Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday time Picasso

The string of multi-coloured dots along the edge of the tree is all the decorations. Sometimes I think back to when Liam was just a baby and was so helpless, and I just can't believe how far he's come.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Couch potato in the making

I need to look back in my files and see if it was ever this bad with Liam. I remember him going through a period where he enjoyed watching TV, though it seemed short-lived and much less all-consuming than Mallory's obsession. She does not care about the TV as much as she cares about her DVDs... she wants one in first thing in the morning, and will sit right here in this little leopard chair watching the screen until night if we let her.

Maybe the issue is that we didn't have this many DVDs (about 10) when Liam was this age. Hmmm.

It's quite hilarious, though - she has an impressive vocabulary, and much of it comes from her DVD hobby. When a DVD gets stuck she comes running out of the playroom yelling "Fix! Fix!" She also knows words such as "Fox" (translation: I want to watch The Fox and the Hound), and when she says "Book" it doesn't usually mean let's read a book; it usually means: I want to watch Jungle Book). (Thankfully, she does enjoy reading too. "Night Night [long pause] Moon" is her favourite.)

We recently replaced our DVD player, as she was a little too rough on it, and thank goodness the new one was only $30 because she is none too gentle with it, either. (We are trying to teach her to be gentle, with mixed results, and there is just no getting her to stop using it now that she knows how it works.) We also have one DVD that skips no matter how many times we try to buff the scratches out. It only recently occurred to us that we could maybe burn copies of the DVDs and keep the originals for safekeeping, so we'd still have a useable version when the inevitable happens. Last night I dropped $30 on a spindle of dual-layer blank DVDs to do just that, only to discover that I need some sort of special software to do it... argh... maybe we will just suck it up and replace them one by one as they are ruined after all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Germ free. (We hope.) And hey, we didn't wipe out the entire family at Christmas this time, either!

Well, life is back to normal and all is quiet on the western front. Liam seems to be healthy again, and Mallory never actually caught what the rest of us had (let's just hope she doesn't wake up with it tomorrow after having gone through an incubation period). As much as I gripe about the grossness of the kids being sick, I do enjoy being able to provide them with some comfort when they are, and it was nice in an odd way to have a lazy day at home doing little more than cuddling together. The kids can get awfully cute in their patheticness. Liam was totally sapped of strength on Monday night and when I took him up to put him to bed, he saw that I'd swapped out his feather duvet for some blankets that can go in the washer and dryer and he wailed, "Where's my du-bay? I want my du-bay!" I had to explain to him that dry clean only items are a no-no when vomit is involved.He was only sick twice: once after dinner, as he was sitting at the kitchen counter watching our builder replace the drywall in the ceiling - I thought he seemed quiet, but he'd eaten a good dinner, was waiting for the cookies to finish baking so he could have one, and just seemed like he was really curious about why Al was cutting an even bigger hole in the ceiling. The next thing we knew... puke everywhere. We stripped him down, put his jammies on, covered the carpet on his bedroom floor with an old vinyl tablecloth and put him to bed with instructions to let me know if he needed anything. When I checked in on him before I went to bed, I immediately knew something was wrong when I found him balled up at the foot of the bed. Why he continues to throw up all over his pillow and not wail for me to come clean it up is beyond me, but he'd done it again. I threw in another load of wash, got him some fresh blankets and he made it through to morning none the worse for the wear, a little crusty vomit behind his ear notwithstanding. :) I hadn't been planning on a day off work like that so I am now further behind than ever, but it did give me a chance to catch up on a few things at home. The Christmas cards are all addressed and stamped and ready to go (save for a few where I am missing an address) and I also happened to get some oilcloth in the mail on Monday, and since I knew I didn't have to get up early Tuesday morning for work, I stayed up late and sewed a tablecloth for the kitchen table. Mallory has gouged a lovely series of holes in our antique table with the tines of her fork, and the finish on the table is starting to wear from the constant wiping down. I'm hoping the tablecloth helps on both fronts, though after the effort I put into it, I will be mighty upset with Mal if she starts poking holes in it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lord help us...

... because it's Barf City at our house right now. Chad went home from work sick yesterday, Liam started puking after dinner, and I'm keeping a close eye on Mallory because while she's not acting lethargic or anything right now, she hasn't eaten anything yet today, either.

I usually really enjoy being a mom, but it's at times like these that I really feel like sending them back. I know it's not their fault that they're sick but... vomit skeeves me out. Big time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Now and Then: are your Spidey Senses tingling?

