Thursday, December 24, 2009

One more sleep.

The kids are bouncing off the walls, the NORAD Santa Tracker has been booted up and the stockings have been located. Christmas morning breakfast has been planned out, supplies laid in and invitations extended (there will be lots! come on by!)

To use the words of England's Jon Gledstone, creator of the world's first PC Holiday Card:

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practised within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all."

Read more

Tonight, stockings will be hung and then we will gather for the annual viewing of The Muppet Christmas Carol with some cinnamon caramel corn to munch. I plan on having a nip of Peppermint Baileys. We may sneak out to Midnight Mass after the kids go to bed, if my parents are willing to babysit. (Even though I am not a Christian anymore, I can still appreciate the beauty and majesty of a candle-lit cathedral and some lovely choral music)

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Double, double, toil and trouble.....

cocoa butter
shea butter
coconut oil
macadamia nut oil
sweet almond oil
jojoba oil
primrose oil
*emulisifying wax
*steric acid

Oil of:

A little of this, a little of that. Melt, stir, cool, whip, pour.
Was I re-enacting a familiar scene from Macbeth this morning? It sure felt like it! When all was said and done I ended up with some beautiful tins of soothing lotion and pots of lucious lip balm.

Thanks, Cynthia!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hard Work Pays Off

I am on an Apraxia message board. A mother on the board was asking for video of kids with apraxia speaking. I posted a link to a video I shot of Emmett about a year and a half ago, not long after his speech breakthrough. I couldn't believe the difference between then and now. Time really does blur the edges of a memory, doesn't it? I find when we are in therapy we are always looking forward. We are always looking for the next milestone that we need to reach so we sometimes forget how far we have already come.

Remember this video?

I shot this last night:

Can you believe the difference? Can I tell you that I still get a song in my heart when he tells me to stop filming?? I can't help but smile.

Monday, December 7, 2009

If I can do this, you can too!

I love showing my friends how much I care for them by making gifts for them.

This year, I am feeling pretty overwhelmed with a busy schedule that having three young kids gives you, in addition to settling into our new house, which is an ongoing process.

A freind emailed me last week to ask for my peppermint mocha recipe. It reminded me that DO have time to whip up some love in a jar for my friends.

Here are two ideas for gifts that are quick, easy and will be happily received. They can be made up in advance and then live in your pantry for spur-of-the-moment giving.

Peppermint mocha mix (click to link) Put this in a mason jar, tie a spoon on to it and paste the instructions in a pretty card. I gave this to a friend last year and she said it was better than Starbucks.
I use icing sugar in the recipe as it mixes with the cocoa powder better than granulated sugar. Use candy canes to give it festive green and red flecks.

Chocolate popcorn mix
In a large bowl stir together:
1-1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

and, if you are feeling brave, a dash of cayenne pepper.

Print out the following directions to give with a jar:
Chocolate popcorn: Melt 1/4 cup butter in the microwave or a small saucepan. Stir in 1/4 cup mix. Pour over 6 - 12 cups of popped popcorn and toss to coat well.

Give this gift with a gift card for movie rental and I am sure it will be well recieved!
Oh, and I actually mix one batch of this into 12 cups of popped popcorn and it still has a lot of sweetness and more crunch.

Make sure you save some of the mixes for yourself too!

Friday, December 4, 2009

New Traditions

December is here! We had our first giant snowfall so now I feel like decorating our house and trying out my new cookie press with some shortbread.

I am also back to thinking about where my new feelings and beliefs fit in with this season. This is the first time in my life I have stopped identifying myself as Christian. Some days I am an Agnostic, and some days I am a Humanist, but I definitely don't feel Christian anymore.

Hubby takes the kids to church and they are learning about being Christian and being an Anglican from him. Baby Jesus is in our Christmas book basket, as is Santa.

I don't quite know how to teach my kids there is something in between celebrating the birth of Jesus and waiting for Santa. They of course are all about the loot.

I want to teach them there is more to Christmas than loot and baby Jesus.

I am starting by trying to get the kids excited about giving. Emmett and Charlotte have each been on special shopping trips so they could pick out gifts for each other. Charlotte and I spent the morning making salt dough ornaments to give as gifts.

Can someone point me to some good story books about giving that don't have Santa in them?

What do you do to celebrate the season?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There is snow in the forecast for this week (finally....we have been waiting for it like expectant moms wait for labour--you know it is going to happen, you know it is going to hurt, you just don't know when it is going to actually begin.)

Here is one last glimpse of fall. I took these pictures during a hike in the countryside near our city. A friend who is a wizard with Photoshop brightened up the pictures and made this collage for me to give to the Grandmas for Christmas. I am really happy with how it turned out. I am also happy to help promote my friend's home-based business so if you want to know her name and contact info, drop me a line and I can pass her information on to you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When did I get old???

I am 33. I thought I was young. Yes, I have been dyeing my hair for12 years because of premature greying, but let's emphasize the word premature here!

So, who says I'm old?? The September Issue of More Magazine.
More is a magazine marketed to women 40 years old and over. Why am I reading it? My mom regularly shares her magazines with me and this is one she passes on. Some of the articles are interesting, but the article entitled How Not to Act Old (with an exerpt of the book by the same name) really rubbed me the wrong way.

