Thursday, January 29, 2009

No longer able to get anything past them

The other night I picked up the kids from Cindy's house, and on the drive home, I farted. The silent but deadly kind. (Yes, internet, it's been known to happen.) There was a moment of silence and then Liam said, "I think I smell something."

I feigned ignorance: "Oh, really? Like what?"

Liam: "I think Mal pooped. I think we need to change her diaper when we get home."
Mallory: "I not pooping! I didn't do a poop!"
Liam: "Yeah Mal, I think you did."
Mallory: "Noooooo! I not pooping!"
Liam "Uh, yeah Mal, you're crazy, I know you did a poop. Mom will change your diaper when we get home."
Mallory: "Nooooooooooo!"

This went on for the entire drive home, and they were so busy arguing back and forth that they did not notice me laughing so hard (under my breath, of course) that I was crying.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Early morning battle of the wills

It's ironic that the photo I chose to upload last night to go with a post for today is this one of Mallory eating a bowl of cereal, happily and without complaint. This morning we had quite the run in with Liam and getting him to eat. He wanted a bowl of Cheerios with blueberries on top. We had the Cheerios - did not have any blueberries left. We offered him sliced banana, raisins, apple if he so desired - every other kind of fruit we had - no dice. He sat there and sat there, whining and crying and saying he wanted something on his cereal but refusing to say what. This is a personality quirk of his - he will have something very specific in mind, but refuse to outright ask for it - instead letting us play 20 Questions and try to figure it out. We spent a very long time asking, coaxing, begging, pleading, yelling - the works. Finally, I scooped him off his stool, told him he was too late to eat breakfast and that I was going to dump his cereal in the garbage and take him upstairs to brush his teeth (at this point thinking I'd need to pack a baggie of dry cereal for him to take to Cindy's so that at least he wouldn't be too hungry). That must have knocked some sense into him, because he suddenly promised to behave and eat it, climbed back up on the stool, and inhaled the whole bowl - without whatever accompaniment it was that he was waiting for - in the five minutes I told him that he had left. I still don't know what he was holding out for on his cereal, and I probably never will. He's an enigma like that.

This does nothing for my worries about him going to school and refusing to tell the teacher when he needs something...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Today, we registered Liam for school. Which really turned out to be a non-event. Class was in session, so we weren't allowed to go poke around the kindergarten room; we go back for an orientation day in May for that. We did get to check out the gym and the library, and Liam seemed excited by it overall, so I'm glad we brought him along. It was worth the hassle of having to sneak him out of Cindy's without letting Mallory see him leave, or see me, for that matter. We took him out for lunch before taking him back to Cindy's again - so all in all, a fun excursion.

Things at work have been pretty hectic lately, which explains the lack of regular posting. It's winter and we're moving a lot of gas - that's life in a nutshell. Actually, work is a little anxious-making for me right now. In addition to nonstop daily operational concerns, and a whole lot of politics that I try to stay out of but which affect me nonetheless, I have some worries about my big project for the year - which was green-lighted and funded, though only at about 80% of what we asked for. It kind of got hustled through the approval process with the powers that be saying not to worry about the funding shortfall, but I have some concerns that when we blow past the budget by third quarter, I'm the one who's going to look bad. Also, it's a really complex and difficult project... last year's project (which was a knock-it-out-of-the-park success) was a cakewalk by comparison. Without being too much of a pessimist, I am trying to let it be known that this one is not going to come quite so easily. We shall see.

On top of that, within the past week I have booked three photo sessions for the month of February... two of them involving twins! Wish me luck... I will definitely be needing it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The end.

On Saturday night (or was it during the wee hours of Sunday morning?), I finally finished my quilt. Well, I suppose it wasn't fully finished until later Sunday morning, when I threw it in the washer and dryer to shrink it and crinkle it up, and then trimmed off a million loose threads (this is, after all, a Ragged Squares Quilt - not to be confused with the currently-popular Rag Quilts. But I digress.)

