Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Babies (click the link to view the preview) came out on DVD recently.  Richard and I watched it last night.

This movie is about four little babies born in four different corners of the world and follows their first year of life.  There is very little dialogue in the movie.  You are left quietly observing the development of these babies in their different cultures, families and surroundings.   The move cuts between each baby as you watch them grow.  You get to see how different cultures raise children.  I was fascinated.  Some of the scenes from Africa and Mongolia may be a little surprising bordering on shocking to modern germ-fearing North American helicopter parents.

It was a very emotional movie for me to watch.  I cried over the births of the babies and my arms literally ached to feel the weight of a sweet-smelling warm little bundle in them again.  I thought I was going to have a milk let down!! The rest of the movie had me laughing and smiling over the little people and their antics.  Is there anything better than those first smiles or the sound of a baby giggle?  The brother and sister in the preview above had me in stitches.  That could be any brother and sister anywhere.  I have seen that exchange in my own house more than once!

If you like babies, check this movie out.  If you are a mother or want to be a mother, be prepared for a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

Oh, and for the record, I am not receiving any compensation for this movie review.  I just really enjoyed it and I like to share things that I like.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Come for a walk with me.....

It was a perfect fall day.  The perfect day to go for a hike.

Richard and I drove out to his Mom's cabin with the kids today.  I left them behind for the afternoon and went on a gorgeous 2-hour hike around a lake with my sister-in-law.  She needed closure.  The last time she attempted this trail a moose blocked her way and she couldn't finish.  (If you think she was being a chicken then you do not know how viciously moose can attack if provoked) We did the full 9.2 KM (5.7 miles for my American readers)  and didn't meet any wildlife.  I guess they weren't interested in our conversation.  We were in Black Bear country so we didn't hike quietly.  You want to give them lots of notice you are in the area.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Read this book!

I had the privilege of attending a book release party last weekend.  It was for a very special book.  It is a work of fiction that is set in a very real place.  It is not very often I get goosebumps from listening to someone read a book, but when the author read from her work, I had to blink back tears.  When I got home in the afternoon, I dug in and stayed up far too late reading, and then woke up and read the last bit over breakfast.

This is one of those books that you wish was longer.  You don't want to say goodbye to the characters at the end and you think about them for days afterward.

OK.  Enough gushing.  What the heck is this book about??

It is about a teenage girl , Marie-Claire who lives in a tiny town in Southern Manitoba in the early 1940s. She has to work hard to help out on her family farm because all of the able-bodied men are overseas fighting in WW II.   The town is in the shadow of a Tuberculosis Sanatorium.  Marie-Claire's family is further turned upside down when her visiting uncle infects the children in the house with TB.  She is sent to the San with her siblings to "chase the cure."   The story then turns to life in the Sanatorium. 

(Before modern drugs were developed it was believed that the best chance for a TB patient was complete rest, good food, and dry prairie air--extreme TB cases were treated with very risky surgical procedures. People often spent many years in Sanatoriums chasing their cures.)

The author is very precise with her descriptions since she grew up in a Sanatorium environment as the daughter of the head surgeon.  She writes with a great depth of feeling and emotion.  At the book release I met many former employees of the Sanatorium that this book is based around.  My grandma read the book and she said it took her right back to the days when she visited her own sister there after The War.  My great great(?) aunt was a telephone operator and spent months in a musty basement in England and came home with TB.  She was one of the lucky ones who overcame her disease by spending several years at the San.

I love books that can take you right back to a specific time and place.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn did that for me.  So did The Time Traveler's Wife (please, read the book--avoid the movie at all costs).  If you are looking for something wonderful to read please, give Queen of Hearts a try.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


It is that time of year again.  Time to start extracurricular activities up again.  Charlotte and Matthew were easy.  Charlotte likes to be busy and she loves her dance classes.  Matthew is also enjoying his time at playgroup and dance class.

This leaves my Emmett.  Last year we tried piano lessons.  He cried at the thought of practicing and I really think he needed a more social activity.  Spring soccer was a bit more successful.  I considered the winter soccer league here, but the schedule doesn't work with all of the other things we have going on.  (I have to co-ordinate all of our  schedules with one vehicle....tricky at best)

This leaves Beavers.  Part of me thinks that the loud setting could be overwhelming to Emmett.  Another part of me thinks he could use the stimulation.  Over dinner last night Richard mentioned that he did Beavers at Emmett's age and hated it.  Emmett is not like other boys.  Richard pointed out that Emmett is going to have social challenges until the other boys catch up to him and branch off into more defined social groups (Emmett is very firmly in the group genus Nerdus already--he carries Magic cards around with him wherever he can.)  Will Beavers help him or make him feel like more of an outsider?  I also have to take into consideration how tiring school can be for him now.  It sometimes requires a lot of extra effort on his part to get through a day of study and therapy. 

