Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How to cure your son of his gastrointestinal troubles

1. Send him along on his daycare field trip to the apple orchard.2. Let him revel in the apples.3. When he asks for the first one to eat, let him have it.4. When he asks for the second one to eat, let him have it.5. When he gets back to Cindy's house and asks for the third one to eat, let him have it.6. When he comes home and asks for another one after dinner, let him have it.7. When you make apple fritters for dessert, and he complains the whole time that he doesn't like apple fritters, and then he sees the finished product all laced with icing sugar and sees the whole family digging in and enjoying, and finally decides that maybe he would like an apple fritter too, let him have it.

...all of the above work to give his insides a good cleaning out. I'm sure you can imagine. :)

Oh, and Mallory? - that's her picking the fritter apart from the apple, eating the dough and leaving the rest on her plate.

Of course.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pushing 18 months

Yesterday afternoon was a boys golf outing... so I wrangled the girls into helping me do an 18-month shot for Mallory, a milestone coming up in just a few days. (I could have had Chad help, but there is something about having someone who is not the parent involved in the picture-taking process that just makes it run so much smoother. If Chad or I tried to give direction or elicit a smile it would never have worked, or at least the smile wouldn't have seemed natural, but when Aunty Jenn tries, see how great the results are?)

I wanted to do this shot with the cornfield across the street as my backdrop (though I hadn't counted on them shearing off the top 3' of the stalks this week - grr!) and do it late in the day to catch some backlights in her hair. And I had the perfect prop to use for it. A couple weeks ago, when I left after lunch for my business trip to Niagara Falls, I stopped in at a great antiques store that's right at the 401 on-ramp. I rarely get to go in anymore, since we're always passing by with kids in tow, So because it was a Wednesday afternoon, and she had her flag flying to indicate that she was open, I went in, thinking if I were lucky I might find a buffet and hutch for the dining room, or a console table for the family room, or some bits and pieces that you don't really know you need until you see them.

I didn't really find any of that, but I did find this shabby old kitchen chair, painted a sweet bubblegum pink and priced at $15. It didn't take long for me to decide to get it. One shot alone was worth the cost, but if I can get a string of shots taken on this chair, from age 1 to age 18? That'll be priceless.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Planning ahead

I know in my heart of hearts that it's too soon to be thinking of Christmas, because I haven't even got the Halloween stuff out of storage yet, and I looooove Halloween.

But, I'm thinking of Christmas.

Specifically, I'm thinking about what the kids might like this year, and I think Mallory would love to have a Fifi doll. You know, from Fifi and the Flowertots - a show on Treehouse (from the same people who created Bob the Builder - same type of animation.)

However, it seems that you can only buy Fifi toys in the UK. At least, that's where all my web searches have led. I have never found anything available on this side of the pond. See, it's NOT too soon to be thinking about this, if I'm going to be ordering something from overseas.

(Come to think of it... my UK client was just here this week... should have asked him to pick one up for me! Too funny - I can picture it now - asking this mid-40s childless mathematical genius to get me a doll - "And her name is Fifi. And she's a flower. A forget-me-not, in fact...")

Anyway, did you know that Fifi is a slang term for a sex doll? I did not know that. Don't believe me? Go Google "Fifi doll" and see what hits YOU come up with...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's a misnomer to call it CanSkate, because clearly, they can't

Last night was Liam's first skating lesson, and so far I am totally buying what people say about how life takes an even more hectic turn once you have your kids in extracurricular activities. I have clients from the UK here this week and they have been sucking up an inordinate amount of my time, during work hours and beyond. Add to that the realization that new skates actually need to be sharpened late in the day yesterday, a trip to two different places to have that done, and then the fact that we showed up at the rink half an hour late - for some reason I thought we registered for the 6:30 session, not the 6:00 session. They let us on the ice anyway. I hope next week things run a bit smoother. Things started out fine and dandy - here they all are, sitting on chairs on the ice, meeting their instructor. I didn't even catch her name.
Then, the moment of truth - they all get on their feet. (Or ankles, as the case may be. Liam needs some different skates with better support.)
The scene about 0.2 seconds later - most of them have fallen, but Liam is still standing! I was so proud right then - thinking I had a little prodigy on my hands.
Clearly not the case.
One of the TAs for this class is Ashley, who coincidentally is our next-door neighbour and hopeful-soon-to-be-babysitter. She spent a lot of time with Liam. I don't know if she's sucking up for a babysitting job or just really likes him. Or maybe he just needs a lot more help on the ice than most kids.
At the end of it all, amazingly, Liam was in good spirits, happily talking about going skating again, and before he went to bed he even asked "Is tomorrow another skating day?" I can't believe the repeated wipeouts weren't enough to discourage him. I am in no way delusional; I'm sure that we'll have to drag him to the rink kicking and screaming at some point over the next 25 weeks.

