Saturday, May 30, 2009

We're baaaaack...

We've been out of town this week. (The 'trapped in one room together' was in reference to our hotel room - my goodness, sharing a hotel room with Mallory is a different ball of wax altogether!) I'll be back with more to report from our trip... here's a hint about where we were.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This is Mallory, on speed.

For reasons I'll get into later, we are all camped out in one room this week, and right now it's 9 p.m., Liam is conked out on the bed beside me (thank goodness) and Mallory is in a crib in the corner of the room, keeping up a running commentary that started half an hour ago when we turned out the lights and which, if last night was any indication, is likely to continue for at least that long again. She is unbelieveably loud and jabbering to herself about nothing in particular. "This is my big toe. That's the garbage can. What's in the garbage can? There's some papers, I see a diaper... I don't know what's in the garbage can. I don't touch the garbage. Mallory is a bad, bad girl. [Echoing what we told her after more than an hour of this last night.] Liam is a good boy. Mom is good, dad is good, Mallory is a bad, bad girl..."

Last night I think this was our fault, because we let her eat chocolate right before putting her to bed. In hindsight, was likely asking for it. Tonight... we did everything in our power to avoid recreating the situation... to no avail. Oh well. At least tonight, Liam was so tired (after being kept up late last night) that even her obnoxious loud voice couldn't keep him awake. I'm glad that at least one of them is getting some rest.

Monday, May 25, 2009

After the family shots

We made the trip to Toronto on the weekend to attend Henry's 3rd birthday party. The family shots were snuck in 20 minutes ahead of time, and then we left for The Peanut Club - a fun indoor playground... ... with every toy conceivable. There's nothing better than a room like that where you can turn your kids loose and put your feet up for a few minutes. Until they start peppering you with "Watch me, mom! Come watch me!" Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.
My personal favourite was the roller coaster. Well, it was a couple of small plastic hills and a little car that fit perfectly into the track lining them. I thought it was cool.
I also liked the tire for bouncing on. Evidently Henry did, too.
The kids ate pizza while at the club. Here Henry is, presiding over all of his guests.
And poor little Thomas, looking on from the sideline. Don't worry, Thomas... next year you'll be eating pizza, too.
Back at the house, we were treated to cupcakes. Here comes the tower, out of the house and down the deck stairs. Luckily Mike made the trip safely...
... and delivered the tower to Henry to blow out the candle and make a wish.
The theme of the party was 'construction machines'. Mallory's cupcake had a backhoe on it. I wasn't able to get to it quickly enough to take a shot before she dug in.
Other cupcakes, adorned with dump trucks and diggers of all kinds. Unfortunately, I think these cupcakes are all upside down. I should have rotated them before taking the shot. But I don't think that the other party guests would have appreciated my fingers all over their food.
The day went well. Both kids made it through without a nap. Mallory was a little dishevelled by the end, but her ability to keep her temper late in the day after not getting any rest makes me a little more comfortable with the thought of her getting through Katrina's wedding in a few months.

Unfortunately, she melted down on the way home and was up about five times that night. Counterintuitive, isn't it? But don't worry - we all caught up on our sleep, when we overslept the alarm this morning by 45 minutes. A great way to start a Monday.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More portrait work, only this time, it was pro bono

Thursday, May 21, 2009

On the western front

I've been quiet recently, haven't I? No real reason... just life getting in the way, I suppose. This week I had two photo jobs (on the same day! When it rains, it pours.) I've been spending my after-the-kids-are-in-bed hours editing, cropping, and burning CDs. We've been spending our evenings all week out riding bikes and watering the yard (it's May and we're in our first drought already??? Oy vey.) Mallory would rather help me water plants than do just about anything else. I taught her and Liam how to pinch the papery bud covers off of our spruces to release the new needles underneath and by last night, the two in front of the house had been picked clean. Liam has become an expert ATV driver these past few nights, sneaking in quick drives while Chad barbecues. He refused to eat his garlic bread the other night and Mallory (who will ONLY eat garlic bread, if it is on the menu - that girl loves her carbs) chided him the entire meal: "Try your bread, Liam, it's good!" Mallory got run over by a kid on a tricycle at daycare and for the past ten days, all she can talk about is the scab on her hand and how she got it. Wouldn't you know it... last night when I arrived to pick her up, I had only just stepped out of the car when the damn kid did it to her again. Fresh blood, another story for her to tell.