We will be moving Mallory into a bed next weekend, probably, and though she doesn't need the quilt right away - she has a duvet, and frankly, she still just kicks off her blankets, anyway - I'm glad to have it done, if only for decorative effect. Mallory likes playing with it, too, something she wasn't allowed to do while I finished the binding. She likes to spread it out on the floor and then crawl underneath it, pull it up to her chin, and pretend to go to sleep. If only it were that easy every night.

Speaking of the binding... I had no idea that was going to be the most time-consuming part of the entire project! Once I had the squares assembled for the top (layering a 3", 6" and 9" square on top of each other), it took only about 3-1/2 hours to put them together in a 8x11 square grid to complete the quilt top. The binding took an evening to cut, sew, and attach to the front of the quilt by machine. It then took (I'm guessing) another 8 or 9 hours to sew by hand onto the back. I thought I would speed through this part during a couple of evenings in front of the TV, but I soon found that you can't really pay attention to your sewing and to the TV at the same time. And really, was I going to miss out on the season opener of Lost this week for the sake of my quilt? No way.Instead, I finished it up while re-watching the season opener on Saturday night. ABC reran it just for me. That time around, I already knew what was going to happen so I could listen along without missing out on any key plot points. I also listened along to half of an SNL repeat. Repeats, it turns out, are a very good way to get a project done.
I didn't take Dawn up on her suggestion to embroider something on the back of the quilt because frankly, after completing the quilt itself, I am all ambitioned out. I just don't have it in me to do any more. I did pick up this cute little tag at the fabric shop back when I was buying my batting, though, and I think it's an appropriate sentiment.
I'm so glad I chose to do this project... I don't think I can state enough how much I love the result. Or maybe I have stated it enough, and you really understand. Regardless... this is one of those "I rock!" projects for me, the kind where I feel ready to take on the world and feel like there's nothing I can't do now. First comes quilting... next, scaling Mt. Everest, perhaps??

Anyway... here's a full list of credits.

The instructions for the quilt that spawned the whole idea in the first place are here. I took a couple liberties to make changes - namely, deciding to make my quilt 8x11 squares rather than 9x11 squares (for a twin bed) when I mis-cut a piece of fabric and found myself short. The thing is still huge; I'm glad I didn't order more fabric, wait for it to arrive, and make the job that much more daunting.

The fabric I used is from the Freshcut line by Heather Bailey - found here. Except that I bought it from a few different Etsy sellers. A set of 34 fat quarters, a set of 20 6" pre-cut squares and one more yard of one of the prints for the binding was what it took to put it together. I also bought 5 meters of flannel for the backing.

I pre-washed the flannel, since it shrinks quite a bit in the wash, but didn't pre-wash the other fabric. Seems like this was a good way to go.

There's another website that had great photos + instructions detailing how to assemble the binding, but I don't have the link saved here. I'll update to include it when I can.

Now go make something. :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I don't know if I'm more surprised that she strung this sentence together, or that I was given this order by a one-year-old

"Don't take any more pictures of me!"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What Wednesday was like

So... you know I have to ask... what was the consensus on Lost last night? I think I enjoyed the "Destiny Calls" recap show more than the season premiere. Following the Losties on the island through all the jumps seems more tiring than thrilling, but my goodness - Desmond going back to Oxford? Cool. Ben having rounded up the Oceanic 6 so quickly? Awesome. I'm definitely looking forward to the season ahead!

In addition to the excitement of Lost returning on Wednesday nights, we are still busy with Liam's skating lessons. We have been lucky to have some very generous grandparents involved who have had us over for dinner nearly every Wednesday night since skating season began. It's made it that much easier to make it to the rink for Liam's 6 p.m. ice time. I do not think we will make the mistake of registering him for such an early activity again; it's been pretty brutal trying to make it on time. I leave work at 4:30 on the dot (which is difficult). I rush to pick the kids up from Cindy's, rush over to gramma and grampa's, we inhale our food which is always ready for us, then rush out the door and back across town to skating.

Last week was the first week I can remember that we tried this on our own without going to gramma and grampa's for dinner first. I didn't get out of work on time and so I made the call to avoid the stop at home and just go to McDonald's for something to eat before hustling over to the rink. Liam and Mallory loved this, but I hardly want it to become a weekly habit.