The top pic is from the weekend. Liam and Chad took a walk over to Gramma and Grampa's house to help Grampa out with something, and when they came home, it seemed that Gramma had doled out what was originally supposed to be a Christmas present!... a full-out Spiderman costume. That was around noon on Sunday, and he had it on and off three or four more times over the course of the day. Methinks it's a hit.The second photo is from Liam's birthday party, back in April. I love how in both shots, you can just see the one eye peeking out. Mallory seemed quite intrigued by the visit from Spiderman: she wasn't afraid of him, but she also didn't realize that it was Liam in disguise for some time. I think she has it figured out now. Goodness knows he had the costume on enough yesterday that she should have caught on by now!Right about now, I'm thinking it's a good thing that Liam has never seen a Spiderman TV show or movie. I wouldn't want him thinking he can swing from the light fixtures now that he's got the costume. Wearing it to eat lunch in is about the extent of the activity I want to see from it!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Alex from Madagascar invades the Nativity

Friday, November 21, 2008

Two things I love - Lost and The Fray - in one package!

Happy Thrusday, y'all

Yes, you read right, I said Thrusday. There's a message board where I am known to hang out from time to time, a board that can be rife with drama, and for some reason it seems that Thursday is always the day of the big blow-out threads. Some time ago there was a train wreck of a thread going on, and the original poster did a hair flip and referred to it (accidentally) as Thrusday... and the mercenaries jumped on it and it became almost like an inside joke - now whenever there's a drama thread, someone inevitably posts, tongue in cheek, "Is it Thrusday?"

The funny thing is that we have Thrusdays at home, too. The kids are most likely to have meltdowns on Thursdays, leading me call them Thrusdays. I think it's just the culmination of a long week and knowing that there's still one day to go. The kids don't nap as much at Cindy's as they do at home, and sometimes life does seem rush, rush, rush from Monday to Friday as we try to swing full time jobs and full time daycare and housework and sports and the other minutiae of daily life.

We had a Thrusday yesterday. Mallory, who is still a terrible eater most of the time, learned shortly after we started eating at our kitchen table that she can launch herself off the side of the table with her feet to shoot back in her chair and announce, "All done!" We scold her every time she does it, fearing that she'll tip over, and last night it finally happened - I watched the whole chair tip over backwards with her still strapped into the booster seat on top. Luckily she did not hurt herself, but she did get a good scare, and you know what? - I'm glad. I'm hoping it will make her think twice about doing it again (though she did it again at breakfast this morning, so I'm not so sure...)

As if that weren't bad enough, Liam then somehow managed to fall off the toilet last night. I have no idea how he could have taken such a tumble or what he hit on his way down, but he had quite the goose egg on his forehead as a result - it was a pretty significant mishap. Who knew such dangers lurked in the bathroom?

Anyway, the worst of Thrusday is behind us for another week. My clients went back to the UK last night, wrapping up another busy week, and that's the last site visit we have planned for the foreseeable future - yay! This weekend we are planning to stick close to home and get a head start on some holiday stuff... if I can do it without freezing half to death, I'll get the urns decked out for Christmas. We are pulling record volumes out of storage today, and the gas control room is humming with activity - winter is setting in in a big way. It's only going to get colder though, so I'd might as well do it now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coming up

Busy week this week... my UK clients are here for their last site visit of the year, and a little girl at the kids' daycare has the stomach flu. There is NO WAY I can stay home with a sick kid until the end of the day tomorrow at the earliest so I am just praying that my kids don't pick it up at least until then!

Anyway, no time for niceties today. But here's a preview of an event we have coming up: our first (annual?) kiddie Christmas party. We'll be hosting a houseful of 1-4 year olds in a few weeks... maybe we're crazy, I don't know... but I think it will be fun. Stay tuned for details.

Monday, November 17, 2008

3 things means my run of bad luck is over, right?

(OK, so I have not had the camera out much lately and I am reaching back into October files for something to accompany this post. Deal with it!)I would like to say that we spent a quiet weekend at home, except that it wasn't as uneventful as I would have liked. On Saturday we found out that our backyard is prone to freak wind gusts when we came home and discovered our 2-month-old behemoth barbecue flipped over and lying face down in the snow. It's heavy enough that I can't even budge it, so I have no idea how the wind could have caught it, but... never underestimate Mother Nature. Thank goodness the natural gas line was intact! Chad is afraid to look to see what kind of damage there might be; the wheels are off, at any rate, and I'm sure that's not the worst of it.

Then, Saturday night, we discovered water dripping through a speaker in the living room ceiling. Although we were running the washer at the time, there was no evidence of any problems with the washing machine. We think we've traced the leak back to the laundry room sink, which we had never really run hard until Saturday. You'd think the plumber would check it for watertightness prior to the drywallers coming in and building around it, but I guess not. We called our builder and he left his poker game at 10:30 on Saturday night to come take a look. The plumber is at home working on it right now, and I'm sure it will be taken care of, but I was just saying how happy I was that we are through with the tradespeople stampeding in and out of the house and settling into a normal routine. Now the plumber is back, and will have to be followed by the drywallers making 2 or 3 trips to patch the ceiling (which needs to be cut down in order to do the work) and then the painter... ugh!