I will just be sure to do it at 6:00 rather than 6:30.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Plays well with others. NOT.

The first phase of our new subdivision is about 20 years old, and it contains our neighbourhood park. Up until a few weeks ago, it was painfully obvious that the playground there was just as old as the first house built. Old, dirty, sun-bleached - yuck. And then, just as we'd hoped for, our neighbour told us one day that the park had been overhauled. So a couple of nights ago we took the kids over to check it out.

It's now a nice, new, modern park, with some great equipment that the kids will enjoy for many years to come. And obviously, it's big news for the neighbourhood. There was a gaggle of kids there when we got there, ranging in age from 2 to maybe 10 or 12, all clearly enjoying the new digs.

The 2 year old was quite taken with Mallory, wanting to know how old she is and what her name is. She told us her name and spent the majority of the night following Mallory around.

This drove Mallory crazy - Olivia would climb up the steps behind her, try to follow her down the slide, and Mallory would be shrieking "N-o-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-o" the entire time - a new syllable forming with every step as she ran away. This went on all night.

There don't appear to be a whole lot of very young kids in our neighbourhood, and I kind of thought that it would be nice for Mallory to make a friend so close in age. I hope Olivia is the persistent type, because it's not going to happen overnight.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The highs and lows of Value Village

Those of you who guessed Juno were right (and those of you who guessed Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore made me laugh, but I see your point.) On Saturday night Chad and I went to HallowBash, a big charity fundraiser party that's held every fall and this year took on a Halloween theme (even though it's 6 weeks early). It's been going for a few years now and we've meant to go in the past, but things have always come up. Chad now works for the main organizer of the event so there were no more excuses, and man, am I ever glad we went - it was a riot. They sold out of all 350 tickets, and I only saw two people all night who did not dress up. The event was held at a local horse stable - the animals were evicted for the event. There was a haunted maze you had to enter through, a buffet dinner catered by a local restaurant, a costume competition, a Fear Factor event I would prefer to forget having seen, a hypnotist and a live band. Oh yeah, and an open bar. And while I prefer to think that the reason I felt so awful yesterday is that the kids had colds last week and have now passed it on to me, I think it might be a little of that last bit as well.

We placed 3rd in the costume competition for Best Couple, missing out to Dog the Bounty Hunter and some blond chick (his wife?? - I've never seen the show.) Many of the people who knew what we were thought we were a riot, and luckily we got some "Go Juno!" cheers when we were on stage to prove to the rest that we were indeed supposed to be 'something', but there were some people who had no clue what we were. I ran into an old friend who thought I just dressed up as a pregnant woman with a black wig. After the costume competition I was approached by a guy who said, "Who the heck is Juno? I feel like I am the only person here who doesn't get it!" And if you haven't seen the movie, then you probably have no clue. Alas, there were too many like him who didn't get it so we fell short on the applause-o-meter, but the prize was a 40 oz of somethingorother and after the open bar, I don't feel like that's something I'd be into anytime soon, anyway.

We put together the costumes at our local Value Village and can I just say - that place ROCKS. Where else can you say, as you walk in the door, "I need to find an orange-and-white striped shirt" and bingo - there's one there? They just have so much stuff, and it's so well organized that it makes everything easy to find. Our entire costumes came from there and Chad's t-shirt logo came courtesy of an internet download and some iron-on transfer paper from Staples. We did scout the big new Goodwill store that opened here this summer, but man - it's just not the same.