This week, I thought I had it all planned out. I deliberately rescheduled a late-in-the-day meeting so I could leave at 4:30, and figured I could whip up some grilled cheese for dinner in fairly short order. Got out of work on time, picked up the kids, hauled them home (we live further away from the rink than gramma and grampa do) and walked in the door to see Chad already started in on the grilled cheese. Which was wonderful... except that on the drive home from Cindy's house, Liam informed me that they had grilled cheese there for lunch. And I have a pretty strict no-repeating-lunch-for-dinner rule. (Mallory also started crying in the car when she realized she was not going to get to go to Gramma and Grampa's.)

We heated up a can of soup for the kids while Chad and I ate the grilled cheese, then Chad ran out the door with Liam to get him to the rink while I finished up with Mal. Chad is now playing pick-up soccer on Wednesday nights, just to jam the schedule a little more - so then I had to hustle Mallory over to the rink midway through Liam's lesson to relieve Chad and bring Liam home. Poor little Mallory had just put a new movie into the DVD player at home and was so sad to be torn away from it to go get Liam. I promised her she could watch it once we got home, and I even made her some popcorn to go with it. After the disappointment of not seeing Gramma and Grampa and the indignity of being carpooled around, I think she deserved it.

Then we put the kids to bed, and flaked out on the couch for three blissful hours watching Lost. Thank goodness it's back on. It's just what I need to unwind on Wednesday nights.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Don't you DARE call me between 8 and 11 tonight!!

Can't. Contain. My. Excitement!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Weekend wrapup

After a long day, much cursing, and a near trip to Divorce Court, we finally got our dining room photo wall hung on the weekend. I have had an assortment of frames stacked and sitting around just waiting to be hung for some time, but was afraid to commit to punching a bunch of holes in such a pristine wall. This may sound backwards, but I have found the drywall in our new house to be LESS robust than the plaster in our old house, so rather than just hammering in a skinny nail and moving it over an inch if it goes in the wrong place - we've been doing the whole screw-and-anchor routine. Much more work to fix when you fudge it up. I even went so far as to go buy one of those Hang and Level contraptions, which was a total disaster and I want my money back. I put a masking tape line on the wall where I wanted the bottom of the picture frames to sit and we marked it according to that, put in the screw and lo and behold - the frame edge is now about 1.5" below that line. Utter piece of crap. Anyway, I was convinced it would take half an hour tops to hang 7 frames, but it turned into an all-day project instead. First, we had to come to a compromise on where the frames would actually be hung. Then we had to measure everything six ways to Sunday after the Hang and Level was a no-go. Then we had to alter the hanging hardware on some of the frames after realizing it wouldn't work with the screw and anchor assemblies... ay yi yi. Everything is hung now, just waiting for photos to go in them. (As Chad said: "Now if only we knew someone who takes a lot of pictures...") There actually is a print order on its way... just waiting for it to arrive.

I made *some* progress on the quilt front, but again, not nearly as much as I'd expected. I sewed binding the whole way through Burn After Reading and into the first hour of Saturday Night Live, only to find myself about a quarter of the way done. Then I picked it up again Sunday night, but could only go at it for an hour or so - my fingers were much too sore to continue. I can go back to referring to it as "my winter project" now because really... this is going to take me til the end of the winter to finish up. Who knew the very last step would be the most time consuming of all?

Finally, I bought Mallory the cutest little dress for Aunty Katrina's wedding on the weekend. I know it's five months early, but you have to nab these things when you find them - if I waited til June to buy something, I'm sure I wouldn't find anything I like. And honestly... it was nice to have that little bit of summer pick-me-up. It's only January, and already I am sick of the cold and the snow. These past couple of winters I have been totally envious of everyone who makes the trip down to Mexico or Florida for a break. (Why exactly are we saving our vacation time for August, again? Hmmm.) Maybe I just need some vitamin D and some time out in the sun, but man... spring cannot come soon enough!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Going underground

The basement in our new house is unfinished. A few weeks ago, Chad and his dad did some electrical work to prepare for the eventuality of putting up some drywall and making a rec room down there, but aside from the new outlets and light boxes (which I *love* - it was so dark before) - it's unfinished. The walls are just studs and the floors are bare concrete, but it's been a wonderful setup for the past few months. The kids love it down there, and ask to go down nearly every night after dinner. We brought our collection of ride-on toys in for the winter, and we've invested in a soccer net as well. And of course, the lure of mom and dad's home gym is strong - the mini-trampoline gets a lot of use! The funniest thing by far is that Chad recently bought some of those things that swivel when you do push-ups on them (I have no earthly idea what they might be called), and after seeing Chad use them, Mallory now attempts - pathetically - to use them every day, too. It's hilarious.