So, who am I helping?  Am I signing him up for Beavers because that is what Good Moms do or because I think it will really be good for him?  Am I signing him up because everyone else in the house has activities and I don't want him to be left out?  I know I am over thinking this, but I am really on the fence about this.  Part of me thinks we should wait a year since Emmett himself is quite ambivalent about the whole thing. Another part of me sees a future with a reclusive basement-dwelling gamer son who has no job and no friends and no outside life and maybe Beavers is the one thing that can change that outcome.

Yep.  There is some serious over thinking happening over here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Oh Matthew!

....You just can't turn your back on him for a second.

The following happened yesterday evening.

Incident #1:

It's after dinner.  Charlotte has just come home from the neighbour's house, where she was playing with her little friend.  Richard, Charlotte and I are sitting on the deck, enjoying the last little bits of sunshine for the day.  Charlotte starts yelling and pointing towards the neighbour's house.  We look over and see Matthew happily playing away in their sandbox.  I call over to him to come home.  Matthew calmly looks up and yells back very clearly : "NO!". He goes back to playing.  Richard calls him and gets the same answer.  Richard manages to lure him to the fence where he can be grabbed.

a little while later.....

Incident #2

I hear Matthew in the kitchen talking about Emmett's school lunch.  I go to the kitchen with a feeling of dread, wondering what I might find.  I find Matthew standing at the counter with Emmett's lunch bag.  It turns out he packed Emmett's lunch for school.  So, what does a three-year old pack in a school lunch?  I'm glad you asked!  I found, a whole sweet potato, a bottle of strawberry syrup, a nectarine, the can opener, my knife sharpener and an ice pack to keep everything fresh.  I showed Emmett what Matthew packed for him.  Emmett laughed and then ate the nectarine.

Whoever said age two was the hardest with a preschooler obviously never had my preschoolers....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reverse Bucket List

Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil made an interesting post on her blog today.  She talked about the prevalence of "Bucket Lists" and how much pressure there is to fill them up if you make them.  She liked the idea of taking stock of all of the cool things you have done in your life already--less pressure and you get to see how you have grown and take pride in your accomplishments.  My list is not as cool as hers, but it is mine and it makes me happy to think about all of the good things I have done.

What is on your list?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Matthew update.

It feels like I don't write much about Matthew here.  Part of it I think is that most of my day is just doing damage control with him and really, that gets boring to repeat over and over.

Something DID happen last week with him.  In the morning, before my traumatic afternoon at the doctor, Matthew had an appointment with a speech pathologist.

I have been kind of burying my head in the sand over this.  Because I live with Emmett, the boy who is famous among the therapists in town, my frame of reference for what is bad and good for speech is kind of mis-calibrated.  It turns out that Matthew's proclivity to put sounds in the wrong places in words might not be a cute thing that he grows out of after all.  He is now on two separate waiting lists for therapy, and the first one to get an opening gets to have him for a client.  It is too bad there is a shortage of specialists in my city.  Even being on two lists,  we are probably looking at waiting a year for a spot.

In other news, as you read yesterday, Matthew started dance classes.

I had no idea what a boy he was until I threw him into a room full of girls his age.  As soon as the class started, all of the girls assembled in a circle and sat down to listen to the teacher.  My boy wandered around the room until he found an uncovered vent to explore. After that, he decided he missed me and tried to leave until I went back into the room with him.  He spent part of the class listening to the teacher from my lap.  I inched my way out and he did a bit of the ballet before he got extra wiggly and had to run.  He then spent the rest of class jogging laps around the circle of girls practicing their dance moves.

I am hoping he will get the hang of things after a few classes.  If not, it is going to be a pretty funny recital!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Day

Today was a day of firsts.