According to the article I am Old. Why? I leave voicemail instead of text messages. I wear a watch (there is a clock on your celphone, fogey!), I don't wax , (umm, ouch!) I am interested retro things and I can cook a mean roast.

As someone under 40 this article insults me. I can't imagine it being funny to someone over 40 either. I thought that part of growing up was growing into confidance and maturity. Doesn't that mean I can stop caring about what other people think about me? Doesn't that mean I can stop bending over backwards to try to fit in with all the cool kids?

More, you really dropped the ball on this one. I thought that I was supposed to look to women older than me to learn from them. What am I learning here? That nothing ever changes? That I am supposed to do everything I can to be someone I am not? I don't even think Seventeen magazine is sending that message to their young readers anymore. You are beginning to sound a bit like American Cosmo, undermining my confidance in order to try to make me conform to a predetermined standard. I thought you were supposed to be teaching me to age gracefully and confidantly--not just to lie about my age and cling to a youth that is really not worth clinging to.

So, I am going to start now, Screw you, More Magazine. I am going to put on my 50's style apron, cook a roast and when I call you to invite you to dinner I might just leave a message on your voicemail. Don't RSVP by text message, though. I probably won't get it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Time for a musical interlude.

I have a two year old that can scale the entertainment unit. Keeping him and our possessions safe has become the main focus of my day. What time left is spent wondering why Char has regressed in her potty training and having the accompanying nervous breakdown over the sheer volume of peepee laundry in my house; the likes of which I haven't seen since I was washing cloth diapers.

This doesn't leave a lot of spare time for thinking deep thoughts and then posting them.
Instead, I give you an original musical number composed and performed by our own artist-in-residence.Please forgive the shaky video. I was fending off Matthew while trying to capture this moment.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I was raised by Muppets

Admit it, most of you reading were too. I don't think it was a bad thing! I loved Sesame Street growing up. Heck, our wedding song was a Muppet Song!

I remember watching Sesame Street with my dad at lunchtime, right after Mister Dressup. I know all of the words to Rubber Duckie a can Do the Pigeon (we had that song on 45!!). I learned how to say my alphabet in French thanks to Sesame Street and can count to 12 in a disco beat. I remember Susan and Luis's wedding and when Mister Hooper passed away.

Now you know how old I am!

Can you believe our street turns 40 this year? It has changed a lot over the years, and admittedly, my kids don't watch it because we don't have cable. I DO plan on getting the commemorative DVDs so my kids can see what it was like before it became the Elmo Show. Why is Elmo such a rockstar now?? Bert and Ernie are much more interesting to me. What about the more secondary characters like Sully and Don Music? I loved Don Music and his tantrums.

So, were you raised by Muppets?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What a diifference a day makes.

Our yard this past weekend

Jackrabbit tracks down our back lane
I love the stark contrast of snow on green grass

Our street almost looked like a black and white photograph this morning

Snow on the lilac bush

We had our first big snowfall of the year yesterday. That meant a frantic trip to Walmart when I realized that only one child had boots that fit (and a Caesar for me when we got home.)

But, after that harrowing experience the kids had fun with a twilight snowball fight before bed. And Matthew and I chased a jackrabbit down our back lane after school drop off this morning. The snow is quickly melting, so there might not even be time for snowmen after school, but the kids have their fingers crossed!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I am sick. I am out of steam. Here are some cute pics I snapped last week because no one wants to hear me whine about furnace installers who back out at the last minute and the traveling fever that is making it's way through all of the occupants of our house.

Monday, October 5, 2009

For Ami.

I swear this carrot came out of either my carrot patch or my friend Carolyn's. This is not a picture I found trolling for such pictures online. Carolyn saw this carrot with her own eyes this morning. She can vouch for me!

I dedicate this carrot to my funny invisible internet friend Ami

If you want a little background, you should check out this post Ami wrote about a certain dictionary she had in a book collection at the after-school program she runs. More of her hilarious story can be found here.

Since I can't have such perverted vegetables just laying around my house where young children could find them, I quickly chopped it up and put it in my crockpot. It will taste delicious in my beef stew.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mom or Logistical Superhero?

It all started out so innocently. Emmett had a doctor's appointment yesterday. I took Charlotte to school, then went home to kill an hour before the appointment.
It suddenly occurred to me that I should find something to do with Matthew so I could actually talk to the doc about my concerns. I quick IM conversation with a helpful friend and Matthew had a morning playdate. I thought I was sitting pretty. I only waited ten minutes in the waiting room. I thought life was pretty good.

I got too cocky.

Something suspicious turned up on Emmett's urinalysis. The doctor said it was probably a contaminated specimen, but we had to re-do it AND add some bloodwork just to be on the safe side. He said to "just go up to the lab and have the blood drawn." Yeah. Right. The lab waiting room looked like Grand Central Station. My watch told me I had to be at Char's school in 20 minutes to pick her up. My blood pressure rose. A lot.