The downside to all this is that when we were at ValVil on lunch this week for some last-minute costume components, I found a Little People school bus for $1.99. Liam and Mallory have a toy school bus that they adore, but it's small and has no working parts. This one has doors that open and seats inside for the myriad Little People we have at home. So I picked it up for them, and can I just say - I regret that I did. Because they have been bickering about it ALL.WEEKEND.LONG. Who gets to play with it, who gets to touch the rest of the Little People set up in 'bus stop' stations around the house, who gets to touch the Little People Princess Castle that is the houes of the Little People riding the bus, who gets to go near the couch or the kitchen counter, both of which have acted as the school the Little People are being bussed to... it's maddening. I think I need to track down another Little People school bus. This is definitely one of those times when having two of the same toy to preserve my sanity will be worth it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Just play along with me, will ya? Do you know who we are?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Now living under the path of migratory birds

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The ships-in-the-night thing

Today Chad comes home, and I take off, and thank goodness we at least have a couple hours of overlap because we need to switch vehicles. I thought I would get a few things crossed off my list with Chad away but of course that was just naivite. I did drag the kids out on a skates-and-helmet shopping trip for Liam, during which he actually had red skates on his feet and decided he didn't want them anymore. Truthfully, I think he felt how wobbly the skates were and decided he wanted out of this whole skating business, period. He stopped to admire a Diego hockey stick and now I am trying to keep him pumped for skating by agreeing that once he learns how to skate, he can get the Diego stick to play hockey with (his idea, but one I will go along with!) In the end I got lazy and bought Liam some adjustable skates that cover a range of sizes by way of a sliding toe piece. He was not terribly cooperative when it came to trying things on in the store, and it seemed like a good we'll-figure-it-out-at-home solution.

Once at home, my best-laid-plans of having dinner started for Chad and the kids tonight and their clothes set out for the next few days fell by the wayside. Liam was late getting into bed and once he did he said, "It's wet in here!" Yep, he picked night-before-last to wet his bed for the first time, and then conveniently failed to tell me about it or give me enough warning to get his bedding and pajamas washed. Wouldn't have been such a big deal except that all the spare bedding is still packed away somewhere in the basement, and I was not in the mood to set out to find it. So he slept with the old quilt that used to be on our bed, and used our old bedskirt as a bottom sheet, and slept in stinky pee-stained pajamas (which had dried, but definitely smelled, yet he refused to take them off). So I had some laundry to do last night, and his bed to remake this morning.

And then when Mallory woke up, her bed and pajamas were soaking wet - like a conspiracy, it was!! More bed-stripping, more laundry. Such is life.

Tonight, though, this will all be Chad's problem, and he can deal with their bedtime requests for drinks of milk and Mallory's refusal to have her teeth brushed and Liam's insistance for just one more story. I will be at the Sheraton, peacefully dreaming in one of their Sweet Sleeper beds... and missing the chaos like crazy.

(We installed a cat door leading down to the basement, so Captain can access the litter box while preventing Mallory from plunging to her death... and she is awfully curious about what goes on behind that door!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


...and now the photo feature seems to be down, and I can't upload more. Gah!!!!!

High & dry

So, we came through 36 hours of monsoonish weather (weird weather system of its own accord + Ike remnants = YIKES; have you seen pictures of the flooding in Chicago?) unscathed. I made repeated trips to the basement to look for evidence of seepage and did not find any. Yay! This is particularly important right now, when so many of our lifetime acquisitions are strewn about on the basement floor. Even a little dampness could have had consequences.

Yesterday was our 7-year wedding anniversary. (I asked Chad whether he feels itchy, but he either didn't get the joke, or was playing dumb. Hmmm... I wonder what that means???) To celebrate, I took Liam to the doctor to have his bum issues looked into, because friends: it happened again. I was pretty apprehensive about the whole thing, and was sort of winging it; I didn't know how soon to tell Liam he was going to the doctor, or if I should tell him why we were going, or any of that good stuff. But in the end, all was well. Liam went along with everything I asked of him, without complaint; even when the doctor pulled his pants down to take a peek. She thinks he may just be a little constipated, so she prescribed him a daily dose of laxative, but after assuring me that it isn't a habit-forming drug, I read the box at the pharmacy on my lunch hour today and it says right there that it may be habit-forming. Sigh. I think I will hold off on giving it to him, and wait and see what happens.

Anyway, Chad and I did get some time together. We went out for dinner and then ran some errands without the kids, but those errands were: buying shoes for the kids, buying socks for the kids, and looking for Halloween costume components with which we want to impress the kids. So somehow, it turned into a night all about them, anyway. Then we went home, put them to bed, and unpacked ten more boxes while we watched The Hills, since Kitchen Guy showed up again yesterday and made some headway (though it must be said that there is still one issue outstanding). The traditional gift list says copper is the material of choice for the 7th anniversary, and so we gave each other a copper portico with a house attached to it, and called it a day.

