine this weekend. I thought he had allergies so we got some allergy meds as well. One dose of the cough medicine was enough to calm down the cough so he could sleep. That is all he wants to do now. He even turned up his nose at a bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast this morning (that is not his usual breakfast, but when a kid is sick and not eating, you pull out all of the favourites to entice) . He seems to pick up every bug that walks down the street--any one know how to build up a kid's immune system?

    This weekend was a bad one to have a sick kid--hubby was busy running a gaming convention so I was on my own the whole weekend with the kiddies. It is really hard to tend to a sickie when you also have an energetic baby who wants nothing more than to use the boy on the floor for a speed bump. I spent all of Sunday moving the speed bump to higher ground. He repeatedly made his way back to the floor. What is the attraction? The carpet is scratchy and there is no underpad. We even moved him to our bed this morning for cartoons and dozing. After his favourite show was over (Poko) he came back downstairs to the floor.

    Last night I was still trying to delude myself that his cough was allergies and his lethargy was from the super-strong cough medicine so we went to a bar-be-que. I feel like Typhoid Mary today. I hope no one hates me toooo much. I really wanted to get out and talk to grownups!

    Emm's birthday is coming up this weekend and we are heading into The City for a wedding. We also found out there is going to be a giant children's festival going on. Something to make us feel less guilty about leaving town instead of having a birthday party!!

    Thursday, June 1, 2006

    Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit.

    Who knew a box of beans could be the secret key to toddler and pre-schooler happiness? I wish I had known sooner. Yesterday while trying to buy some time to make dinner I poured all of the dried beans in my pantry into a plastic bin, threw in some funnels and measuring cups and set them in front of Emmett. I did not hear a peep from him until it was time to eat. I have heard from reliable sources (hi Poppins!) that driving toy cars through beans can be super fun as well. Cheap and fun--sounds like a great date!

    Tuesday, May 30, 2006


    Therapy went well today. Emm is getting to know the therapist and her routine better so the session went pretty smoothly. She was impressed with Emm's new ability to keep his mouth closed for longer periods. We worked on that at home by practicing making lipstick prints on paper. We have to work on eye contact and improved communication this week--a much more challenging task. We have to work on not "telling" Emm things and letting him fill in blanks more. We have some songs to sing and games to play to work on that. We have to teach him some new signs too. Lots of work to do.

    I fell off the Weight Watcher's wagon pretty hard and landed at McDonald's this weekend. Not my finest moment. I am not looking forward to weigh-in tomorrow, but I will face the music and look that scale in the eye. I am trying to be more honest with my food journal as well--no creative accounting of points allowed! I just gave away a bunch of my bigger clothes--I need to shape up because I can't go up. I also need to figure out how to stop snacking while I am cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. Hubby won't buy my story that he needs to do the dishes to help my weight loss efforts. I posted a favourite low-point muffin recipe on my food blog so we can all eat better together.

    I have started my first lace knitting project -- a leafy scarf. I have to do a lot of tinking (ripping back for you non-knitters) so by the time I have finished it I probably will have knit it a few times, but it is so pretty I must perservere. I am doing it in a lovely hand-dyed amethyst-coloured merino wool.

    Saturday, May 27, 2006


    Here is a baby sweater I made for a friend--she picked the yarn and pattern.
    Yarn: Bernat Baby Boucle 100% acrylic. The colour is mostly lavendar with bits of pale pink and blue mixed in.
    Pattern: Baby Hooded Pullover from March 2006 Creative Knitting Magazine
    Size: 9-12 months (Char is usually in 18-month size so these sweaters are generously proportioned)
    Needles: 5.5 and 6 mm (I had to size up to get proper gauge)
    Notes: This boucle was tricky to work with sometimes and it was pilling up as fast as I was knitting it. Good thing the sweater is already pretty fuzzy or it would be more obvious. The yarn fluffed up nicely with washing and blocking. I seamed it with matching, smooth yarn. I am not a dummy! I added the tassle because a pointy hood needs a tassle. The orginal sweater was knit with a smoother yarn and embroidered with flowers. I left the embroidery off of this one. I like the pattern--I think I will knit one for Char--in a smoother yarn and then I can practice my embroidery skills!

    click on pictures to enlarge them

    The Honeymoon is Over.

    Well, 10 pounds down, another 12 to go. Weight Watchers is great, except when you are having a bad week and are eating chocolate chips by the handful to medicate. I have had such a hard time controlling my eating this week and am in a downward spiral. I have PMS, I am mad at my mother in law and my wrists hurt too much to knit since I have started cycling. Bring on the junkfood! My weight was up at my last meeting, I am sure it will be up at this one too. I just cannot keep away from the junk this week. The thought of counting points today is almost too much.