I smiled at the receptionist (always smile--your problem is rarely their fault.) I explained my predicament. She said "Come back in an hour. I'll hold your spot in line." That was the second best thing she could say--the first being "Oh well, let's just take you back right now." I took the gift. I picked up Matthew, I drove to Char's school. I made a few calls in the parking lot and thanked my lucky stars my MIL was home and could stop over and sit while the kids ate and then napped. Ronald McDonald took care of lunch.

I got Matthew and Charlotte settled down at home, sped back to the lab, had the blood drawn. (My boy was a trooper and earned THREE Spiderman stickers for his trouble.) I managed to get him back to school for the afternoon with one minute to spare.

Did I earn my respite sushi last night, or what????

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Our Summer in Three Slideshows.

Matthew goes to camp.

Our New House.
I didn't want to post these pictures, but I realized if I waited to shoot for a day when the house was tidy, you would never see it. This is our house on a normal day. I am not a neat freak.

Our visit to our CSA farm.

Please be patient...

Guess what?? The cord to the camera disappeared in the move. Hubby is at the electronics store buying a new one right now.

Slideshows of our summer and new house will be forthcoming.

By the way, we love the new house, and have found out how completely wonderful a backyard hot tub is. Our neighbours are friendly and Emmett is adjusting to his new school. We have only had one bump at school so far. I raised holy hell and the staff were properly apologetic.

So far, so good!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm Back!

Hello! We are moved in, 95% unpacked and getting nicely settled in. I LOVE our new yard. I am figuring out where everything goes. I am still mortified by by the dust bunnies revealed by the movers at the old place.

Emmett went off to his new school today. I think things are going well--he got really mad when I told him I would be back at lunchtime to pick him up. My heart went out to his classmate who was crying and clinging to his mommy as my guy was hanging up his coat and remembering where he put his shoes the day before.

A week without the internet has been good for me. I need to learn some new routines and break some unhealthy habits.

I will post pictures of the new place very soon!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cautiously Optimistic

  • Richard killed a mouse.
  • We have not seen signs of any more.
  • My friend Kathy very helpfully told me about how she makes sachets out of grated Irish Spring soap to keep mice out of her camper.
  • My house now reeks of Irish Spring.
  • We are having fantastic late-summer weather. Sunny, warm, no favourite time of year.
  • The road out front is still not finished.
  • This means we have to move out of our cramped back lane.
Holy Crap!
  • Possession day is Tuesday!!!!!
  • I suppose I should finish packing!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The mouse came back....

......the very next day.

Yep. I went down to the kitchen this morning to make coffee and the mouse (or a relative??) ran across the kitchen and dove under the stove.

I also found a neat line of dog kibble lined up along the baseboard of my pantry behind Lucy's dish. (And I thought of Tara, who told me to look out for that)

Do you think I could ask our neighbour to lend us a cat for a week????

I bought traps yesterday....but hub wanted different ones. I am on that today!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

There is always a silver lining.

I live in a very old house. I am used to sharing my space with a certain amount of creepy crawlies that get in through our unfinished basement. Chances are, if you pick up a laundry basket in my basement a millipede or little beetle will skitter away. Spiders love my floor joists. We tend to live in harmony. They don't bother me, I won't bother them.

I do have a line, though.

This morning I was chatting on the phone with a friend. I heard a strange noise coming from my garbage can. I opened the lid and a mouse looked up at me from his (her?) rotten orange breakfast.

I did the stereotypical thing. I screamed like I was in a horror movie.

I then picked up my entire garbage can and took it outside and left it in the back lane. After that, I looked around for telltale signs and found little mouse poops in my pantry (darn it!).

I promised the kids we would go to playgroup so I put off the clean up until after lunch. When we got home from playgroup I found the lid knocked off my garbage can and hoped against hope it was the neighbour's cats that did it. I also noticed my garbage bag was shredded and there was a perfectly round hole clear through the side of my garbage can!

Since I am a stereotype, that can is not ever going to enter my house again.

What is the bright side?

  • The mouse didn't chew on anything that contained actual food (I think the open bowl of dog kibble was the reason.)
  • The dreaded job of cleaning my pantry before we move is done.
  • I filled a garbage bag with random bits.
  • All of my bulk items are now in Tupperware or jars.
I also found out that for a sporadic tea drinker I have a LOT of tea. Like two four-litre ice cream pails full.

It is really hot outside. Maybe some iced green tea is in order.

I hate meeses to pieces.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Final Countdown

We are down to our last week in this house.

You can tell the stress of packing and preparing is starting to take it's toll.

Emmett wet his pants in public for the first time in many months today. His stimming behaviour is back to happening several times a day. He can't control the volume of his voice and has taken to hoarding small bits of paper and spare change. He cries very easily.

Charlotte is being more willful and obstinate than usual.

I am coming very quickly to my wits end. I am not sleeping well and have no patience for anyone.

Seven more sleeps until we get the keys.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I am packing, sorting, ripping my hair out, hoping the road out front gets built in get a meme. I don't tag, but if you feel moved to do it, let me know I and I will come check out your answers.

Thank you, Ami for the blog food.

Question 1 : Who do you think is the hottest movie star?

I think Ewan McGregor is the complete package. Handsome, can sing and dance, has a lovely Scottish accent, and adores his wife and daughters. He isn't afraid to stretch his acting wings and has been in every genre you can think of.