Unfortunately, we also brought the water table down to the basement when the weather got cold, and we filled it with rice so the kids would have a sandbox (of sorts) to play with. It's accessorized with a variety of scoops, funnels and measuring cups, and the only thing it's short on these days is rice. In no time at all, the rice spread to all four corners of the basement, and as luck would have it we only have one vaccuum outlet down there - and a hose too short to reach the far corner. A little bit of the rice gets vaccuumed up every now and then, and after the water table moves back outside this summer... it won't be taking up residence in the house ever again.

The rest of the basement is still stockpiled with things that have not been unpacked since the move, which really does beg the question... do we need these things? One of these days I am going to snap dozens of photos and flood Kijiji with listings for things - old car seats and wedding gifts that have rarely been used and toys the kids have outgrown. Or at the very least, I will box these things up and take them to Goodwill. We've proven that we can make do without them so it's best to be rid of the clutter.

One thing that will soon be moving out of the basement is an old daybed that I used for seating in my first apartment, when I realized that the staircase in my second-story 1800's abode was not wide enough to bring up an actual sofa. It's a white wrought iron piece that should work well as a first bed for Mallory. I am not 100% sold on the aesthetics of a daybed as opposed to an actual bed, but the fact that it is enclosed on 3 sides has definite practical advantages for someone who still shimmies in her sleep.

Moving her into a bed means that I have to get that quilt finished... but never fear; I completed the quilting last weekend and the fabric for the binding arrived in the mail yesterday - and with Chad working late last night, I stayed up late too, and was able to cut/mitre/press/attach all 400 inches of it. A couple hours of whipstitching in front of the TV, and I will be done! Mallory knows this blanket is for her and often asks to play with it. Last night I told her no, that I had to finish it first, and she wandered around saying "Mom finish blanket... mom finish blanket!" for the rest of the night. Talk about pressure.

Oh, and I know it is dorky to be so excited about a quilt, and that it is far less Sex and the City than it is Little House on the Prairie... but, well, what was not to like about Laura Ingalls Wilder? Bear with me while I bind it and gloat that it's done, and then quilting is not likely to come up on this blog ever again. Or at least not until I get a hankering to start a new project.

(If you 'got' my reference to The Jam up there... then I <3 you.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's the effort that counts, right?

Last night at his skating lesson, Liam got his first term report card. His lessons are through the local figure skating club, and they follow the CanSkate program. There's a sequence to the teaching in this program, and badges you can earn for mastering each skill. Which sounds great, except that after four months of skating, Liam only had one check mark in the very first box - he can balance on two feet. He did not earn the 'march in place' check mark, nor did he get the 'walk forward (duck walk)' check mark (which I think he is close to getting, especially since they did away with his chair completely last night - he can function fine without it, but if it's offered then of course he will take it!)

I don't have the report card handy right now, but suffice to to say that there are at least a dozen skills, if not two dozen, that he needs to master in order to get his first badge. So the fact that we only have one check mark instead of two is pretty irrelevent. Remember back in September when I was saying how I couldn't believe skating lessons were 26 weeks long? Well, I take that back. Now, I can't believe they are only 26 weeks long. At this rate Liam will be a teenager before he earns his first badge, and by then I'm sure the novelty of badge-earning will have worn off.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thou doth protest too much

Last week was a tough week. We'd become accustomed to sleeping in and whiling away lazy afternoons over the course of our time off, and getting back into the routine of a 6:30 a.m. wakeup call took some effort. Plus, they really do frown upon you in the office if you are caught snoozing at your desk after lunch.