    The wrists will be getting better--my new splints are on order and hopefully they will help. I am also going to buy some gloves for cycling. I started swatching a summery cotton-silk blend for a pretty sweater for me and it is killing me that I cannot work on it. (Blogger is not letting me use apostrophes today) Knitting also keeps me from snacking in the evening. Double whammy.

    Why am I mad at my mother in law (this time)? Could it be that when she babysat she let my son play with a spray bottle of coloured liquid that she did not know the ingredients of? Thankfully I knew that the bottle contained food colouring and water because I gave it to Emm to spray paint the snow with over the winter. Why did she still have it? Who knows? He and his sister were dyed blue when I picked them up. I am not against kids getting dirty--dirt washes off. You do not let children play with unlabled bottles. It could have been fertilizer in there! MIL is also taking it upon herself to potty train my boy. Behind my back. Without my permission. I really need to call my church and get the names of some nice kids in the youth group who can baby sit. I am angry enough now that it is a good thing MIL is going away for a week so I can cool off. At this moment I am not sure I can allow unsupervised visits anymore.--Oh yeah, she knows I am on Weight Watchers, so to show her support she offered me the Big Mac coupons she got in the mail. Thanks a lot. You really know how to help a girl out.
    Where are the chocolate chips?

    Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    Baby is always right.

    In my never ending quest for a full night's sleep, I am trying to eliminate one of Char's two daily naps. Clearly Char thinks she needs more beauty sleep than I think she does. Here she is at the forbidden nap time of 5:30 PM. I hope hubby gets home soon, we could have a quiet dinner for two before we play rock, paper, scissors to see who wakes her up. (Emm is visiting Grandma right now)

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    Bridget Jones was here.

    The nice mailman dropped a box on my doorstep this morning. What was in it? Why a special "slimming" slip to wear under a certain bridesmaid dress as well as a clingly floaty number I bought to wear to another wedding. It looks and feels like a sausage casing, but man, oh man, does it do the trick. I tried it on under the clingy dress and it looks like a whole new outfit. The dress just floats over the industrial-strenghth Spandex and my baby belly is perfectly smoothed out. My waist even nips in a little now. Hubby must never, ever see me in it. It is like the scene in Bridget Jone's Diary where she has to decide if she should look good in the dress by wearing the granny undies or if she should look good out of the dress with the pretty undies.

    I am pretty sure I can still get lucky with my man either way. I think seeing me in a glorified girdle is less traumatizing than the time he saw me give birth and then was ordered into the bathroom by the midwife to make sure I didn't topple over in the shower. He had to help dry me off and wipe up the blood that was dripping down my legs and then put the giant pillow-sized pad in my undies and pull them up. Yep, I married a keeper.
    Note to those readers who don't have children: sorry, that is the way it is after you give birth. It is not like they show on TV or the movies at all!! Oh, and hubby was not so helpful during the birth of our first--he had to leave during the whole pushing thing because he was going to hit the floor if he didn't. I still give him an "A" for effort--the poor guy is pretty squeamish on a good day.

    Sorry for the rambling and tangents--this is what happens when you blog after having half a pot of coffee with breakfast.

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    The Politics of Pole Dancing.

    As all of you in blogland know, I will be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding this summer. I recently got an email from the Maid of Honour telling us that the bride thinks it would be super-fun if we took a pole-dancing class to celebrate her dwindling days of singlehood. I was very surprised. Clearly, I don't know this woman as well as I thought I did. We've been friends since our first meeting in fifth grade, mumble, mumble, cough ,cough years ago and I never thought she would want to do this--and we have done some pretty crazy things in the years we've known each other.

    My first reaction was: "Ew, gross, I would never do that!" After some time to think on it I have formed a much more coherent opinion. I also talked to several of my friends about this party and found them very clearly divided on the subject. It seems there is no middle ground when it comes to pole dancing. Some of my friends were really interested and said that it could be fun and asked me why I didn't want to be sexy for my husband. Others were in my camp and wondered what would be in it for them. They didn't see this as something that would make them feel sexy at all. One of my friends, a certified feminist (she has the woman's studies degree to back it up) was actually nauseous. I could hear her gagging over the phone. I noticed the people on the "con" side of the argument were a little older and married a little longer than the ones on the "pro" side. Have the older women had less exposure to the media influences that tell us how to be sexy and what is sexy now? I doubt it. We all watch TV and browse the magazines in the checkout line. Are we more self confidant and secure in our relationships and therefore more resistant to falling for these unrealistic expectations? Perhaps.