Question 2 : Apart from your house and your car, what is the most expensive thing you've ever bought?
Our honeymoon cruise, the new washer and dryer for our new house.

Question 3 : What is your most treasured memory?
Hmmmm....This one is a toughie. I could mention the time I used to spend with my dear Great Grandma--we were very close and her name is Charlotte's middle name.

The thing that stands out most in my mind right now as one of the single most amazing things in my life was giving birth to Matthew, at home, in my own bed. I can still picture the autumn light as it came in my bedroom window and smell the changing leaves outside. I remember how wonderful it was to have Richard and me snuggling our new little boy in our own bed. I remember the Earl Grey Tea and home made apple pie I ate. I remember the ratty t-shirt I threw out after I had him. I remember how calm and peaceful everything was. No drama, no flashing lights and buzzing alarms, just the sounds of new life entering the world.

Question 4: What is the best gift you ever received as a child?

My Barbie RV. My Barbies went on many, many camping trips in the back yard over the years I had it. Santa needed a lot of coffee to put it together on Christmas Eve, I think!

Question 5: What is the biggest mistake you've ever made?
I can't even begin to list the huge mistakes I've made. I do find comfort in knowing that everyone makes them, and some make larger ones than mine.
I try to be forgiving, since we all screw up.---I am totally stealing Ami's answer since I couldn't have said it better myself.

Question 6: Give four words to describe yourself.
Mama Bear Loves Fiercely

Question 7: What was your highlight or low light in 2008?
Hmmm....I can't think of anything right now. I just think that my life gets better and better with each passing year. I feel more and more comfortable as myself and am not afraid to be me. Growing up is hard, but I am starting to reap the rewards.

Question 8: What is your favorite film?
Today, Moulin Rouge pops into my head. The music! The costumes! The crazy story! The cast! (Hello, Ewan!)
Ask me again tomorrow, and I will probably have a different answer.

Question 9: Tell something not generally known about yourself.
I used to sleepwalk when under stress. It mostly happened before tests or music recitals. Once, I woke up standing in the shower with the water running. I think I must have thought it was time to get up and go to school. I'm sorry for scaring you all those times, Mom! I finally get it now! I must have been a handful.

Question 10: If you were a comic strip/cartoon character, who would you be?
Elly Patterson from For Better or For Worse, or the mom from Baby Blues

That's it. That's all I've got!

Stay tuned--in a couple of weeks I will have an article published in a local parenting magazine. I will post the column here once it goes public.

Monday, August 10, 2009

It's officially official.

Last week Richard's mom bought our house. She is still deciding if she is going to rent it or put it back on the market after we leave.

We bought new washing machines for our new house. I changed my magazine subscriptions. I spent an evening taping boxes together I liberated from the cardboard recycle bin behind a strip mall.

In three weeks I will have a new address.

Holy Moly!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Busy Doing Nothing.

It's August. Every August we drop our kids off with Richard's Dad and then get a week off. Sometimes we do home renovations, we went to New Brunswick one summer, two summers ago I spent the week off having Braxton-Hicks contractions. The summer after that I chased one kid instead of three.

This year we were supposed to be packing and moving during the kid's holiday. This has not come to pass, so I get to do nothing.

Do you have any idea how wonderful the chance to do nothing is?? I have not been away from my kids for two years. Right now, as I am typing this, I am sipping coffee, there is Irish Soda bread in the oven baking and Weeds, a show I can't watch while kids are awake, is on the TV. Richard is sleeping without anyone fighting outside his door.

Yesterday I lingered over my coffee and newspaper in an empty house and then my Grandma and I shopped for a washer and dryer. I went to three stores. I lingered over things besides washers and dryers. I poked and prodded and pushed buttons. No one nagged me to hurry up. No one tried to break things. No one ran away to reprogram the TVs in the TV room while I tried to find what I needed. The person I was with was happy to be there and was patient as I looked and pondered.


Yes, I will miss my babies by the end of their trip, don't get me wrong. Right now I am enjoying the fact that we ran out of milk yesterday and it was not a big enough emergency to warrant running to the store when I knew it would be mobbed. I am out of coffee now. THAT is an emergency so I guess I will have to go to the store today. I will probably pick up ingredients to make sushi while I am there. Mmmmmmmm California rolls..... (Emmett was super sweet and left his DS behind so I could use the cookbook game he has--that is where my sushi recipe is.)

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to refresh my coffee and get the newspaper.
Richard and I might go to the midway later and go on the big person rides. Or, we might not. Who knows? This weekend, we don't have to plan too far ahead for anything.


Monday, August 3, 2009

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I have worked as a camp nurse off and on for the past 10 years. The camp I work at is one I used to go to *ahem* twenty years ago. It is so comforting to hear the same graces sung at mealtimes, hear the same songs ringing out from the campfire circle and hear about the activities the kids are doing--I did them too!

Of course, things change too. The photography class no longer needs a darkroom. There is a shiny new shower house. Kids bring mp3 players to listen to during quiet time instead of walkmans and portable CD players.