In other words... it's business as usual.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Time for another round of Family Resemblance

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Little Miss Excitable

My parents came home from Hawaii on Saturday and lost no time in coming to see the kids on Sunday afternoon. The closest they have come to seeing them over the past three months is via our biweekly Skype visits, during which Liam often could not be coerced into saying so much as hello, but in which Mallory was constantly parading a stream of dolls and story books past the computer screen to capture her grandparents' attention. I think everyone thinks I exaggerate when I say that Mallory is a bundle of energy, that she is always running when she should be walking and talking when she should be quiet. She is on the move and yammering from the moment she wakes up until we put her to bed, and then she jumps out of bed and lies down on the floor and plays with her dolls in the dark and hollers at us through the crack under the door for another half hour or so most nights until she finally falls asleep.

My parents have not seen Mallory in person in three months, and I think the reunion drove home the point about how much her attention hog and chatterbox tendencies have intensified during that time. She spent all of two minutes making strange with them and then she subjected them to a three-hour barrage of doing puzzles and dressing up in her princess costume and baking pretend cookies for them and reading our new crop of library books and otherwise making sure that they did not get a moment's rest the entire time they were over. We ate dinner in the kitchen, with my parents taking Chad's and my regular spots at the table and us eating on the stools, and Mallory ran her mouth during the entire meal, telling them repeatedly that it was OK for them to sit in her mom and dad's chairs.

When she finally finished eating, it was time for several rounds of hide and seek before more books and one final puzzle. She spent the last fifteen or twenty minutes of their visit running in circles and twirling on the living room rug with them as her audience. You tell her not to do something because she is going to make herself sick, and of course it becomes a game to her to do it over and over again. We finally gave granmma and grampa a kiss and a hug and let them escape. If the jet lag had not gotten to them yet then I am pretty sure that Mallory tired them out plenty during that three-hour visit.

And I'm sure it won't come as any surprise to gramma and grandma that after they left, Mallory collapsed in a heap in a bean bag chair to watch a movie, and threw up. Keeping up a lifestyle like hers can take its toll.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Today was our first Happy Friday of the summer. We had a service appointment at the house, got the kids haircuts, went to the pet store, picked up Tim Hortons, took it to the Fire Truck Park, spent the rest of the morning there, took subs home to eat for lunch, dropped off drycleaning, made a run to the library, placed an order at a shop downtown and picked up shoes from the cobbler... all before getting the kids bathed and to bed early. Trying to finish up a project tonight before bed. It's been a great start to the long weekend.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Evening ritual

Over the winter, our evening ritual consisted of driving home from work in the near dark, making dinner, then all of us flaking out in the playroom or living room a bit. Usually with the TV blaring. Then hustling the kid upstairs for a bath when they needed it (which turned out to be not very often, thanks to Mal's eczema) and putting them to bed.

Now that it's nice out, I hope this becomes our new ritual: picking the kids up a little earlier. Getting home when the sun is still gloriously high in the sky. Letting the kids run around the back yard while Chad BBQs and I fix the rest of dinner in the kitchen, watching them out the windows. Doing a quick clean-up and then heading out for a family bike ride. We circled the whole path last night, which took forever, since Liam had to stop to point out every duck and rabbit he saw, and I had to stop anytime we passed one of the old lilac thickets on the path to breathe in deeply: some of them are huge, easily 50 years old, 15 feet across and at least as high, and you can smell them coming long before you can see them. Once, Liam got off and walked his bike a bit because he said he was tired. But then he got back on and pedalled the rest of the way home. Mallory seems to really enjoy the view from the back of Chad's bike as well. There is an ice cream shop that is not too far of a ride away from our house... I hope Liam can work up the stamina soon. Having a destination in mind would make the trip even more fun.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nothing to say, really, but look how cute these guys are.