This morning, my big girl put on her backpack and we excitedly walked to Emmett's school, where she gleefully skipped up the stairs of the school bus and drove off to French Immersion Kindergarten in a very independant way.  The bus driver was very kind and made sure he knew which school to take her to.  (I found out later his name is Steve)  Of course, I fretted all the way home from the bus stop that she would get lost on her way to class.  When I picked her up at lunch she was quick to tell me Steve told her where to get off the bus and then she found her class all by herself. 

After getting my two big kids off to school, I packed up Matthew and he went to his very first dance class.  He was nervous at first and I had to inch my way slowly to the door when he wasn't looking.  After a while, he got comfortable.
Halfway through the class, he decided he was going to have fun after all.  I guess the ears are not really connected to the feet yet.....
I am hoping after a few classes he will get used to the routine and he will learn to settle down and listen. If not, it is going to be a very interesting year!

Oh, and for those of you concerned, my finger is on the mend, and hurting less and less every day.  Today I changed my dressing all by myself.  I guess I had a first too.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bad day.

I have had an infected cuticle for about a week.  It didn't get better with salt water soaks and frequent dressing changes.  I went to the doctor to get some antibiotics.

I got the prescription.  Oh, and he ripped my nail off.  Despite him filling my finger with lidocaine I fainted from the pain. 

I am still  in a lot of pain.  I count down until my next dose of acetaminophen with codiene.

I will write more when I feel better.  This pain is exhausting, not to mention I have severe mobility limitations on my right hand due to the giant dressing I am sporting right now.

I am very grateful to my Grandma and my friend Jen for coming by today to help me out.  A mom usually doesn't get to call in sick.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My weekend in pictures.

Matthew turned three this past weekend.  We celebrated by taking him (and his siblings) to the zoo in the Big City.
Matthew's favourite animals were the squirrels.

Emmett and Charlotte are wearing spiffy new clothes because I left their suitcases at home.  Oops!

My favourite animal at the zoo--a Mama Lemur grooming her babies.
The best part of the day for Matthew was getting to ride this train.  A real, coal-powered steam train!
Of course he had to have an engineer's cap.  This boy will not wear a hat, but he puts this one on every day.
After the zoo, Matthew relaxed with a little video gaming.
Happy Birthday, Big Guy!

Of course, all good things must come to an end.  Today was Emmett's first day of Grade 2.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I believe in Karma.

I got a big dose of Karmic Payback today.

Want to hear a story?  Pour yourself a coffee (or tea or wine...) and get comfy.

It has been well-established that my girl has a slightly stubborn streak.  We also know that my girl thinks she should be able to do many more things than her age and society say are OK for her to do.

Tomorrow is Matthew's birthday.  I packed up Emmett and Charlotte and took them to the store down the street so they could pick out gifts for their little brother.  On the way home we passed Richard pushing Matthew in the stroller.  I found out later that Matthew wanted to see where we went so it made his night when I tooted the car horn at him.

We pulled into the driveway a few minutes before Richard got home.  Charlotte asked if she could sit outside and wait for Daddy to come home.  I said yes.  She put her little deck chair on the sidewalk and sat down to wait.  After a short while she popped her head in the door and asked if she could walk down to the corner to see if she could spot the guys.  I said yes.  She promised she wouldn't go very far.  (cue ominous music)  Richard got home.  Charlotte was not with him.

Where was Charlotte?

We started a search.  She was not in the house.  She was not in the yard.  Richard did not see her on his walk home.

Where was Charlotte?

I start heading down the street, calling her name.  Suddenly I see her skipping down the sidewalk with a little girl, her dad and their two dogs.

I freak out as she explains to me that she couldn't find Daddy so she decided to go to the park.  (The playground at Emmett's school, 1/2 Km away from our house.) She assured me the little girl she was with was taking care of her.

I grow several more grey hairs.  After dealing out punishment I call my mom.

My mom tells me a story about her own little girl.  A little girl who, at two years of age, decided she needed to go visit her Daddy at work.  This little girl, two years old, left her house and walked down a highway to visit her Daddy at the car shop where he worked.

Karma is a bitch, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I can smell a lie like a fart in a car.

Overheard in my laundry room, about 20 minutes ago.....

Charlotte:  Mom, I just finished my supper.  Can I have ice cream now?  I didn't give any of it to Lucy.  None of it.

Me: (Barely looking up while shoving towels in the washing machine)  What did you give to Lucy?

Charlotte:  Pause with shifty gaze Nothing.

Me:  What did you give Lucy?

Charlotte:  My bread