Nursing changes too. When I first started camp nursing my med box was usually brimming with various antibiotics that the campers came with. Years went by and for a while I saw a lot boys using a nasal spray for bedwetting. This spray has since been banned from use. For a while there were a lot of kids coming to me on ritalin. Ritalin use seems to have peaked and is now on the decline. I only had one boy on it this summer, but I had a very large number of kids using anithistamines on a daily basis. I also had one little girl on daily doses of Prozac. This really made me sad. I spent a lot of time wondering about this girl and what made her parents think that it was ok to put someone not even fully grown on a drug that will alter her brain's chemistry and set her up for potentially fatal side effects as she grows into an adult. The director of the camp, also a nurse, was disturbed by the sheer number of supplements and herbs her teen campers came with the week before.

You get to see a real picture of how kids are raised as a camp nurse. Most of the campers were very concerned about Matthew when they saw him gleefully splashing in puddles or tasting the sand under the volleyball net. I often heard them tell me very seriously "He's getting dirty!! His feet are getting wet!" I know their hearts were in the right place and they all relaxed when I reassured them he would be ok if he got a little (ok, a lot) dirty. That is what camp is for!!!

I love that camps like this still exist so that urban kids CAN get dirty. One of my campers took great pride in getting Swimmer's Itch--he even counted his spots (over 100) Another girl took a teatherball to the face and wore her bloody nose like a badge of honour. Of course, I also had kids coming to my cabin to show me hangnails--you can't toughen them all up!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Mommy and Me

When I agreed to work at camp this summer by big fear was Matthew. Will he run away and get lost in the woods? Will I find enough to do with him? Will he have fun? What would I do with him if there was an emergency?

Well, my fears were completely unfounded. Yes, my boy ran a lot. He seemed to know to stay away from the dense forest that bordered the camp property, though. A few times he got quite far away from me but there was always a camper or counsellor willing to round him up and herd him back to me. Everyone loved him. He could run right into to the middle of a soccer game in progress and steal the ball and people would just giggle and then invite him into the game. The boys played basketball with him. The girls invited him to the end of camp dance. He had a friend in the kitchen who would sneak him cake. Thankfully, I never had to find out what would happen if an emergency came up.

He figured out my supply drawer and would hand a camper a bandaid when they came to my cabin for attention (even if all they needed was a Tums or meds for a headache)

He slept three hours every afternoon--running all day will do that to a guy!

It rained quite a bit at camp. This did not stop us from having fun. Matthew had his favourite puddles that he would visit and gleefully splash in. Since I am not new to the camp nurse gig, I knew to pack three pairs of shoes so he would always have a dry pair. The lake blew his mind. Swimmer's Itch was alive and well in the lake while we were there, so I kept him out of the water but he spent a lot of time standing on the camp's pier tossing rocks in the water. We made sand castles under the volleyball net.

I loved being able to have one on one time with him--he loved having an entire camp wrapped around his finger. He cried when I packed up his bed on the last day and loaded him into our car.

We were invited back. I really hope we can go again next year.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Home again, home again, Rig-a-jig-jig

I'm home!

Matthew and I had a blast a camp (more on that to come). Emmett and Charlotte loved their time with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma and Grandpa did too.....Grandma called me this morning to check on her Sweeties because she misses them already. As soon as she emails me her pics (yes, I am talking to you, Mom!) I can show you some of the adventures they got up to.

Getting back to real life is tough. I got home to find my water disconnected because of the construction. Not cool when you have seven days of camp laundry to do! My car barely made it home alive (when it sounds like a lawn mower and smells like burning, it can only mean bad news, right?) so it is in the shop and we are on foot for the next while. I am thankful we live where we can walk everywhere we need to go and it is summer, so no one suffers.

On the bright side, we were greeted by a clean house and fresh cheesecake brownies yesterday. Yum yum. Oh, and an hour after my no-water freakout a friendly sunburned man in a hard hat rang my bell to hook up my temporary water supply. (What a relief!)

I am now trying to learn to cook and do laundry again. After a week of camp food I am looking forward to grilling a steak tonight. I am also looking forward to the goodies that will be in my CSA box.

Talk to you soon!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Good Bye!

Nothing new to report on the house front. It is still for sale. Our offer expires in two weeks.

I am taking the kids on a little road trip. Richard and Lucy will be keeping the home fires burning. I left him an itemized list of everything he needs to do to get the house ready for a showing.

Of course, there has to be a little drama before we leave--yesterday I tried to pack my suitcase. Richard was at his office doing CPR on a server so I was alone with the kids.

While I was upstairs packing, Matthew was flooding the kitchen. He put the stopper in the powder room sink and just sat back an enjoyed the show. By the time Charlotte came to tattle there was so much water in the kitchen it seeped through the floor and left puddles in the basement. I had just finished doing ALL the laundry (a major feat when you wash clothes for five people) It took all of my towels to mop up. Sigh.

See you when I get home!!

Monday, July 6, 2009


People are growing up so fast around here! I have been a neglectful blogger lately, but here is some stuff that has happened recently:
  • Someone finished preschool for the year.
  • Someone else graduated from Kindergarten
  • The Kindergarten Grad also turned six and has shot up to collarbone level on his mother.
  • The shortest one here is rapidly zooming towards his second birthday and is practicing his tantrum throwing skills for the event.
I meant to have pictures of the little grads here, but my desktop computer is at Grandma's being stored and I have not yet figured out how to make my camera talk to the Linux-speaking laptop. I will nag hubby later to teach me how to do it.