Just as I had trouble acclimating to work again, so did the kids have trouble adjusting to being hustled out the door to Cindy's each morning. It was rough going waking them up in the morning, and by the time we got home and settled and had dinner each day, they were starting to get testy. It worsened all week, and we had our typical Thrusday, but last week Friday did not even bring the relief it normally does.

Liam was not faring too badly, but after dinner on Friday night, Mallory was quite miserable. So I made the executive decision to give her an early bedtime. I gave her a bit of warning, and then took her upstairs to get her PJs on. She kicked and screamed the whole way, and by the time she was on the change table and I was wrangling with her pajamas, she screamed the following at me at the top of her lungs:

I PLAY DOLLHOUSE! ( ...referring to two of the toys she has in her room.)

I completely burst out laughing. It probably wasn't the best reinforcement for her, since she was clearly upset and I should have acknowledged that I understood. But her indignation at being hustled to bed early was too funny, and wanting to ride her rocking horse or play with her dollhouse? - those were clearly last-ditch efforts to be allowed to do something, ANYTHING in her room, except go to bed.

It didn't work - I gave her a cuddle in the rocking chair and then put her in her crib - but she definitely won points for trying.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This one is for you, Megan

Oh. My. Heck!!!

Lost is on for three hours tomorrow night. It's a re-airing of last year's season finale, and then next week there is another three hours consisting of a one-hour 'recap' episode plus the two-hour Season 5 premiere. And then it's weekly Lost episodes for the next 4 months. Can I get a hell yeah!! Get your DVR's ready!

Because Lost is back on the air, Doc Jensen returns with a Season 5 preview. Soooo excited!

OK, now for some bullet points for those who don't give a whit about watching Lost.

  • I finished my quilt. Almost. Just waiting for some fabric to arrive so I can do the binding, and then it's done! It turned out just lovely. If Mallory were not my own flesh and blood, I would take her to Home Sense and make her fend for her own quilt and keep this one for myself... it's just sooo pretty. Or maybe, it's just the blood/sweat/tears that make me see it that way.

OK, now for some points for those who don't give a whit that I finished my quilt.

  • Interesting reading for Pioneer Woman fans over at Chicken Liver. Yes, I realize how old this is, and judging the from the size of the kitchen in her guest house, I didn't exactly think money was in short supply... still, interesting, if you're nosy like me. :P

OK, now for some bullet points for those who don't give a whit about Pioneer Woman.

  • Unless you've been under a rock for the last few days, you know that we are about to encounter cold weather of epidemic proportions. This wreaks havoc on my life, work-wise. So back to it I go.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Say it ain't so

I knew this day was coming, but even so - I can't believe it's already here. This is the sign out front of our local public school. In a couple more weeks, it will be time to register Liam for school.

You know what I'm going to say, that I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday and can't believe that it's already time to ship him off to an institute of higher learning. I think part of my problem with acknowledging the passage of time is that I don't feel any older myself. I see high school girls on the street and I almost feel like I am still one of them. How can I possibly be old enough to have a school-aged child when I can clearly remember starting kindergarten myself?

I have worried about sending Liam to school ever since he was a baby. How well I recall that first year when we would walk into a family gathering, someone would come up to say hello and he would burst into tears. How, I wondered, is he ever going to fare in this world without me? He's such a quiet and sensitive little thing, so hesitant to speak up when he needs something. I couldn't picture him answering a teacher's questions or asking to use the bathroom when he needs to. I couldn't even picture him giving his name when asked, he's so bashful at times.

Having him in skating and swimming lessons this winter has allayed some of those fears. I've seen him willingly run off from me to join his class and take direction from someone he doesn't know. I still have some fears; he's not the plucky type of kid who's going to initiate his own friendships, so I hope there are some plucky kids out there who think he looks like good friend material. Social situations can be heartbreaking sometimes, and if his little heart gets broken, then mine will be positively shattered.