ETA: Mallory really is hanging here... the picture is kind of deceiving, but she is dangling away (and did so for a surprisingly long time!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day, 2009 edition

All I ever want on Mother's Day is a decent picture of me and the kids. Being taken out to brunch is a nice treat and the homemade cards and pot of flowers that Liam made are adorable. But really... I want a nice photo of me and the kiddos.

Chad grumbles a bit about this one, saying that I try too hard to force it and that there are 14,000 other photos of the kids each year. He's right about the number of pics but frankly, if I didn't try to force it on this one day of the year - I would have no pictures of me and my kids. And it's Mother's Day. Aren't I entitled to do a little forcing?

So here's what we came up with yesterday. It definitely was like pulling teeth to get it, and I am not all that thrilled with it. It was really cold and windy so I don't mind that our hair is whipping around and the kids are all huddled up. And there I am, tickling both kids' thighs in an effort to get a smile out of them. But sheesh, that has got to be the most unflattering picture of me that I have seen in a long, long while. Note to self - sticking one's knees up under one's chin - not flattering!! And those aren't tapered jeans, I swear, but they sure look like they are, don't they?

Hmmm. I am thinking a more creative crop may be in order. I will have to play with it some.

I am much more taken with this other photo that was taken of us later in the day. Maybe because you can't see my pegleg jeans in it, and that's a good thing.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Truant already

We got our first piece of mail from school this week. It was a monumental day, receiving something for the first time as the parents of an enrolled student. Except... what we received was an invitation to the kindergarten open house event, the one they told us about when we registered Liam back in January. And that open house event? It's taking place at the end of the month when we are otherwise engaged. There's no way we can make it. I'm crushed. I feel like we're getting off to a bad start, us and the school. We're missing the first day, we're missing the information night... *sigh* I called the school frantically to say we can't come and can't they postpone the event? Just kidding. I did call, but I didn't suggest the postponement. They are going to mail us an info packet and said we could come in and try to catch the principal or VP for a tour sometime. Which I suppose is all I could hope for. I'm still bummed we won't be there to meet the other parents and other kids and to listen to the Q&A session, but we do have every other Friday off work from now until September... arranging a trip into the school can definitely be done.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Cindy has a large jungle gym in her back yard. Now that the weather is finally nice, the kids spend a good part of their day clambering around on it. The structure sits on a bed of gravel, which is an attraction in and of itself - what is it about little stones that makes kids want to play with them, throw them, pile them up on the bottom of the slide just when someone else is trying to use it?

It all started innocuously enough a few weeks ago when I started to find a stray pebble or two around the house. There would be one on the mudroom floor. Easy enough to explain away; it must have been tracked in. Then there was a strange clanking noise in the washing machine, which turned out to be another little stone on the spin cycle. Little by little, the stones began increasing in number. And when I got to Cindy's house at the end of each day, I started to notice that Liam's pockets were weighed down. Cindy noticed too; she started giving me the heads up when she saw Liam picking up these stones (presumably to keep my washer safe!)

Now we are at the point where Liam comes home with his pockets crammed full every single day. He comes into the kitchen while I make dinner and asks for a bowl of water. He washes them all off very carefully; I think he likes to see the colour change when they get wet. Then he dries them - he uses my good hand towels from the powder room and my slightlly-less-good tea towels from the kitchen for this, and the only consolation I have is that at least we're keeping some paper towels out of the landfill - and they get put away in a tin box that he keeps on a bookshelf in his bedroom.

(On a completely unrelated note, this reminds me that we have never really gotten around to decorating his bedroom. We need to get on that. Some junk got unpacked and thrown on his shelves, but it needs to be edited, some art needs to be hung, and a new dresser needs to be found. Duly noted.)