Finally, I got an email yesterday saying my big 2009 project at work is on the verge of being cut from the budget. A lot still has to play out, but I would be so disappointed if that happened. I don't think it would mean I'd be out of work but stranger things have happened... right?? Yikes.

Anyway. Moving on... hoping this is a better week. To be fair, the weekend did have some highlights. It snowed a ton, and it was wonderful having cars parked inside a garage so that they did not need a 20-minute scrape-down session prior to going anywhere. And number two, surveyors were marking out the lot two doors down from us on Friday, and it looks like a new house is ready to go up. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to see the neighbourhood filling in, and it's perfect that they're going to build during the winter when it will be least disruptive to us. Plus... here's hoping that they'll build something humungous that will block the freaky winds from our back yard!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Not about to break any land speed records, but making progress nonetheless

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Christmas gift I bought for Mal for $69.99 is going back!

...because I just found it for almost HALF that in this week's Canadian Tire flyer. Woot!

ETA: I spoke too soon. This set is identical to the one I already picked up for her... except that it's missing the cradle, and while it's probably a better value... that cradle is too stinkin' cute... so I'm sticking with the original.

Policy, schmolicy

I just had a post typed out, and Blogger ate it. Man, I hate it when that happens. It's been months and months and months since it has; I thought I was safe!

Anyhoo... yesterday my company joined the 21st century by announcing the creation of a new maternity leave benefit top-up program. Good news for many but man, the timing is lousy for me; because I don't think they intend to pay it out retroactively, and when I took two years off to be home with my kids when they were babies, I got ZIP. Every other mother I met on my maternity leave seemed to be amazed at this because it seemed their employers universally threw them some kind of a bone in this regard. (Working at a utility, where the company's costs always get passed on to the ratepayers, the argument has always been that 'excessive' benefits would be hard to get the ratepayers to cough up for. Looks like times are a-changing.)

So it's too late for me to take advantage of that, but I am going to the mattresses with management over my vacation schedule. The one benefit I did get during my maternity leave was my 2007 vacation entitlement, so when I came back to work on March 31 of this year, I had 4 weeks of 2008 vacation plus 4 weeks of 2007 vacation plus 6 personal days to use up... and even after taking two weeks off at Christmas plus a couple more days here and there before year end... I will still have 9.5 days left that I want to carry forward into 2009. Normally, company policy is that you can only carry 1 week forward, and that it must be used up sometime during first quarter of the new year. I foresee many January and February days spent cradling my childrens' chins over barf buckets, so I don't expect that there will be any problem with that.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Even Steven

Further proving that these two can be polar opposites, Mallory refused to eat any breakfast today and in fact even refused her beloved juice for the first 15 or so minutes of the meal until she finally broke down and had some. She has been a real crankypants this week - maybe a bit overtired, but miserable in general - as Dana put it - "Wow, she's hitting the terrible twos early, isn't she?"

Liam, on the other hand, placed his breakfast order before he went to bed last night. Not only did he want a bowl of hot cereal (oatmeal), he wanted a waffle too. And he almost polished it all off this morning. I swear this boy has had a hollow leg lately and I cringe when I think of what our grocery bills might be like during his teenage years.

(Remember the Seinfeld episode when George had nothing but good luck, Elaine had nothing but bad luck, and Jerry was Even Steven? That was one of my all-time favourites. At least my kids' appetites balance each other out!!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I need squirt bottles.

Where can you find clear plastic squirt bottles, like the kind ketchup and mustard are served in? Bulk Barn is out of stock and the dollar store didn't have them. Hmmm... maybe I can swipe one of the mayo bottles from the counter at Subway when they're not looking...

Flying solo

Chad has been out of town this week, which has been a mixed blessing. On the one hand, the kids have been a bit off the wall lately, I've been getting to work late and leaving early each day to do both the drop-off and pick-up, and I haven't been getting a lot of sleep because I don't sleep well when Chad isn't home - I just have a hard time going to bed early when it feels like our routine is off - and then I've been getting up early to tackle the task of getting the kids out the door solo.

On the other hand, I've had lots of opportunity this week to catch up on my scrapbooking.By yesterday morning though, I was ready for him to come home. Mallory fought me tooth and nail over everything - getting dressed, eating her breakfast, having her hair done, brushing her teeth, and putting on her coat and shoes to get out the door. Liam peed his pants all over the kitchen floor - AFTER he got dressed, of course - so in addition to everything else I was trying to do to get out the door, I had to find him a new outfit, wash his lower half down, throw in a load of laundry, and wash the kitchen floor. Ay yi yi. By the time we finally got out the door, and Liam held it open for a split second too long and Captain escaped, necessitating a neighbourhood-wide manhunt - well, I was about ready to call in sick to work requesting a mental health day.