Even though it's time to register him now, it will be 8 more months before school starts, and when you are only 3 years old a lot can happen in 8 months. And who knows... maybe I'm not giving him enough credit. He's a smart cookie, after all, and he may take to school like nobody's business. I will still sit here for the next several months though, wringing my hands and worrying about him. I'm his mom, after all. It's my job.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Swimming lessons

Liam started swimming lessons today, real honest-to-goodness lessons. Not the kind where the parents get in with the kids and swirl them around a little bit to get them used to the water. Nope, this was the kind where you wave goodbye and send them off to an instructor who looks like she can't be more than 16, and she has six kids, none of whom know how to swim, and you think as you send them off that there is no way that everyone is going to make it out of here alive.Except that they all did, of course. Though maybe we have to thank two of the kids who were frightened and left in tears before the lesson was over, and a third girl who left to use the bathroom and never came back. At least that brought the student-teacher ratio down a little bit, which could only have helped.Liam seems to really enjoy lessons, having been successful at both skating and swimming thus far. I think he likes the camaraderie of the other kids and he really gets off on having his parents' undivided attention while he is doing something. Every chance he got, he was looking my way to make sure I was watching.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Little miss observant

A few weeks ago, I got some new glasses. I have been wearing contacts pretty much 24/7 for the past 20 years, and I know it's not good for me. There were some funds left in our benefits account that had to be used up by year end, so I thought I would incite myself to wear my glasses more by buying some new ones.

I bought them at one of those 2-for-1 places, and got a pair of blue frames and a pair of lavender ones. The kids are not used to seeing me in glasses, and Mallory cannot stop talking about it when I have them on. Her favourite thing to do is discuss the colour of whichever pair of glasses I happen to be wearing at the time. "Are they... (big pause) blue glasses? Are they... (big pause) purple glasses?" She says it with a singsong lilt in her voice, one that completely melts my heart every time I hear it.

Yesterday was one of those days, the kind of day where work is fraught with problems, Chad has to go pick up the kids because I have to stay late, even though he still has a pile of work that he has to go back into the office to finish later, I come home to find that Mallory has spilled a sippy cup of milk all over the new couch (which is going to smell WONDERFUL in a couple of weeks' time, I am sure), then she gets marker on it after I question the wisdom of letting her get too close to the couch with it in her hand but let her do it anyway, and she kicks and screams and fights going to bed the whole gosh darn way, even though it is Thrusday and she is clearly exhausted. She wailed intermittently for quite some time after I put her to bed, and finally I went in to pull her sobbing little self out of the crib, wipe her nose and sit with her in the rocking chair for yet another cuddle.

And of course, as soon as I did, she turned to look up at me and said, "Are they blue glasses?", which made it completely worthwhile because I'm telling you, I do everything I can to encourage the glasses banter these days, I enjoy it so much. And she must know that, because when I had to get up with her in the middle of the night because she was crying again, even though every bone in my body wanted to stay tucked into my own bed, because I seem to suffer from some sort of insomnia that does not allow me to go to bed at a decent hour despite the fact that I have to get up in the morning, the first thing she said to me was, "No glasses now."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Another meme

If you're reading this, consider yourself tagged.