Yesterday, Cindy needed to take an emergency day off and Gramma watched the kids, and apparently Liam entertained Gramma (himself?) for hours by hiding his stone collection around the house and then letting her go on a treasure hunt to find them all. I have a feeling we will be finding pebbles here and there for weeks to come. Not that Gramma isn't a good finder, but there was a lot to find. The tin box looks a little empty since the last time I saw it. Some more scavenging is in order.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Mallory @ 2

The epitome of little girliness - loves to traipse around the house these days in her princess skirt and high-heeled shoes. "Will you sleep with me?" she asks when I tuck her in at night, arms clasped tightly around my neck. I always have a million other things to do but she makes it so hard to say no. She refers to her sun hat as, well, her sun hat. It's just funny to hear her describe it so fully. "Where is my sun hat? My sun hat fell off!" Gets out of bed, every single night, sometimes multiple times, and crashes on the floor in front of the door (usually after spending some time trying to coax us back into her room by bellowing through the crack under the door: "Daaaaaaaaaddy! Moooooooommy!") This probably wouldn't happen if I agreed to lie with her until she falls asleep, but that can't be a good habit to start. Cannot yet open a doorknob, which explains why she stays confined to her room. Has really become a Dora fan over these past few weeks, though we're not quite sure how the obsession started, because Liam was never all that into Dora and we don't know who else could have hooked her on it. Nonetheless, as soon as we get home, she is usually asking us to put on a Dora episode and she even goes on to specify which episode she wants to watch. We can usually oblige by pulling one from the free On Demand menu, but every once in a while they change the episodes that are available there and her favourite disappears - this is not good. When she is not watching Dora she is usually baking cookies with her play set and delivering them to me, Chad, Liam and the cat. The cat knocks his down off the counter and she puts it right back under his nose. This scene repeats over and over. She has started to sit on a stool at the island to eat (and hasn't fallen off yet, though the day may still be coming). At Cindy's, she likes to make 'spaghetti soup' by dropping all kinds of debris into any puddle of rainwater she can find. She's been known to push Luke around, and when we ask her why she does this she says, "'Cos". Could spend hours picking dandelions and throwing them in the creek if I didn't get sick of it first and try to distract her with something else. Do not even mention the word 'dessert' in her presence or she will immediately stop eating whatever is in front of her and demand it. Even if what she is eating is breakfast and there is no dessert on its way.

Oh, and don't turn your back on her, or this is how you will find the woodwork around your windows: freshly christened in pink and purple. Ay yi yi.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Liam @ 4

Started receiving an allowance, but two weeks in, told us he didn't want it anymore. Would rather spend time down at the creek with a net than do just about anything else. Helped Chad catch a frog last week and was the proudest little boy ever. Still a picky dinner eater, though he will usually cave and eat after we make him take a bite - it's more a power struggle than a real issue he has with the food. Loves skating, swimming, riding his bike and using his rollerblades - I need to get into better shape to keep up with him. Spends *all* of his indoor time colouring. A total perfectionist - colouring outside the lines really upsets him. Enjoys activity books and school work books (tracing letters etc.) - he should love JK! Still has no complaint with spending some quiet time in his room each afternoon (so long as he has his colouring books!) Knows his left from his right. Very eager to please and obediant; almost always does what we ask, the first time we ask it. A great big brother who always keeps an eye out for his sister (and tattles when it's appropriate!) Keen observer: notes the changes in the house being built next door each day, differences in the plants in the yard, spots the critters down at the creek. All boy.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Welcome, Monday.

Mondays can be brutal at the best of times, but especially when you've been out of the office for a week and are playing catch-up.

And especially when you lose an earring. (Thank goodness I was not wearing my Liam earrings!)

And especially when you start working longer days in order to take advantage of your company's every-other-Friday-off summer policy, and you use your condensed little lunch break to run across town to pick up your prints only to be told when you get there that their printer went down last night and you are SOL. Could they not have called and left a message to that effect?

The light at the end of the tunnel is that as I left, printless, I swung past the greenhouse again, and the urns I saw there yesterday and wanted but the last pair were being held for someone else? - I guess that someone else never materialized. I have no photos, but now I have urns.

Not much of a consolation when I was planning to organize my photo albums tonight.

Friday, May 01, 2009


It was a long and tedious week in the office - all I can say is TGIF. But, on the upside, I booked two more photo clients this week, my kids have me laughing like crazy (picture Mallory finishing her cereal and then earnestly saying, "I want dessert!") and our little piece of the earth is springing to life with some of our new plant acquisitions (check out my $5 magnolia!) Life is good.