    I still stand by the "Ew gross" and raise it to a "Why do I have to try so hard to be sexy for my partner?" I don't believe it when people say that wearing uncomfortable lingerie and spike heels and swinging around on a large phallic object bolted to the floor is empowering, sexy and "for me" in any way. We are not celebrating our womanhood and being powerful and independent by doing something that is so clearly for men. I don't want to be sexy for my partner. I want to be sexy with my partner. There is a big difference in my book. Quite frankly, if I ever did try to swing from a pole my dancing would look more like the Elaine Bennis version of pole dancing, not the Carmen Electra variety.

    What about those that claim there are fitness benefits to be had? If I want to strengthen my core muscles I will take a pilates class, fully clothed, dignity intact. If I want to dance to celebrate my femininity and womanhood, I will do so by bellydancing--an artform that celebrates the female form in all of its curvy powerful glory with no stilettos and large phallic objects in sight. As for being sexy with my partner as opposed to being sexy for my partner? Well, that stuff is none of your business!

    I will go to the party, because I love my friend and am so very happy for her and her upcoming marriage. I will not dance on the pole. I will probably knit licorice thongs for everyone. I don't want to be a total party pooper --and undies made from candy are fun for all consenting adults.

    Are you wondering what hubby thought of all this? He just laughed. I didn't marry a man who needs me to subjugate and demean myself for his enjoyment. We don't believe in spectator sports behind closed doors--we are full contact participants.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Happy Mother's Day Part 2

    I hope everyone in blogland had a happy Mother's Day. My Mother's Day spread out over two days, lucky me. On Saturday my friend Poppins was ordered out of her home for top-secret Mom's Day crafting so we went shopping (I am always ready to help a friend in need--especially if it is a shopping emergency). I bought some yummy scrummy hand dyed Nova Scotian yarn destined to be a lovely lace scarf as well as a new book-not knitting or mommy related (The Time Traveler's Wife). The next day hubby baked me lemon pie and let me knit for hours. My wrists gave me hell for that one, but I don't regret it.

    I also got to surf the web and found a new blog that all mommas who love gossip should read (Rebecca, I am looking in your general direction.) Mamarazzi is the place to go for celebrity snark put together by several blogging mamas.

    Oh, check out my food blog for Crock-Pot Sloppy Joes. They feed a crowd and freeze well--great for emergency rations!!

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    So Cute.

    Here are the men of the house doing manly things.

    Emmett followed step-by-step behind his dad and didn't miss a spot, even mowing under the shrubs and lifting his front wheels when he got to the sidewalk. When they were finished he carefully parked his lawnmower in the garage beside the big one. It was just too funny!

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    My first meme

    From Crowjoy, who got it from Pete:

    If you comment i will:

    1.say something random i like about you
    2.tell what song/movie reminds me of you.
    3.i'll name something we should do together
    4.i'll say something that only makes sense 2 u & me(or just me)
    5.i'll tell my first, clearest memory of u.
    6.i'll ask u something i've always wondered about u.
    7.if i do all these things, you must post this on yr journal so you can do unto others as i have done to u.

    In "real" news I am doing a calorie-burning happy dance because at my last weigh-in I found out I have lost over 9 lbs since joining Weight Watchers. I can almost justify breaking my no clothes-buying rule. I bought a frilly little dress at Le Chateau to wear to a wedding next month. C'mon, you know if you find something in that store and it fits you must snap it up because sure as anything it won't be there when you come back.

    Gotta run--kids are calling.

    Tuesday, May 9, 2006

    New Questions

    We had our first session with the Speech Pathologist today. As of this moment we now have many, many questions and no answers. Why are Emmett's orofacial muscles weak? How do we strengthen them? Why can he sit with a pen and fill a sheet of paper with tiny squiggles but cannot undress for a bath without a lot of help? Why does he focus intently on a toy, but won't make eye contact with his playmate? The speech pathologist seems to think his reactions to certain stressful situations are inappropriately intense. She also doesn't think he interacts with people in an age-appropriate way. This means more referrals and more waiting. One referral is with the occupational therapist in her department, and one is with a pediatrician who specializes in child development. We are in for a loooooong wait for the doc appointment. The OT will probably be in a week or two.
    I am so happy we are starting to get the wheels in motion to get Emmett better, but I am so scared of these newly uncovered issues. I didn't realize how complex his situation was. I always saw the other problems but I was very quick to dismiss them--Moms are so good at looking at their children with rose-tinted glasses, we don't like having them removed.