What time did you get up this morning? 6:30am
Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds
What was the last film you saw at the cinema? The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
What is your favourite TV show? Lost
What do you usually have for breakfast? PC brand Honey Nut Cheerios. I don’t like the name brand ones nearly as much.
What is your middle name? Ann
What food do you dislike? Eggs, mushrooms, mushy vegetables like squash and eggplant and zucchini, liver, chicken wings… I can be picky.
What is your favourite CD at moment? Last few iTunes downloads are shamefully Top 40: Katy Perry “Hot & Cold”, Lady GaGa “Poker Face”, Beyonce “Single Ladies”. Before that was some old Ben Folds and James Blunt.
What kind of car do you drive? Honda Pilot
Favourite sandwich? Fish Mac (aka Filet o Fish). Trying to stay away from them though!
What characteristic do you despise? Pompousness
Favourite item of clothing? Argyle vest
If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Still wanting to visit Jordan and Egypt
Favourite brand of clothing? Lately seems to be Mexx and Point Zero
Where would you retire to? Might depend on where my kids are, but a small town is a sure bet
What was your most recent memorable birthday? 30th because I was a new mom at the time
Favourite sport to watch? Tennis during a regular year, but during the Olympics I will watch just about anything!
When is your birthday? May 30
Are you a morning person or a night person? Night
What is your shoe size? 9
Pets? One pain-in-the-ass cat
What did you want to be when you were little? Teacher
How are you today? Feeling old, sore from being back at it in the gym recently, and procrastinating on a report I have to finish for this afternoon
What is your favorite candy? Just one? Peanut butter cups, Mike & Ikes, Nibs…
What is your favorite flower? Tulip
What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Family Day in February… the next stat holiday!
What's your full name? Carrie Ann Cook
What are you listening to right now? A coworker across the floor on his phone. Man, is he ever loud!
What was the last thing you ate? A chocolate/oatmeal square that was supposed to be my mid morning snack. Didn’t quite last that long!
Do you wish on stars? no
If you were a crayon, what color would you be? green
How is the weather right now? Cold, snowy, blowy
The first person you spoke to on the phone today? None yet... quiet day so far!
Favorite soft drink? Diet Pepsi
Real hair color? brown
What was your favorite toy as a child? The ET doll
Summer or winter? Summer
Hugs or kisses? Hugs
Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla
Coffee or tea? Neither
What is under your bed? Dust and a bunch of the kids' books
What did you do last night? Took Liam to skating lessons, worked on Mallory's quilt, uploaded some photos, wrote some cards
What are you afraid of ? The ocean and myself or someone I love dying before their time
Salty or sweet? Sweet
How many keys on your key ring? 4
How many years at your current job? 12 for this company, less than 1 in current role
Favourite day of the week? Saturday because of the possibilities
How many towns have you lived in? A whole bunch
Do you make friends easily? No

Squeaky clean

Back in November or so, when Mallory's eczema came back for another winter, we drastically reduced the number of baths she takes. As in, we went from bathing her every night of the week to maybe only doing it once every 5-7 days. Since, in a true exercise in efficiency, we bathe Liam and Mallory together - Liam's baths have been severely curtailed, too. (And really, when it's not summer and he is not running around outside getting all sweaty and muddy - it hardly matters.)

The problem now is that they have discovered the joy of having that glorious extra time each night before bed to play. Rather than heading upstairs at 7 p.m. to start the bath water running, we sometimes aren't heading up until almost 8 p.m. And when there does happen to be a bath on the schedule, much complaining and shrieks of protest ensue.

A while ago I was so sick of the protests that I caved in and offered to let Liam and Mallory have a shower, in our bathroom, with me. Liam went through a showering phase when he was roughly the age that Mallory is now, and quite enjoyed it, so I figured the novelty would win me a few argument-free nights.

That's an understatement. For whatever reason, the shower idea has been a wild success. Liam has responded to it positively, which is great, but Mallory has been really over the top. In fact, there were a few mornings over our Christmas break, when we had the luxury of being lazy and puttering around rather than frantically racing to get out the door each morning, and I would still be in my pajamas at 11 a.m. (or sometimes later - eek!) I would eventually announce that I was going to go upstairs to have a shower, and suddenly notice Mallory was missing. It never failed on these occasions that I would find her upstairs, standing fully clothed in the shower stall and just waiting for me to come turn on the water. And after I booted her out and turned the water on and climbed in myself, I sometimes had to pry her little fingers off the door and shoo her away - she would keep trying to get in with me.

These days, the kids are having a hard time adjusting to going to bed a bit earlier so they are prepared for the crack-of-dawn wakeup call. The one saving grace in it all is that Mallory is usually still sleeping while Chad and I are in the shower, so there are no arguments about who gets to come in with us during the mad morning rush.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It doesn't work like that

One of the activities of choice at our house these days is colouring. We have a nice little collection of colouring books, markers and crayons (the latter two being washable ONLY - thank goodness, as a couple of days ago, Mallory decided to colour all over Liam's back!) The kids will spend hours at it (which makes for a very happy mom and dad).Within fairly short order, Liam has learned how to colour inside the lines really well. The other day he did a giraffe and the spots on it are just impeccable. Mallory is more of a scribbler; she just enjoys leaving her mark on life. There's probably some meaning in that. One day last week, Liam was colouring a squash. Not just a boring squash; I think it was one of the Veggie Tales characters, with a face and all... anyway, he slipped outside of the lip line and left a small red spot on the yellow of the squash. He was beside himself, and asked me to wash it off. I told him that what was done was done and there was no going back now.This only made him cry harder as he wailed, "But the markers are WASHABLE!..."