Since summer is officially here I am always trying to come up with things to keep the kids occupied. I have playgroup once a week, and friends to harass for playdates, and this:
The Usborne Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do

The book is full of fun crafts that call for easy to obtain supplies and they all have a little science lesson to go along with them. (I guess hanging out with homeschoolers has worn off on me)

So far we have made monster shadow puppets and did rudimentary paper chromatography. Maybe today will be the day we make wind-powered sailboats??

Of course, having the house on the market has stalled some of our crafty plans--on days when there is a showing I turn into mean yelling mommy and all the toys and fun stuff are stashed away. On those days go to one of the various parks around the city, usually with sandwiches. I am happy to be house-sitting for a nearby friend who has a lovely fenced yard. She gave me permission to use her place if I needed somewhere to go for showings . I wonder what her neighbours thought yesterday when they saw us let ourselves in and have a picnic on her patio?

Speaking of which, there is nothing new to report on the home-selling front. We have had close to 10 showings with largely positive feedback, but no offers have been forthcoming. I am starting to get anxious about that. I feel like time is running out.

How is your summer going so far?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Jack: the answers.

Here are the answers to the quiz presented in my previous post. I anticipate a lot of forehead slapping and "Oh Yes!" after reading it.

Jack Be Nimble

Jack and Jill

Little Jack Horner

Jack Sprat

The House That Jack Built.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Do you know Jack?

This was our bedtime story last night. The kids picked it up during a recent trip to the library. I was sceptical at first, expecting a politically-correct, watered-down version of an old fairy tale.

Truth be told, there is quite a bit of sugarcoating and tweaking of the story, but there is also a great surprise. The giant takes you on an adventure through Fairy Tale land, where you meet all sorts of Jacks. I forgot how many Jacks there were in this world.

This book introduces you to six Jacks (including the one who climbs the beanstalk)

Could you name them all??

I'll post the list in a day or two.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Yep. Colour me superstitious.

First, let's backtrack a bit.....

The transmission died in our washing machine yesterday. Our trusted and reliable repair guy gave me a $200 quote for repair. Crappy. Forget the fact that going a day or two without doing laundry can make a pile taller than Emmett, we wanted to include a washer and dryer with the house when we move. We are planning on buying shiny new HE machines for the new place since the washer and dryer are not included in our offer to purchase.

Now, if I was to buy a new machine to replace the broken one, I would want a shiny HE model. It of course would come with us when we move, and then we would have to take it off the bargaining table.
We could buy a secondhand one and pray it limps along until we move or swallow the $200.

We are opting for the last option. Repair the machine we have and hope it lasts at least another month. This didn't stop me from doing a bit of poking around for deals on new machines. I found a pretty great sale. I mentioned it to Richard. He wondered out loud if they would hold the machines for a month. (Is there such a thing as layaway anymore?)

This is when I stopped him. I said no. We shouldn't buy appliances for a house we don't have yet.

Where did this come from? Usually I LOVE shopping! I got the go-ahead to price out appliances I have been coveting for a very long time and I stopped it?????

I don't want to jinx anything. We have already lost one house and the last time our house was on the market (when I was pregnant with Matthew) we had no takers.

I KNOW this is a different market. I KNOW we have made many improvements on our place since then and I KNOW that in this little corner of the world, the recession hasn't hit as hard as other places.

I am still not ready to start counting chickens.

(I do have a shopping list in my head know, just in case.)

PS--if you want to be a Nosey Nelly and peek inside my house, email me and if you are a regular reader who comments frequently I will send you the pictures of our listing. I just don't want my address published here, of course!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's nail biting time.

It happened. We made an offer on a house this past Friday. By Saturday the owners countered. We accepted. The blood drained from Richard's face as we filled out the paperwork and promised a purchase price that is kind of staggering to us.

Tomorrow our house hits the market. We have a month to sell and counter any other offer that may come. Yesterday started the month that I will be insufferable to be around.

Do you know what it takes to keep a house show-ready with three kids, a stinky hairy dog and a stinky hairy husband? Nagging. Yelling. Constant cleaning. More nagging. More yelling.

Please hope our place sells fast.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm dating again.

What???? Oh no! I'm not dating PEOPLE. I am dating HOUSES.

It hit me a couple of days ago. House hunting is just like dating. Richard and I have realized there is not much more room to grow in our current "relationship", and that we need to look into finding something new to make a commitment to.

I have been hitting the personal ads (ahem, mls listings) and then setting up dates with our matchmaker (realtor). Just like in dating, first impressions mean a lot. The suburban bungalow that had a pretty picture in the personal ad absolutely did not measure up when we met. When I opened the door the first time I was hit with a wave of air freshener and stinky dog. I looked down and notice the hairy, filthy carpets. Perfume does not hide what a good bath could have fixed.

Some days, the first meeting goes surprisingly well so a second date is in order. You start to picture what your future could be like together. Sometimes a first impression is so good you decide to dig deeper and are ultimately left feeling disappointed. (Excessive drinking, a wife, party animals next door and a crazy lady who yells at children playing two doors down.)