Chad comes home tonight... and it can't come soon enough!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

19 months

Monday, November 10, 2008

Much to my sister's relief, we have crossed another milestone

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Friday, November 07, 2008

Gettin' crafty

Chad's biggest pet peeve in life is when people complain about how busy they are, but really? I've been so stinkin' busy lately. There. I said it. As I've been saying, work has been nuts, with year end approaching and projects wrapping up, and let's face it - winter is a busy time when you heat peoples' houses for a living. If this is the tip of the iceberg, then I don't think I want to see what lies beneath. Oh, and did I mention that we have a major system construction project, which simply cannot go wrong or take any longer than planned, booked for the week between Christmas and New Year's? I have my time marked off on the holiday calendar (along with the rest of the department, of course) - I just hope that none of us are called in due to any emergency scenarios at the last minute.

I've had a couple of photography jobs over the past few weeks and some still to come, too, the usual November onslaught of family pictures for holiday cards, as well as an adorable newborn I shot when he was 9 days old - I don't think I could ever get tired of doing those (though Chad was very grateful when I came home and said I was not ready for another one!) - but there is definitely work involved in the post processing and resizing and CD burning that follows.

This weekend, after having taken the past few weeks off from organizing and unpacking around the house, I think I am ready for another round. I have a few pictures and hooks I want to get hung, a corner of the basement I hope to clear out, and when we had people over for dinner last weekend, it became painfully obvious to me that we have not yet unpacked the good china. Must do that before the kiddos find the boxes in the basement and decide to throw a tea party.

Mostly, though, I'd like to be able to kick back with these two a little bit. Maybe come up with some fun little project for them to do (this is them busily painting egg-carton caterpillars a few weeks ago; these kiddos are in love with painting!) Maybe spend a few hours going through the seek and find books I picked up for Liam at a book fair at work this week. Or, maybe just putting the rain forest puzzle together ten times per day and trying to fix the Cinderella DVD for Mallory (I think it is now scratched beyond repair, and no amount of buffing the surface will stop the skipping.) Mundane little activities that translate into quality time together.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

S-a-t-u-r-d-a-y night

Swamped again... I think this is a preview of things to come; winter is a busy time when you work in gas control operations! And yes, it's supposed to be 70 degrees outside today, but the only thing harder than making it through a cold winter day is making it through a warm day when it is SUPPOSED to be cold!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Boo to you

Ah, Halloween. Since we had kids, I have loved this holiday more and more with every passing year. I'm not the type to go into work in costume, but I was disappointed that our annual company Halloween party was not on this year. Not sure why - maybe they figured out that we have other priorities, like, say, delivering gas??
Regardless, here are the kiddos getting ready to go out trick-or-treating. For 10 months Liam talked about being Batman or Spiderman for Halloween, and then one early September day we were in Winners and he spied this giraffe costume, and it came home with us. He never wavered and followed through as a giraffe. I would have bought it one size up if they'd had it, but they didn't - and by Halloween the darn thing barely fit and the pant legs stayed north of his ankles. Oh, and the hood was too itchy, so it only went on for the first house. But he loved it - that's all that mattered.The cat costume was just a lucky Old Navy find - we happened to be there when the costumes had newly arrived and it was Baby Days to boot (30% off). Mallory loved it. For someone who'd never been trick-or-treating before, she certainly had the whole process downpat in record time. If I so much as stopped to chat with someone who answered the door (remember, we're new to the neighbourhood - I thought this would be a good chance to introduce ourselves), she would start to drag me by the hand down the driveway.We took the wagon specifically for Mal but she did almost the entire neighbourhood on foot. Well, we didn't really canvass the whole neighbourhood - mostly stuck to dropping in on people we already know. (So much for my theory about meeting the neighbours, right?)Our neighbourhood is very festive when it comes to Halloween - unlike our old neighbourhood, where a lot of people didn't even hand out, our new neighbourhood has people pouring shots for the adults on their front porches, and men taking their kids out with beer in hand. I have an idea in mind for how we can contribute next year... need to check into the feasibility first.Chad did not dress up this year, having loaned away the Bleeker costume. I was the queen from Snow White for the third year running. I might mix it up a little next year.Mallory did accept a wagon ride home, and we made the mistake of putting both the kids' loot bags in there as well. This was what we found when we got back to our house - Mallory helping herself to everything. She did not actually eat anything, mind you, but she had stolen several things from Liam's bag and put them in hers. Naughty girl - Liam was none too amused.Of course, the hurt was quickly forgotten when we returned some of his rightful treats to him and let him have a couple before bed.