(My sidebar seems to have disappeared from my computer at work, though it still shows up at home. Is anyone else missing it?)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Catching up

Sunday, January 04, 2009

How I spent my Christmas vacation

Here it is... the unveiling of My Big Project. I wish I could say I'm done, but I'm not. Then again, I did only start it a couple of weeks ago. I've been looking for a quilt for Mallory's soon-to-be-bed (we're going to evict her from the crib in the next few months) for some time, and I never did find anything that felt quite right. Then I saw the pattern for this quilt online, and it looked doable; and I've loved this line of fabrics since I first saw them. The stars seemed to align and I decided to give making one a try.

Quilting is honestly not that hard, and I say this as someone who has never done it before and never taken any sewing lessons save for 7th grade Home Ec. A little time consuming, but not as bad as I expected even in that regard. I did invest in a self healing cutting mat and rotary cutter since getting my pieces the right size was essential. I also had to buy a walking foot for my sewing machine. Oh, and some curved safety pins. And have you ever bought quilting thread? - it's insane. I've spent $12 on THREAD. So I don't think I saved a ton of money doing this myself as opposed to buying something factory-made in China, but it's all about the legacy, people. The cutting was probably the worst part; just tedious, and not very rewarding. The mixing and matching of the fabrics was great fun. I pieced the entire quilt in one night, once my blocks were done; I started around 9 p.m. (after the kids were in bed) and was done around 12:30. So it wasn't too bad, time-wise. I was worried this project would drag on and on, especially since my days are filled with The Children and dealing with their incessant hungers and needs for a playmate and fecal emergencies. But you can get a lot done with a couple of hours.

The quilting part is going a bit slowly right now; the stitching is easy enough, but it's wrestling the monster of a quilt through my sewing machine that is giving me grief. If it's this bad doing a twin size then I promise you I will NEVER attempt a queen or a king!

I still need to bind it, too, and on the weekend we made a trip up to see my grandma that was not timed specifically to coincide with my quilting venture, but it certainly helped me to be able to ask someone with years of experience how to proceed. I have sunk enough time and money into this project that I would be heartsick to somehow ruin it all now.

One evening over our break, I was supposed to go out with Chad and some old high school friends who were in town, but at the last minute the other woman involved (a spouse) backed out and it would have been just me and a bunch of men. And, we hadn't really lined up a babysitter in advance, so Chad and I decided that the guys would come over for some drinks, I would have a chance to say hi, then they would head out for the night and I would stay home with the kiddos. I had an early mid-life crisis of sorts that night, sitting there quilting while my friends were out having fun, wondering what had happened to me and how I had gone from being the fun-loving girl they knew in high school to a homebody quilter. Well, let me tell you - now that I am getting close to finishing my project - the crisis part is behind me. I'm so happy with how it's turning out. My lines are far from straight and my quilting is far from even, but it all kind of jives with the askew-square pattern and bohemian prints I chose for the quilt... I am very much liking the handmade vibe that is resulting. And that's not just an excuse; I really mean it.
When I first started cutting the fabric up, I was a bit worried that I'd gone too bohemian in my selection, and that it wouldn't look good in Mallory's room when all was said and done. Her room and the bedding I have for her to date is a bit on the preppy side; checks, stripes, dots, etc. But I came to the conclusion that it's the right fit. First, it breaks up the matchy-matchy a little bit. And second, I hope this is something she'll have for a lifetime, which means it has to outlast her current little girl room. This quilt will still look good when she is 14 and paints her bedroom black just to spite me.

Anyhoo... that's where I've been for the past few weeks - trying to cram as much progress on this into my precious free time as possible. Back to work tomorrow, which means goodness only knows when I will get My Big Project finished.