Some times there is heartbreak too. I was hit with love at first sight with one place. I introduced it to Richard. He loved it too. We proposed. We were rejected. I passed the house yesterday just as it's matchmaker was putting the sold sign on for someone else. My stomach did a little flip.

I even went on a blind date last night. My grandma spotted it in the newspaper. We took the kids for a walk past to scope it out--it is quite close to where we are now. There was an open house (what a hussy!). I think I need to introduce the place to Richard.

In the meantime, I am keeping my options open. Tonight, after introducing Grandma to the one Richard and I met together a couple of days ago, I am meeting a new house too.

Just like with marriage, there is no way to explain it. You Just Know when you have met your soul mate.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The worst five minutes of my life.

I lost Matthew today. Don't worry. I found him. He wasn't missing long. I don't even know how long he was gone--it couldn't have been more than five minutes, but you know how when really really really horrible things are happening time seems to stretch out?

Picture this: a beautiful sunny day. The first real hot sunny day of the year in my area. I decided to grill burgers for supper. I spent some time running in and out of the house, turning on the grill, prepping the burgers, gathering supplies. All the while Charlotte is asleep on the couch, Emmett is watching Star Wars and Matthew is playing on the floor nearby. Richard is out running an errand. As I run in and out I can keep track of everyone out of the corner of my eye. During one of my trips through the house I lose sight of Matthew. I think "No problem. He is just playing somewhere." I run through every room, calling his name. Nothing. I run outside and do a lap around the house. All the doors are closed. The gates are closed. I think he must be in the basement then. I run through the house again, a sick feeling growing in my stomach. No Matthew. I run outside and look up and down the street. No Matthew. Panic is rising inside of me. I run over to the barbeque and quickly turn off the gas. I look down the back lane. I look again. I see at the very end a woman holding Matthew. I run. She sees me and walks towards me. She hands me Matthew as I burst into tears and start saying Thank you over and over. She told me he was about to walk out into the second busiest street in our city. I say Thank you some more. Matthew spits out some rocks he picked up on his journey. She sheds a few tears when she realizes the gravity of the situation. We part ways. I cry some more.

Matthew must have a team of guardian angels watching over him. They definitely have their hands full.

I need to padlock the gate. Tonight. Then, we have to find a house with a six-foot security fence and install razor wire around the top.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I hope she remembers this when she has a boyfriend....

Richard and I live with a PDA police officer.
This is what happens if we to steal a little (G-rated) affection in front of her:

No kissing!

Stop hugging my father!

You! Go back to your chair! Now!

(Ok, so I may have provoked her yesterday for blogging purposes...does that make me a horrible person?? )

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Simple Things

Remember when all you needed for a good time was a fresh puddle and some rocks?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Good News

I got a letter in the mail today. It was from Emmett's Occupational Therapist. She doesn't want to see Emmett anymore. He has progressed far enough that the small challenge he has with pencil grip can easily be handled by the resource teacher at his school.

I remember when we started our therapy journey and had to pick up all these specialists on the way, and now they are dropping us off.

It feels good. I am bursting with pride for Emmett and all the hard work he has done.

Nestle Noir Mousse

Hello Regular Readers: The following is a product review I am committed to writing. If you are not interested, come back some other time. This won't happen very often, I promise.

Fellow blogger Mama Bear recently offered the opportunity to sample a new chocolate product made by Nestle. I never say no to free chocolate, so I signed up. All I had to do was eat the chocolate and then write about it. Easy!

This candy is Nestle's attempt to make a more upscale product; something you could set out with coffee for friends as opposed to something you scarf in the checkout line at the grocery store while waiting your turn.
I was given two flavours to sample: 70% dark and milk.

Upon first glance, I found the packaging very pretty--not your typical candy bar wrapper. It is obvious their design department took careful note of how Dove packages their candy. As opposed to individually wrapped squares, this candy is displayed on a tray inside the box.

I tried the milk chocolate first. The chocolate is definitely not the highest quality. I did detect a hint of waxiness that is typical of cheaper candy bars, and the chocolate did not melt on my tongue as quickly as a luxury brand. The mousse filling was smooth and very sweet. I wouldn't say I was blown away, but it was pretty good for Nestle.

Next, I popped a square of the dark chocolate in my mouth. I found I liked how the slight bitterness of the dark chocolate contrasted with the sweet mousse filling in this candy. It did not have the waxy quality the milk chocolate had, but it was missing a fullness of flavour the luxury brands have.

I served the chocolate (with a plate of strawberries) to my Grandma and Mother-In-Law. They said they liked both kinds, but did not get specific. Hubby said through a mouthful that he liked it too.

Bottom line: I enjoyed sampling the candy, but probably won't buy it. My life is too short to eat waxy chocolate!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

More rambling.

Richard and I went back for a second look at one house, a first look at another house. We are happy enough with the second look that Richard is going to call the bank on Monday and see what the good or bad news is. We should also look into a home inspector, if we can find one that doesn't reek of snake oil. (Local readers: any recommendations?)

