Thursday, May 31, 2007

Three little pictures.

Life with my brilliant little boy Emmett is teaching me so much. Our new therapist has been helping me navigate the foggy waters of parenting a child with special needs. Her job is not only to work on speech, but to work on all aspects of his life. We set goals together that don't only include getting him to communicate with others, but how to interact in social situations and how to carry out basic tasks of living. Some days something as simple as pulling up his pants overwhelms my boy and he cries and fights.

The potty has been an ongoing battle. I refuse to teach Emm to use the potty using fear and domination. I don't want to crush his sensitive little spirit for the sake of some diapers. My boy cries if you even mention potty time. Well, at our last therapy session we realized that Emmett has become accustomed to the picture schedule that gets used every week. We lay out our plan with pictures on a board so he can see every step as it comes and it is comforting to him.

I tried out a bedtime schedule last night. Three pictures on the bathroom wall that show a bath, potty, then bed. That's it. Richard (the bedtime parent) showed Emmett the pictures and he eagerly followed each step--even the new scary one. He ran to the wall and pointed at each task as he completed it with a smile on his face. Nothing fell in the potty, but no tears fell either and that was all I was hoping for. This morning I showed him three more pictures that showed his morning routine plus one extra step. Potty, juice, TV. There were no tears and he eagerly sat on the potty. Again, nothing happened, but no tears and fighting either.

I am ever hopeful that if we continue with the picture schedule, three little steps at a time, we can get rid of the diapers before we know it.

*There must have been some good parenting mojo in the air yesterday. I heard my friend Poppins had a good mommy day yesterday too. (High five, Sister-friend!)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I have always considered myself a bit of a slacker mom. I do not apologize for it. I tend to farm out the noisy toys that consume vast quantities of batteries, or at least tell the kids that they are *broken* when the batteries die (Sorry Mom, TJ Bearytales is not getting revived any time soon). I don't go out of my way to buy toys that require the push of a button and then passive observation. The noise drives me nuts. I want my kids to learn how to entertain themselves. That means my house is littered with books, legos, toy cars, blocks, dolls and play dishes and plastic food. I have a hard time keeping up with the clutter, but am starting to come to terms with that. I tend to sit back and watch my kids play and learn instead of always coaching them and telling them how to play. According to them I don't do things the right way anyway--I am more of a nuisance.

According to the new issue of Parent's magazine I have been right on the mark with my slacker ways. On page 141 of the June issue a reporter discusses ways to boost your child's IQ. Blocks, musical instruments, crayons and empty containers topped the list of toys that can boost a kid's brainpower. No batteries necessary.

Maybe that explains the book Emmett chose for his bedtime story last night:
*I swear on my unborn baby that book was not planted. He really, really chose it.
*In the interest of full disclosure after one or two pages it was ditched for Winnie the Pooh.

Edited to add: I really wonder if there are people out there who need to be told that blocks and crayons are more intellectually stimulating than whatever Leapfrog has to offer; or that sitting down together and reading a book is better for learning to read than having an animatronic teddy bear do the reading for you. Isn't that just common sense?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Le Sigh.

I am on day four of excruciating back and leg pain that is not allowing me to carry out my usual duties and is making me generally cranky and miserable. I need a drug-free way to perk myself up.

I have decided to Depp-utize my pain.

Mmmmmm, gypsy guitar-playing Depp....

Avast ye hearties!!

Do you need someone to scrub your back?

Can you come and help me with my yard work? I'll make lemonade.

Ok, I am starting to feel a bit better now.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I've been tagged.

My good friend Poppins tagged me for a meme. Since no one wants to hear how I have been limping around the house with sciatica for the past three days I will indulge her instead.

If I tag you I want to see seven random things about you at your blog. Pretty Please.

7 Random Things About Me
  1. Ever since reading Under the Tuscan Sun I fantasise about the day I can retire to my own Italian villa and cook beautiful sun-warmed vegetables I have picked from my gigantic garden.
  2. I was once News Editor of the University newspaper in my city.
  3. Before having kids, I played role playing games. I still remember my character from Heroes Unlimited, a kick-ass female cyborg who had a rail gun attached to one arm and took no prisoners. I also enjoyed Cthulu, and Toon.
  4. I played the flute in my high school concert and marching bands. No, I never went to band camp.
  5. I did, however have my first kiss at regular summer camp.
  6. I really want to have a green thumb, but if you don't cry, you don't tend to get fed and watered in my house.
  7. I curse like a sailor in the car, despite my best efforts to curtail it (I don't really want my kids to learn it is ok to say what I say to people who cut me off, but they may just learn that some words are for the car and no where else).
No pressure, but "tag, you're it" to: April, Manitoba Farm Girl, Mama B, CTG, Ashlee Rose, My Name is Not Mom...., Amy

Friday, May 18, 2007

Happy May Two-Four

If you are Canadian, today is the start of a long weekend to celebrate the Queen's Birthday. Richard granted me permission to post the following recipe and it is my gift to you. After you make this, Timmy's and Starbucks will become but faint memories.

Richard's Iced Cappuccino

1 can evaporated milk
10 cups really strong brewed coffee (dark roast is best), cooled to room temperature.
2/3 cup sugar (brown or white, it makes no difference)
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 cups regular milk

Combine evaporated milk and sugar in a microwavable container and cook on HIGH 6 minutes, stirring at least twice. The goal is to scald the milk and caramelize the sugar a bit. Combine milk/sugar mixture with cooled coffee and add vanilla. Add more milk to taste, and chill well.

Now the fun begins: pour over ice cubes and sip on your deck in the sun. For a frothy frappuccino just put your cappuccino in your blender with ice then top the mixture with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Irish Creme, Khalua, Creme de Cacao, or your favourite shnapps added makes a yummy adult drink.