It was nice to have a bit of time together yesterday, because Chad heads out of town today and I leave later this week... like ships passing in the night.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Did I mention we went to the fair?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My lil' nephew, Thomas

You should have seen how big Liam's eyes got when he heard his new cousin's name. Like, could it be any cooler?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Breathe in, breathe out

I was tagged, seemingly a lifetime ago, and I thought that today would finally be the day I got to spill all my secrets. Instead, I have been kept hopping all morning. And all yesterday, too. Geesh, these hurricanes mess with us. We're thousands of miles away, but with Ike headed for Houston, where our head office is located, we have been kept busy: establishing backup servers for the control room should Houston be unable to manage the pipe, the markets dancing all over the place, and IT people bugging me about a capital project submission submitted two months ago: why is it suddenly so critical now? And I'm still not caught up from taking ime off work. But I digress. The tagging thing will have to wait for another day - it's coming, I promise - instead, you can enjoy my kiddos taking a sunset walk on the path behind the house. It helps bring a little bit of Zen back into my life every time I look at it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Scenes from my kitchen window

This is another one of my favourite areas of the house. Kitchen Guy comes back Friday to finish everything off (though the kitchen is almost done - really it's the family room he needs to work on - but I digress). I am still in the midst of unpacking my kitchen pretties, but the functional stuff is 99% done - phew! These sconces were one of the first new house items I purchased - the whole lighting design for the kitchen was worked around them. A pair of them flank the window over the sink. Note the awesomeness of the handmade blind behind. :)
There are three windows across the back of the kitchen, and this is a vignette from the ledge of one of them: some old printer's type. I love that I can riff on Cook in the kitchen. In fact, I was going to find an assortment of vintage sign letters to spell out Cook on the wall above the windows - I already have the C - but in the end, I thought that might be too busy. There's already a lot going on in that corner of the room as it is.

And wouldn't you know it, the last photo I uploaded never took - it was a shot out the kitchen window to the view it has of the greenbelt. Phooey.

I will definitely do a full room shot of the kitchen sometime... bear with me... chaos still reigns at home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And so it begins

Earlier this week, I signed this little guy up for skating lessons. Be still my heart! - how did he get so big, so fast? He just does not seem old enough for me to turn him loose with a coach, and I can't even imagine him wearing skates and sliding around on the ice - yet in two weeks time, that's exactly the situation we will be in. The skating program is 26 weeks long - can you believe it? Half a year on the ice. By the time the lessons end, he will be 4!! I am just hoping he likes it and doesn't want to quit after the first lesson (since there are no refunds due to changing your mind!) He seems excited about the prospect right now, and wants us to find him a pair of red skates to wear. I told him he can have red skates if we can find them... knowing full well that the odds are pretty slim.

I completely intend NOT to be the parent who programs my child to death and schleps them from one activity to another, but learning to skate and to swim are some pretty basic skills we want both kids to have. (A new swimming session begins at the end of October, and we are considering signing up for it.) I would also like to see Mallory in a little pink tutu someday... but not just yet; let me deal with Liam growing up first, and I will worry about Mallory later.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Why Liam is not allowed to feed Mallory

Last week, about 30 minutes before I shot this photo, we were heading home from a morning walk along the greenbelt. We passed some duck poop on the path, and Liam turned to Mallory and said, "Would you like some fried duck poop for lunch, Mal?"

Lucky for Mal, I did not take Liam's suggestion too seriously. You will note, though, that she has seven carrots on her plate and one more in her hand. She has just finished dipping each one in Ranch dressing and sucking it off, and then the carrots get neatly discarded. She is just not buying into this veggie-eating business.

(I have a new nephew! He was born this morning but remains nameless. Boo! Hiss! We want a name!!)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Turning Japanese

For the past week and then some, we have subsisted on takeout, cheese and crackers, and the dregs of our pantry (three-year-old canned tuna, anyone?) It's all been getting a little tiresome, so one night this week I improvised. My own little riff on the ubiquitous Bento meal became Ice Cube Tray Dinners: a mish mash of what we had in the fridge and in the pantry. It was a big hit with the kids, and I liked it a lot myself. Somehow it seems much more appealing to eat a few slices of banana than a whole banana. I like bananas just fine, but the idea of something in its entirety is sometimes, well, overwhelming. Pair a few slices of banana with some animal crackers, a chunk of cheese, a piece of Turkey Bite, a handful each of grapes and blueberries and baby carrots... you get the drift... dinner becomes fun again.