That means I need to start prepping our house for sale. I hate having a house on the market. Having people tromp through looking at my stuff is so invasive. We are hoping for a best-case scenario where the bank will let us move out before selling. It happens. Don't look at me like that.

Of course, I am preparing for the worst and envision a rented storage unit in our future. I also envision emptying the kids rooms while they are out of the house so they can't see everything that needs to be packed up being removed in front of them.
I turn into a very ugly person when my house has to be spotless all the time. I don't like the person I become.

While I am sitting over here having an anxiety attack, enjoy some signs of Spring I have noticed at my house:

This little guy showed up on our doorstep last night, probably fresh out of his nest. We fended off the neighbour's cats while he figured out how his wings work.

I have beautiful ferns growing along one side of my house. The ladybug was perfectly posed, don't you think?

Friday, May 29, 2009


So, a house came on the market in my neighbourhood that I have admired for all the years that I have lived here. I checked out the listing and thought the price was a little steep for us. I mentioned it offhand to Richard who promptly said "Oh THAT house? Call [our Realtor] tonight. Go look at it." Well, the day before my appointment it sold.

There is another house in our neighbourhood for sale. On a whim (and since I was out with the Realtor anyway) I asked if we could take a peek. It is quite a bit scruffier than the other home, but it is 1000 sq feet bigger than my house and is on a fenced lot that is easily triple the size of the postage stamp of grass we currently have for a yard. I see tonnes of potential. My mom said she could help me paint and yank up funky carpet. The kids would have a yard. I would have a craft room. There are a few things in the cons list, like an odd cedar-lined hole in one of the bedrooms (Thwarted attempt at adding a closet? Who knows?) and the fact that it is on a very busy intersection. I have been nagging Richard for two days to go look.

I hate being in between things. I want to know if this is a real possibility for us. I want to know what chance we have of selling our house before that one gets sold. I really love the house we are in, it is beautiful, but I feel like we are growing out of it.

I feel like I am in an in-between place. I feel like I should start sorting and de-cluttering, but how much? I really don't like moving, and I hate prepping a house for sale even more, but I feel like the time has come for us.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I told you it was dance week!

Tonight is the big show. We survived the dressing room gauntlet at dress rehearsal last night so I feel good about doing it again tonight. Char had her hair cut by another dance mom today so she got sparkle hairspray as a finishing touch. She is so excited.

Want a preview?

(Those are little puppies wagging their tails and shaking their ears to music)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dance Week

Saturday started a four-day dance extravaganza in our house. Charlotte's dance class winds up this week with a final concert. That meant Portraits on Saturday, Practice on Monday, Dress Rehearsal on Tuesday, Concert on Wednesday. Charlotte is very excited.

I get a little catch in my throat when I see her with her hair and makeup done. She is a totally different person. So grown-up looking. I am so proud of her and her confidence on stage.

Here is a little preview:

Faces not related to me have been smudged for privacy.

In this one Charlotte is saying "Wake up Little Boy Blue!" It is part of her routine.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Darkwing Pig Vs the Food Bad Guys and the Regular Bad Guys

Emmett loves the movie function on our new camera. He wanted me to film this little story he made up and put it on the computer. He has blogging in his blood.

Warning: this movie will probably only be interesting to Grandma.

It is called Darkwing Pig--Vs the Food Bad Guys and the Regular Bad Guys.

Oh, and the picture in this post is the first dandelion bouquet of the year. Emmett picked it, arranged it, and then photographed it. I like how he has the lace curtains backlit behind the flowers. Very artistic composition.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How does your garden grow?

I live in an inner city neighbourhood.

  • Beautiful old trees shade the sidewalks and yards.
  • I get to live in a gorgeous almost-100 year old character home with hardwood floors and crown mouldings and real front porch.
  • I live walking distance from the grocery store, two parks, E's school, video rentals, restaurants, the library..........
  • The trees require me to have an (expensive) annual visit from the roto-rooter man.
  • The gorgeous house has no closets.
  • My shady yard is teeny.
I have always envied my suburban friends with their giant yards and gardens. I love the idea of a garden, but have never had the space to try it out. A few years ago Richard built a raised box for me in the back yard so I could have a few tomatoes and lettuce and herbs--and a couple of years after that a neigbour erected a shed directly on the other side of it, blocking all the sun my little garden got. I didn't know tomatoes and herbs need lots of sun, so most of my crops failed.

I am learning urban gardening requires some flexibility and creativity. The balcony off my bedroom gets full sun for half a day--my tomatoes, herbs, and some bell peppers will be growing in pots up there, if I can remember to water them! My lettuce and some cucumbers get the shady bed in the back yard.

This year, a darling friend hooked me up with a community garden plot so I can really get my hands dirty. This weekend, despite SNOW in the forecast this past week and the fact that the bird bath is still frozen most mornings, I got out my tools and my gloves and dug in. It is the May long weekend after all. It is the Official Start to the Gardening season here, even if Mother Nature disagrees.

How does your garden grow? Do you have any advice for a gardening greenhorn??

Two beds are mine. Doesn't look like much yet....

Charlotte likes to help--for the first five minutes. Then she runs off to the school playground across the street

Emmett doesn't like to get his hands dirty, but he does like taking pictures.