Makes just over 2 litres, so make it for your next barbeque!

Use your imagination and let me know what you come up with!.

Monday, May 14, 2007

It's quiz time!

Where's Charlotte?
Here's a hint...
Found her!

That isn't a beach ball she's hiding under........ugh.

Friday, May 11, 2007

An Inconvienent Truth

So, I must be the last person on Earth to have seen this movie, but I had to work up the courage. Documentaries about what we are doing to the planet and the end of the world, whether it be from a giant meteor or global warming tend to put me in a funk that is hard to shake afterward.

I am glad I saw it. I was not left feeling hopeless and desperate and worried afterward. (Well, maybe a little worried, but I slept just fine last night.) If anything the movie reassured me that I am on the right track in my own life. My goal to streamline and simplify my life seems to go hand in hand with becoming more environmentally aware when making consumer decisions.

I have been trying to focus on the first of the three Rs lately: Reduce. My latest consumer decision may seem small, but I feel good about making it. I have decided to stop buying juice boxes for the kids. They are so expensive and I always got a little lurch in the pit of my belly when I had to throw those packages in the garbage. We use re-usable juice boxes now or I will bring a big bottle of juice and cups from home when we go out. My next goal is to cut down our baggie consumption. I still go through too many of those in a week because lids and containers never stay together long in my cupboard. My goal to breastfeed my new baby also goes along with this--not needing to buy bottles and containers of formula is not only much healthier for baby and me, but also for our local landfill site.

According to the movie's Carbon Calculator, my family is leaving a "much smaller than average" footprint. That is reassuring, but I am sceptical of the data. I know that we use an above average amount of natural gas to heat our house because it is so poorly insulated you can feel a draft coming through the electrical outlets in the winter. We do try to keep the thermostat down and have a big basket of blankets in our living room to snuggle under. We are working on getting new siding and insulation this year. I know we made a difference to our consumption of fossil fuels by taking the license off of our mid-80's boat and selling our gas-guzzling Caddie. My minivan is no Prius, but I can go a lot farther with a tank of gas than I ever could with our other two vehicles.

I am intrigued by this group in San Francisco. They are challenging people to re-examine their own consumerism and to not buy new when they can buy second hand or make themselves for a year. They also encourage people to use local business wherever possible. Being married to a local businessman, that point is one very near and dear to me! I know that I can't follow the pledge to the letter, but reading about them has really made me think twice about my purchasing habits lately. I am trying very hard to find alternative to buying new clothes for my kids now since they only wear things for a short time and I feel like I am following my mandate to Reduce in my life by not contributing to the production of new things in this world when there are things already here that can be used instead.

Even though I know I have a long way to go, I am glad I am on the right track to making the world a little bit better. What are you doing? What did you think of the movie?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thank you very much!

Do you like my rockin' new banner? It was made by my sweet friend, April. I think it captures my personality very well and adds the perfect touch to my new blog layout.

Let's give her a round of applause, shall we?

More Signs of Spring

To celebrate my 200th post I give you purdy pictures of my fruit trees in bloom. I thought hard about what I could say to mark this momentous occasion and came up with this: Flowers are pretty. I like looking at pretty flowers. I will put pictures of pretty flowers where I can look at them.

It really is a shame that you can't smell the apple blossoms on your monitor. They are intoxicating.

Monday, May 7, 2007

I can knit!!!

I know, this is not a "stop the presses" sort of headline, but it is big news for me. I missed knitting. It made the endless hours of Blues Clues that I have to watch each morning bearable. It gave me something to occupy my hands with that made me feel productive and creative and talented. I missed my needles and pretty yarn like I miss friends that move away.

I have been knitting a row or two here and there just to test my wrists out and see how they feel. My usual, English way of knitting started to feel clumsy and awkward to me. Yesterday, on a whim, I switched to the Continental style of knitting, which is a way I have been trying to knit off and on without much success in the past. Bingo! Continental feels good now! I guess a couple of months of no knitting allowed the muscle memory in my hands to fade and to allow the different way to settle in.

I am not holding my breath that my baby will be swaddled in a beautiful Mason-Dixon baby blanket this August, but I am glad that I can at least make more progress on it now!

I think Richard was happy with the hiatus from yarn buying. Sorry, Hon!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Do you like my new outfit?

I am trying out a new template. I think it is time for a fresh coat of paint for Spring. Some day I plan on getting someone who knows what they are doing with HTML to make a blog layout for me that is all mine and no one else's. This will have to do for now. What do you think? Do you like the old pink layout better?

Friday, May 4, 2007

Two plus one day.

Yesterday was Charlotte's birthday. No party, no fanfare. Purple cookies were passed around playgroup and Happy Birthday was sung to an indifferent little girl. She opened her presents after nap time.

I am feeling like I am over my head again. Charlotte is constantly trying to assert her will and be independent even though she can barely reach the doorknobs and can't get the lid off the milk carton. This realization makes her very angry and she lashes out at whoever is closest (me).

Emmett is turning more and more into a criminal mastermind and will go to great lengths to help himself to things I put out of his reach. He knows how to stack things around the house to scamper up to reach the latches I put on doors. This leads to a daily battle of wills. He will even help himself to the forbidden things, and then go hide in his room under the covers of his bed, essentially putting himself in a timeout. Clearly timeouts can no longer be considered an effective disipline measure.

Add this to the hormonal mess of pregnancy and newly emerging aches and pains that interfere with my ability to carry out my usual chores and I am having a harder and harder time getting through the day without yelling at someone.

I am just so, so tired. My body hurts. My brain hurts. My ears hurt. I want to run away and hide.