I did give each of the kids a bite-sized chocolate bar (broken in half, so as to take up two ice cube tray compartments) and Liam did not let me down: he saved his for dessert. Mallory, of course, sniffed hers out in about three nanoseconds and ate it first. A girl after my own heart.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Forgot to add: anyone need a pass to the Western Fair?

I have one I can give you - we wound up going on 2-for-1 day, so I have an extra.

Call or email me. :)

Hello, September.

After a few more bumps along the way last week (like our dishwasher being hooked up improperly and flooding the floor), life is returning to normal. As if to signal that the worst is really behind us, yesterday Chad found the source of our weeklong "what-the-heck-is-that-SMELL???" obsession: a package of not-frozen-any-longer-and-by-now-quite-rancid salmon that somehow got lost in the shuffle and stuffed in with the Tupperware during the move.


I am torn between posting pics and waiting til things are truly 'finished', i.e. pictures hung, house fully furnished and decorated finished; but that could be months from now, right? So because my pesky sister is being pesky and asking for photos (and really, she's having a baby on Monday, shouldn't she be preoccupied with other things right now??) - here it is - my very favourite room in the entire house.(That's a lofty claim to make, because I challenged Chad to name his number one favourite feature of our house the other day, and we both came up with about 15 things. I may need to do a countdown.)

But really, I love this room: the kids bath. It's the most perfect bath I've ever seen. I just love it. It's retro and homey and bright and cheerful, and I am a bit sad that it is for the kids and not for us. Our bath got a lot more attention in terms of square footage and $$$, but go figure - I like it a lot - but I just cannot stop pausing in the doorway to look at the kids bath.I love the green Marmoleum floor, and the striped shower curtain that I bought more than a year ago with the vision of this bath in my mind, and the star that perfectly matches the towels, and the animal toothbrush and soap holders. I love the soft grey in the laminate countertop that was a last-minute split-second decision that totally goes with the cream coloured cabinetry without matching it. And you know I love my pharmacy cabinet tucked into the niche beside the shower.(A shelf bracket went AWOL in the move - thus the empty third shelf - need to make a Home Depot run to get that fixed.)

This is the first 'done' room in the whole house (because really, how much furniture arranging and picture hanging does one do in a bath?) - but I will be back with more vignettes from around the house as time permits. :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Back to good

We have successfully moved... we're in the new place, even if it is a bit (ok, well, a LOT) of a wreck right now. The only casualties of the process were a flowerpot and my sanity - though I think the latter is returning. It went fairly well, though we were those people who had everything loaded on the moving truck and then had to sit and wait for three hours ( x $120/hr for the movers) while the lawyers wrapped up the official proceedings... in other words, we weren't into the new place until 5:30 Friday night. Arrrgh.

Every day is a bit better - the kids are with Cindy for 3 days this week to allow us to get the new place set up, which, though I miss them, is wonderful - we've made a lot of progress today. The house is still a work in progress, to be sure. Today, we had our washer and dryer delivered, electrician in, plumbers in, gas inspection on the fireplace, sod delivered and then taken back (too hot to lay today), roofers finishing the portico, cable guy out for the second time, heating and cooling guy in, and the lot graded. Am I forgetting something? - LOL. Probably. We had the water hooked up to the kitchen sink today and let me tell you - never have I been so happy to wash dishes! (The countertops were not installed until Friday afternoon at the same time as we were moving in - talk about doing everything at once!) The kitchen cabinets need some finishing, the touch up painter still has to come in, the electrician will be back again tomorrow, the alarm system isn't hooked up yet - in other words, it will still be a revolving door for some time to come.

Having lived mostly in old houses that were already broken in for me, I am having a bit of a hard time relaxing and allowing the living to happen here. The kids have dinged the floor, I have dinged the paint - and I have a hard time reminding myself that the difference between a showroom and a house is the living, breathing, finish-wearing family in it. Which should come first. Even at the expense of pretty things. :)

As much as I stress and neurose about the whole thing, though, it was the right decision for us. This place has felt like home since the moment we walked in the door and there were no tears shed over our old house. It was a happy home for us, but this place has more of the same in store for us. We're so happy to be here.